The parents of a Georgia Tech student who was shot dead by campus cops late Saturday night say their child didn't have to die.

They say Scout Schultz, 21, who identified as gender non-binary, wouldn't have died if police had used de-escalating tactics and non-lethal measures according to 11 Alive.

They have hired trial attorney L Chris Stewart to represent them ahead of the investigation into Schultz's death, which came after they were filmed walking toward police - who issued several warnings to drop what the cops believed was a knife.

Footage of the tense encounter shows the student walking closer and closer to the police officers and shouting "Shoot me!"

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"Nobody wants to hurt you," one of the cops can be heard saying before a shot rings out and Schultz crumples to the ground, screaming out in pain., the MailOnline reported.

Stewart will hold a press meeting Monday, in which he is expected to question whether the officers involved had training for dealing with mentally ill students.

It's unclear what mental illness Schultz may have suffered from.

Schultz's father has claimed that his child - who preferred to be referred to as "they" and "them" rather than gendered pronouns - had been holding a "tiny knife".

Scout Schultz, 21, was seen walking toward police on Saturday before being shot dead. Schultz's parents are asking why non-lethal or de-escalation tactics weren't used. Photo / Facebook
Scout Schultz, 21, was seen walking toward police on Saturday before being shot dead. Schultz's parents are asking why non-lethal or de-escalation tactics weren't used. Photo / Facebook

None of the police officers involved in the shooting have been identified, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is currently looking into the shooting.

According to a press release from the bureau, the Georgia Tech campus police received a 911 call of a "person with a knife and a gun" at 11.17pm Saturday night.

The release says Schultz was "not cooperative and would not comply with the officers commands.

"Schultz continued to advance on the officers with a knife... Subsequently, one officer fired striking Schultz."

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The release says Schultz was 'not cooperative and would not comply with the officers'. The student's dad said Schultz had only been carrying a 'tiny' knife. Photo / Maxin Mints
The release says Schultz was 'not cooperative and would not comply with the officers'. The student's dad said Schultz had only been carrying a 'tiny' knife. Photo / Maxin Mints

The victim's parents are questioning why police used deadly force.

Schultz's mother Lynn told the New York Daily News Schultz was a "nonconformist and very, very bright."

She said Schultz had a "lot of empathy for other people."

At Georgia Tech, Schultz was president of the school's Pride Alliance, which is a student organization for LGBTQ students and allies.

The Pride Alliance released a statement that described Schultz as "the driving force" behind the group thanks to their "hard work and dedication".

"We love you Scout and we will continue to push for change," the statement concluded.

The student from Lilburn, Georgia, was studying engineering and had plans to go to grad school and eventually have a career in making biomedical devices.

Schultz, born male, identified as bisexual, non-binary and intersex, Lynne said.

Non-binary means the individual does not identify as male or female.

Their father, Bill, wrote about the shooting on Facebook and said Schultz had a 'tiny knife.'

'[Police] didn't have to shoot [Scout] in the heart, but that's what they did,' he wrote.
The distraught parents are now considering legal options.

The Pride Alliance released a statement Sunday, calling Schultz a 'driving force' in the organization.

'Scout always reminded us to think critically about the intersection of identities and how a multitude of factors play into one's experience on Tech's campus and beyond,' the group said.

Saturday night's incident caused an emergency alert from Georgia Tech's Office of Emergency Preparedness - and students were urged to seek shelter.