SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (CNN Newsource) — A Utah boy with autism is recovering from multiple gunshot wounds after police shot him in front of his mother.
“It was less than five minutes. How could it have escalated in less than five minutes?” asked Golda Barton, mother of 13-year-old Linden. “He was running away. He was running away.”
Salt Lake police said they were responding to a juvenile psych episode and had reports that Linden had made threats with a weapon. They haven’t yet said whether a weapon was recovered at the scene, reported KUTV.
Barton, who said her son was unarmed, had called for crisis intervention help because he was having a breakdown. She said Linden, who has Asperger’s, ran from police because he was scared and didn’t want to go to the hospital.
“[They] [know] how to deal with people with mental health issues. So, you call them, and they’re supposed to come out and be able to deescalate a situation using the most minimal force possible,” she said of the crisis intervention team.
Barton said she told officers her son needed to be taken to a hospital for treatment.
“I said, ‘Look, he’s, he’s unarmed, he doesn’t have anything. He, he, 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,'” she said.
When Linden ran, one police officer fired.
“I hear, ‘Get down on the ground, get down on the ground. Get on the ground.’ Bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam,” his mother said. “I thought my son was dead. And they didn’t tell me he wasn’t dead, and they wouldn’t let me go to the hospital for, like, a long long time.”
Linden has injuries to his shoulder, ankles, intestines and bladder.
Barton said though she takes solace in the support from her community, she needs answers from the police.
“Why didn’t they taze him? Why didn’t they shoot him with a rubber bullet? He’s a small child. Why don’t you just tackle him?” she said. “You are big police officers with massive amounts of resources. Come on, give me a break.”
Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall called the shooting a tragedy and said she expects the investigation “to be handled swiftly and transparently.”