Officer shoots 13-year-old boy with autism after mom calls 911 for help, Utah cops say

Don Sweeney-September 8, 2020, 11:17 AM EDT

When Golda Barton called 911 on Friday for help calming down her 13-year-old son, who is on the autism spectrum, she expected a crisis team to de-escalate the situation.

But when Linden Cameron ran away from police, an officer opened fire, KUTV reported. Barton says her son has injuries to his shoulder, both ankles, intestines and bladder.

“He’s a small child,” Barton said, according to the station. “Why didn’t you just tackle him? He’s a baby. He has mental issues.”

Salt Lake City police said they had been called to a report of a boy having a “mental episode” who had “made threats to some folks with a weapon,” The Salt Lake Tribune reported. No weapon has been found.

Barton says she told officers her son, who had been upset over his mother’s return to work, was not armed. “He just gets mad and he starts yelling and screaming,” she said, KUTV reported. “He doesn’t know how to regulate.”

Mayor Erin Mendenhall of Salt Lake City pledged a swift and transparent investigation in a statement on the 10 p.m. shooting, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

“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,” Mendenhall said, according to the publication.

Nationally, scores of people experiencing mental health crises have been injured or killed by police who had been called for help, The Washington Post reported.

“Police were called because help was needed, but instead more harm was done when officers from the SLPD expected a 13-year-old experiencing a mental health episode to act calmer and (more) collected than adult trained officers,” reads a statement from advocacy group Neurodiverse Utah.

Leave a Reply