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Utah police shoot 13-year-old boy with autism

Golda Barton called police for help with her son, who was having a mental health episode.

Cop with caution tape NBC Los Angeles

A 13-year-old boy with autism is recovering in the hospital after being shot several times by police. Golda Barton called a police crisis intervention team to her home in Glendale, Utah on Friday night (Sept. 4) for assistance with her son Linden Cameron, who she says was suffering a mental health episode.

“You call them, and they’re supposed to come out and be able to deescalate a situation using the most minimal force possible,” Barton told KUTV.

Police reportedly believed Cameron had a weapon and was threatening neighbors; however, the Salt Lake Tribune reports that no weapon was found at the scene. Additionally, Cameron’s mother had already told officers that her son was unarmed.

“I said, he’s unarmed, he doesn’t have anything; he just gets mad and he starts yelling and screaming,” she told the outlet. “He’s a kid, he’s trying to get attention. He doesn’t know how to regulate.”

Barton said that soon after the officers arrived she heard, “Get down on the ground” and officers firing gunshots. She wasn’t sure if her son had been fatally shot or not.

“He’s a small child. Why didn’t you just tackle him?” she said on 2News Sunday (Sept. 6). “He’s a baby. He has mental issues.”

Cameron was transported to a hospital where he is still recovering from injuries to his shoulder, ankles, intestines and bladder, according to his mother. Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall responded to the incident in a statement over the weekend.

“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,” it read. “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.”

According to police policy, the shooting will be investigated by an Officer-Involved Critical Incident protocol team. Police body camera footage is also expected to be released within 10 business days, as required by the Salt Lake City ordinance.

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