SALT LAKE CITY — Authorities in Salt Lake City released body camera footage this week of a police shooting that left a 13-year-old boy seriously injured after his mother called 911 to report he was experiencing a mental episode.
Four officers responded Sept. 4 after Golda Barton called 911 to ask for a crisis intervention team to help her son, Linden Cameron, according to KUTV. She told the news station that her son has Asperger’s syndrome, a developmental disorder that affects a person’s language and communication skills, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
On Sept. 4, Barton called 911 to get help for her son, who she said was having a mental episode and might be violent. She said he had recently gotten into a high-speed chase with police and that he threatened to break every window in their house, authorities said.
In body camera footage released Monday, officers can be seen meeting with Barton, who says her son had shown one of her co-workers a gun that she believed to be fake. She adds that he had threatened to shoot her co-worker.
“I need him to go to a hospital,” she says. “I cannot get him there on my own and I cannot do this every night.”
She says her son doesn’t like law enforcement officers, who are a “trigger” for him, and that he got into a “shootout” with Lyon County sheriff’s deputies in Nevada. According to The Salt Lake Tribune and the Reno Gazette Journal, Linden’s father, Owen Barton, was killed in a confrontation with Lyon County sheriff’s deputies earlier this year after a neighbor claimed he had threatened him with a gun.
“(Linden) sees the badge and he automatically thinks like, you’re going to kill him, or he has to defend himself in some way,” Barton says in the video. “He freaks out. And he’s got a sensory disorder.”
One responding officer can be heard questioning whether officers should intervene in the “psych problem.”
“Honestly, we can call sergeant and tell him the situation because I’m not about to get in a shooting because he’s upset,” the officer says.
“Yeah, especially when he hates cops,” the officer who later opened fire on Linden responds. “It’s going to end in a shooting.”
Two officers can be seen going to the front door of Barton’s home while a third officer waits in the driveway, where he spots Linden running from the house. Officers give chase, breaking a fence that the teenager jumped over and shouting for him to stop.
“Police, let me see your hands!” one of the officers can be heard shouting.
After a short chase, officers catch up to Linden.
“Get on the ground!” an officer shouts before firing nearly a dozen shots at the 13-year-old. Linden suffered injuries to his shoulder, both ankles, his intestines and his bladder, according to a GoFundMe campaign launched to help pay for his medical expenses.
“I don’t feel good,” Linden says moments after the shooting. “Tell my mom I love her.”
It remained unclear Wednesday why the officer shot at Linden. In the video released by police, no weapon could be seen on the 13-year-old, although the footage is grainy and dark. After the shooting, police said they had “no indication” that the boy was armed, the Tribune reported.
“It’s horrible,” Linden’s brother, 17-year-old Wesley Barton, told the newspaper. “To see your little brother bleeding out, saying his last words. It plays in my head over and over.”
Wesley Barton said his brother ran from police out of fear, the Tribune reported. He said the 13-year-old has lost feeling in his arm and that it’s unlikely he’ll be able to walk again.
On Monday, Mayor Erin Mendenhall said she was “heartbroken” and “frustrated” by the police shooting, KTVX reported.
“This shooting is another tragedy,” she said. “It’s a tragedy for this young boy, for his mother and for families and individuals who have acute mental health needs. I think the community will look at this situation and they will see themselves or their loved ones reflected in it.”
Police Chief Mike Brown said Monday that authorities have a “responsibility to analyze the circumstances that unfolded through a lens of learning,” according to KTVX.
“A 13-year old boy was shot and as a father of three sons, this has had an impact on me personally,” Chief Brown said. “I know that this has made an impression on the women and men of the Salt Lake City Police Department and of course you, the community we serve.”
Police have launched an independent investigation into the shooting, and authorities say they also expect investigations from the district attorney’s office and a civilian review board, according to CNN.
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