I’ve been reluctant to comment on the shooting of Scout Schultz. I don’t have any special insight or any information that’s not available on the news. I don’t want to rush to judgement and start throwing around blame for cops who, by every indication but one, were trying to avoid violence.
In the video, it doesn’t SEEM like Schultz posed a real threat to anyone. On the other hand, it was late at night, and the campus police were (according to CNN) responding to a 911 call “of a person with a knife and a gun.” CNN describes the entrance to the parking garage as “brightly lit,” but it doesn’t look all that bright on the video. I’ll have to stop by at night and see for myself.
I will say that the Georgia Tech news site‘s claim that “Officers found Schultz with a weapon” doesn’t exactly jibe with WSB-TV’s report that “It appeared to be a metal, flip-open, multitool knife that would likely include a small blade.” In the pre-9/11 era, I don’t think you’d have had any trouble flying with this in your pocket.
Did the officer who shot Schultz overreact, as the lawyer representing the family claims? I don’t know. Schultz was advancing slowly; all the reports agree on that, and the other officers had already responded to similar advances by backing away. Could the officer have mistaken the multitool for a gun? I don’t know, but I think it’s worth remembering that the 911 call (allegedly) reported a gun.
The only thing I am sure of is that the whole thing is sad. Just sad. A young person is dead. A family is devastated. It didn’t have to be this way.