MELBOURNE, Fla – A Clayton County teenager who was a student at the Florida Institute of Technology has been shot and killed on campus by police.
Melbourne Police said Alhaji Sow, 18, from Riverdale, was allegedly armed with a knife and assaulted students around 11 p.m. Friday night. Witnesses said he entered a residential building on campus.
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Melbourne Police and Florida Tech security guards confronted Sow, who police said had a bladed weapon. During the confrontation, police said Sow rushed at an officer, leading to a Melbourne police officer and security officer shooting him.
Officers attempted rescue measures, but Sow died at the scene.
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An officer from Melbourne was also injured in the confrontation. He was not hospitalized. His identity has not been disclosed.
The students were asked to take shelter in place during the confrontation. University officials have asked students to avoid the quad residence area.
Florida Tech officials said Sow was a sophomore studying aviation science. He worked as a tutor at college and attended Georgia Military College and North Clayton High School before going to Florida Tech, according to a LinkedIn profile.
Michelle Newell of Channel 2 spoke to Sow’s parents, who said he was a great kid and they’re still trying to figure out what happened.
Florida Tech is a private research university located in Melbourne, about an hour southeast of Orlando.
The shooting comes days after the family of a Georgia Tech student killed by campus police struck a million dollar deal. Scout Schultz was shot dead on September 16, 2017.
Police said Schultz had a knife, but the family said Schultz suffered from a nervous breakdown and was holding a multi-tool that was unrelated to the shooting. Schultz family attorney Chris Stewart said most of the officers backed down, but one shot Schultz.
“Most of the officers who backed down kept trying to defuse, and one of the officers didn’t and fired a fatal shot, which we didn’t think was warranted,” said Stewart.
GBI identified the officer as Tyler Beck. According to his file, Beck had no training in crisis intervention.
In addition to financial compensation, Schultz’s parents and lawyers have called for other “substantial” changes to the policing process at the Georgia Institute of Technology. The university subsequently changed many policies regarding both equipment and training.
After Schultz’s death, Georgia Tech distributed tasers to all sworn officers and departmental standards now require all officers to complete the 40-hour Crisis Response Team training. Almost all officers are now trained at CIT to deal with mental health emergencies.
“We are happy that Georgia Tech now requires all of its officers to have it and after this incident all of their officers have received this training,” said Stewart. “They also gave them Tasers, which they didn’t have before, as a non-lethal alternative.”
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