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Utah boy with autism shot by police, mother speaks out

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(WFLA/CNN Newsource) – A Utah boy with autism is recovering from multiple gunshot wounds after police shot him in front of his mother.

Golda Barton said her 13-year-old son, Linden, was unarmed and she had called for crisis intervention help.

She said Linden then ran from police because he was scared and didn’t want to be taken to the hospital.

“It was less than five minutes. How could it have escalated in less than five minutes? He was running away. He was running away,” Barton said.

“[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 told officers her son needed to be taken to the 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.'”

When Linden ran, one Salt Lake police officer fired their weapon.

“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.

Police said they were responding to a juvenile psych episode and had reports that Linden had made threats with a weapon, but haven’t yet said if a weapon was recovered at the scene.

His mother said he didn’t have one.

“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,” Barton said.

Linden is now awake, but his recovery will be extremely long. He has injuries to his shoulder, ankles, intestines and bladder.

Barton said she takes solace in the support from her community, but needs answers from 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. You are big police officers, with massive amounts of resources. Come on give me a break,” she said.

Salt Lake City’s mayor said the shooting is a tragedy and said she expects a swift and transparent investigation.

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