Utah Police Shot a 13-Year-Old Boy with Autism After His Mother Called 911 for Help
A Utah teen with autism is recovering after police allegedly shot him multiple times while responding to his mother's 911 call for help.
Linden Cameron 13, has Asperger syndrome. He was experiencing a mental breakdown at his home on Friday. His mother, Golda Barton, called 911 and told officers that the boy was unarmed and needed to be hospitalized.
Barton tells news station KUTV that two officers told her to wait outside when they entered through the front door of her home in Glendale. She tells the station that after a few minutes, she heard an officer yell, "get down on the ground" before she heard several gunshots.
Linden was left in serious condition with injuries to his intestines, bladder, shoulder and ankles.
The shooting has left Barton confused and angry. "He’s a small child. Why didn’t [they] just tackle him?” she told KUTV. "He’s a baby. He has mental issues."
Barton tells the station that her son suffers from severe separation anxiety. On Friday, she had returned to work for the first time in more than a year, and her son did not take it well.
In a press conference, Salt Lake City Police Sgt. Keith Horrocks said officers believed the boy might have a weapon. Horrocks told reporters that officers showed up at the house after reports about "a juvenile that was having a mental episode, a psychotic episode, that had made threats to some folks with a weapon."
According to Horrocks, Linden fled the house on foot and an officer then shot him. The Salt Lake City Police Department has handed the case over to outside investigators. Under state law, authorities are required to release the body cam footage before September 21.
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Public officials are calling on the police to conduct a thorough investigation into the incident. "No matter the circumstances, what happened on Friday night is a tragedy, and I expect this investigation to be handled swiftly and transparently for the sake of everyone involved," Mayor Erin Mendenhall said in a statement to the Salt Lake Tribune.
Barton tells KUTV that her son was handcuffed after being shot, and police wouldn't tell her whether he was dead. "Why didn’t they Tase him?" she asked. "Why didn’t they shoot him with a rubber bullet? You are big police officers with massive amounts of resources. Come on. Give me a break."
According to a GoFundMe page launched to help pay for Linden's medical bills, the boy "loves video games, four-wheeling, and longboarding with his older brother, and building things. He is always looking for ways to help people out. Linden is very important to his family, and his mother and brother are supporting him through his recovery."