A 13-year-old boy with autism was shot Friday night by police in Salt Lake City as he fled from officers who were responding to a call from the youth’s mother that he was having a “mental episode.”
The boy, Linden Cameron, was shot multiple times, according to The Daily Mail, and he remains hospitalized in serious condition with injuries to his shoulder, ankles, intestines and bladder.
An investigation into the officer-involved shooting is ongoing.
What are the details?
Linden’s mother, Golda Barton, says she called 911 asking for a crisis intervention team to take her son to the hospital because he was having a mental breakdown. Linden has Asperger’s syndrome and experiences separation anxiety, and the day of the incident was the first day in nearly a year that Barton had returned to work.
KUTV-TV reported Barton’s account of what happened once officers arrived:
She said she was to stay while the two officers went through the front door of the home in the area of 500 S. Navajo Street in the Glendale neighborhood. She said in less than five minutes, she heard “get down on the ground” and several gunshots were heard.
She thought her son was dead and the officers didn’t immediately say if he was or was not dead. They handcuffed him, according to Barton. Additionally, she said she heard from someone that the other officer could be seen grabbing his own head in disbelief for what had happened. He said out loud, according to what the mother was told, “He’s just a child, what are you doing?”
Barton told the outlet, “I said, he’s unarmed, he doesn’t have anything, he just gets mad and he starts yelling and screaming. He’s a kid he’s trying to get attention, he doesn’t know how to regulate.”
“He’s a small child,” she added. “Why didn’t you just tackle him? He’s a baby. He has mental issues.”
Sgt. Keith Horrocks of the Salt Lake City Police Department said that officers were responding to a call reporting a “violent psych issue” that involved a juvenile “having a mental episode” and “making threats to some folks with a weapon.”
The Washington Post reported that “Barton says [Linden] was unarmed, and police said they didn’t find a weapon at the scene.”
What did the mayor say?
Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall issued a statement saying:
While the full details of this incident are yet to be released as an investigation takes place, I will say that I am thankful this young boy is alive and no one else was injured. 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.
Mother of autistic boy shot by police speaks out: ‘Why didn’t you just tackle him?’