Ga Tech officer who shot student was ‘still learning laws’

The Georgia Tech officer under investigation for the fatal shooting of a 21-year-old student sported an unblemished record during his brief tenure with the campus police.

“Officer (Tyler) Beck is performing very well in his first year of law enforcement,” the 23-year-old officer’s supervisor said in his 2016 performance review, obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution through an open records request. 

But the review went on to note that Beck  “is young and is still learning laws, policies and criminal procedurals.”

IN-DEPTH: Confrontation at Georgia Tech ended 1 life, changed another forever

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Beck is on paid leave pending the outcome of the GBI’s investigation into whether he was justified in shooting Schultz, a suicidal 21-year-old computer engineering student who was armed only with a utility tool.

Schultz, according to the GBI, had called 911 on Sept. 16 warning of a man armed with a knife and, possibly, a gun on the west side of campus. Schultz was waiting when police arrived, refusing their demands to drop a utility tool -- with the blade not extended -- and daring them to shoot. 

As the Lilburn native moved slowly towards the four officers on the scene, Beck, standing about 20 feet away, fired one bullet into the campus activist’s chest. Schultz died 30 minutes later.

Beck’s lawyer, Don English, said his client followed proper procedure in shooting Schultz, telling Channel 2 Action News he hadn’t talked to anyone in law enforcement “who would disagree that the use of force was justified in the situation that confronted these officers.” 

But Beck was the only officer to shoot. Ultimately Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard will decide whether criminal charges are warranted.

A police officer is under investigation in the deadly shooting of a Georgia Tech student.

Beck received an overall grade of “Satisfactory” in his first-year performance review, meaning he met “the basic requirements or expectations” of his position.  

“He has a positive attitude and accepts constructive criticism well,” his supervisor wrote. “Officer Beck’s strengths are that he has good listening skills and communication skills. 

Beck -- who graduated from Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville with a degree in criminal justice -- had completed all necessary training courses, his personnel file shows. 

He was not required to take Crisis Intervention Training, provided by the GBI, which trains officers to recognize signs of behavioral problems caused by mental illness or substance abuse. Schultz suffered from depression and had previously attempted suicide. 

“Georgia Tech does not have a policy for its officers regarding such training,” a university spokeswoman said. 

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