Clashes at US university after police kill student

Scout (Scott) Schultz is seen at his high school graduation in a family photo. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Protesters clashed with police on Monday night (Sept 18) at a university in the US state of Georgia after a vigil for a student who was shot dead by campus law enforcement.

Scout Schultz, a fourth-year computer engineering student and gay rights activist who was suffering from depression, was controversially killed by police two days before.

After a vigil for the slain student, "a group of approximately 50 protesters marched to the Georgia Tech Police Department. One police vehicle was damaged and two officers suffered minor injuries," the university said.

Georgia Tech instructed students to stay inside during the unrest, but later announced that "the campus has been cleared of any threats."

Schultz left three suicide notes in his room and called the 911 emergency line, reporting a suspicious person on campus and giving his own description, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Police found Schultz outside a university residence, walking barefoot and apparently very disoriented.

An amateur video of the incident shows police ordering Schultz to drop a knife, to which the student responds: "Shoot me!"

As Schultz continues to advance, the tense confrontation ends with a gunshot from police, followed by the cries of the mortally wounded student.

Georgia Tech said police officers found Schultz with "a weapon" and that the student refused to drop it.

But the attorney for the family, L. Chris Stewart, said Schultz was holding a closed multi-tool and did not pose any immediate danger.

"The multi-purpose tool in Scout's possession did not have the blade out. The family now wonders where the narrative came from that Scout was wielding a knife and was a danger to officers," Stewart said in a statement.

"It's tragic that as Scout was battling mental health issues that pushed them to the edge of desperation, their life was taken with a bullet rather than saved with non-lethal force," Stewart said.

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