WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- A 13-year-old autistic boy received several injuries after cops in Salt Lake City who responded to a 911 call, shot him.
- The boy’s mother told police that her son was having a mental health episode and was unarmed.
- Salt Lake City Police Sgt. Keith Horrocks told reporters on Sunday that although no weapon was found at the scene, he promised that investigations on the shooting will immediately commence.
Salt Lake City police have launched an investigation on a shooting incident where a 13-year-old boy with autism was shot by cops who responded to a 911 call for help.
Linden Cameron, who has Asperger’s, sustained injuries to his shoulder, ankles, his intestines and bladder, according to his mother, Golda Barton.
Barton, who had just returned to work for the first time in more than a year, told KUTV that she requested 911 for a crisis intervention team because Linden was having an episode due to a “bad separation anxiety”.
Apart from being unarmed, Barton told police that her son didn’t have anything and was just yelling and screaming trying to get attention, and he doesn’t know how to regulate.
Barton told the outlet that within 5 minutes of entering her home the two police officers who responded to the 911 call were heard ordering her son to get on the ground followed by several gunshots.
“He’s a small child. He has mental issues. Why didn’t you just tackle him?” Barton said.
In a briefing on Sunday, Sgt. Keith Horrocks of the Salt Lake City Police told reporters that police were responding to reports involving a juvenile with a “violent psych issue” who was threatening some folks in the area with a weapon. While there was no evidence that a weapon had been found, Horrocks vowed police will investigate the shooting.
As for Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall, she said in a statement to local media on Sunday that while a full report of the shooting is yet to be released, she expects a quick and transparent investigation.
“No matter the circumstances, what happened on Friday night is a tragedy. I will say though that I am thankful this young boy is alive and no one else was injured,” she added.
A GoFundMe was launched to raise money to cover Linden’s hospital fees. So far, over $12,000 has already been donated.
The shooting raised concerns from mental health supporters about how police deal with people with mental illness.
Neurodiverse Utah, a grassroots organization that promotes autism acceptance and self-advocacy, said in a statement that instead of helping, SLPD police have done more harm in dealing with a 13-year-old with psychological issues.
Protests have erupted nationwide with activists calling for an end of law enforcement handling mental health calls after the death of 29-year-old Daniel Prude, a black man with acute mental illness. He died of suffocation after cops in Rochester, New York pinned him to the ground while restraining him.
Source: USA Today