A 13-year-old Utah boy with autism is recovering after police allegedly shot him multiple times while responding to his mother's 911 call. Linden Cameron, who has Asperger syndrome, was having a mental breakdown at his home on Friday when his mom, Golda Barton, called 911 to tell them her son needed to be hospitalized and was unarmed, she told KUTV.
Barton told the news station that two officers asked her to wait outside as they entered her home. After a few minutes, she heard an officer yell, "Get down on the ground! and then several gunshots. Linden has injuries to his intestines, bladder, shoulder and ankles and has been listed in serious condition.
"He’s a small child. Why didn’t [they] just tackle him?” she told KUTV. "He’s a baby. He has mental issues." Barton explained her son suffers from severe separation anxiety, and didn't handle her return to work after more than a year well that day. "Why didn’t they Tase him?" she asked. "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."
In a press conference, Salt Lake City Police Sgt. Keith Horrocks said officers thought the boy might have a weapon, and had responded to a call that a "a juvenile that was having a mental episode, a psychotic episode, that had made threats to some folks with a weapon." Horrocks said Linden fled the house when confronted by police, which is when an officer shot him. The SLCPD has handed the case over to outside investigators, and are required to publicly release body cam footage before Sept. 21.
Mayor Erin Mendenhall called for a full investigation into the incident in a statement to the Salt Lake Tribune, "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."
Meanwhile, Linden's family friends have launched a GoFundMe fundraiser to help pay for his medical bills, which as of Thursday had raised more than $82,000 of its $100,000 goal. "Thank you for all of your continued support it has been overwhelming and so appreciated," the organizer said in a statement. "We’re thankful for every single soul that has prayed, supported, shared, and dedicated their time to help make this change happen."