A young teen is clinging to life after a confrontation with police Friday night.
13-year-old Linden Cameron suffered injuries to his shoulder, ankles and internal organs after being shot several times by officers called to perform a wellness check on him.
The boy’s mother, Golda Barton called the police and asked for a crisis intervention team (CIT) for her son, who she says has “bad separation anxiety”. Barton was returning to work for the first time in almost a year.
An investigation into the incident is underway.
She explained the CIT are supposed to respond with minimal force, and that her son just needed to be taken to the hospital.
She says she told the officers:
“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.”
Barton was home when two officers arrived for the boy.
In less than five minutes she heard gunshots.
Linden Cameron, a 13-year-old boy with autism, is recovering in a Utah hospital after he was shot several times by cops in his home. His mom was going to work & had called 911 for someone to help calm him down since he was going through separation anxiety. https://t.co/Nh7D5OsBTj
— Ash J (@AshAgony) September 8, 2020
so a mom called the police because her 13 y/o autistic son was having a hard time with her going back to work, and she needed someone to go and help him calm down. they broke into the house and shot him five times within five minutes of arriving. they shot him several times.
— JACAB FISHER (@jacobccfisher) September 8, 2020
Salt Lake City police shot an unarmed 13-year-old autistic child in a mental health crisis after his mom called 911 to get him help.
This incident demands a full investigation. There’s no reason an armed officer should be responding to calls like this. https://t.co/deRTSjuzUE
— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) September 8, 2020
I can't imagine having to call the police on my autistic son, but to then have the cops shoot him? At 13? While he's running away?
Here's the family's Gofundme.https://t.co/bZAWS4eQsa
— Holly Figueroa O'Reilly (@AynRandPaulRyan) September 8, 2020
Sgt Keith Horrocks of Salt Lake City police explained in a briefing what officers said happened.
“Our officers were dispatched to the area… on a violent psych issue involving a juvenile male who had made threats.”
“Our officers came into the area, and given the threats with a weapon they arrived in the area and contacted this male.”
“That male fled on foot away from the address. And during a short foot pursuit an officer discharged his firearm.”
No weapon has been found at the home of Linden Cameron.
In a statement, Mayor Erin Mendenhall has vowed the investigation into this matter would be quick and transparent. Salt Lake City police confirmed an independent investigation is currently ongoing.
“Each time there is an officer-involved critical incident in Salt Lake County the officer-involved critical incident protocol is invoked.”
“A protocol team made up of officers from multiple agencies with no ties to the Salt Lake City Police Department conducts an independent investigation.”
“We are cooperating fully with the protocol team assigned to this case.”
All of this comes at a time when public discourse over police funding and public interaction is under scrutiny. After the deaths and shootings of unarmed civilians in multiple cities, protests and riots have broken out, calling for defunding the police in order to transfer funding to agencies equipped to handle mental health issues without violence.
This latest incident provided more fuel for the fire.
It’s beyond time for change https://t.co/w89MBloYr3
— Elyse Lindgren (@elyselindgren) September 9, 2020
When is this police brutality goin to stop. An autistic teen Linden Cameron got shot several times by a police officer. STOP THIS NOW!
— Dan The Man 💪🏻 (@danthemanfit004) September 8, 2020
I've decided the police in bigger cities shoot first. A 13yr old autistic child. Are they not trained to recognize such? Or not shoot children. Look forward to that explanation. Hope he lives…
— O'Murphy (@OMurphy12) September 8, 2020
This is exactly why some resources and money need to be diverted from police departments to teams of mental health professionals. Police are simply not trained for these situations. https://t.co/ejF6JyRwFK
— Jud Wilson (@EastlandJeff) September 9, 2020
Barton launched a fundraiser to help cover her son’s medical bills from the multiple gunshot wounds he suffered. She questions the actions taken by the officers in subduing her son.
“Why didn’t they tase him? Why didn’t they shoot him with a rubber bullet?”
“You are big police officers with massive amounts of resources. Come on. Give me a break.”
At time of writing, the fundraiser had raised just shy of $60,000 of its $100,000 goal.