After the unsettling incident on Friday night, Salt Lake City police are investigating the officers involved in the shooting of a 13-year-old boy with autism whose mother had called 911 for help.
Golda Barton, the mother of the child who has been shot told local KUTV that she called 911 because her son Linden Cameron, who has Asperger’s, was having a mental health episode. Barton, who had just returned to work for the first time in a year, told police her son had “bad separation anxiety” but was unarmed.
In the televised statement, Barton clearly stated, “I said, he’s unarmed, he doesn’t have anything, he just gets mad and he starts yelling and screaming.” Explaining the episode, she told the outlet, “He’s a kid he’s trying to get attention, he doesn’t know how to regulate.”
Soon after making the call for help, Barton claimed two officers entered her home and less than five minutes later she heard them order her son to get on the ground followed by several gunshots. Officers didn’t immediately say whether her son was alive and later handcuffed him. Shocked by the incident and desolated due to her teenage son’s shooting Barton emotionally expressed, “He’s a small child. Why didn’t you just tackle him? He’s a baby. He has mental issues.”
The shooting left Cameron with injuries to his shoulder, both ankles, intestines, and bladder according to a ‘GoFundMe’ which has raised more than $12,000 for Linden’s hospital bills.
According to a media statement made by Salt Lake City Police Sgt. Keith Horrocks, the officers were called to the area due to a “violent psych issue” involving a juvenile who was “making threats to some folks with a weapon.” Horrocks said there was no indication a weapon had been found at the scene but that he did not know for sure if one was found. He claimed that the investigation is being taken up by the police.
In a statement released to the local media, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall said she expects the investigation “to be handled swiftly and transparently. 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,” she said. “No matter the circumstances, what happened on Friday night is a tragedy.”
The shooting is facing severe backlash from mental health advocates, primarily due to trained officers failing to address mental health concerns in a victim or accused.