On September 4, Golda Barton called 911 regarding her 13-year-old autistic son, Linden Cameron. The Salt Lake City boy was going through a mental crisis, and she wanted police to deescalate the situation.
Instead, after police arrived at the home, one officer shot Linden 11 times, leaving him near death. Bodycam video of the incident was recently released by the Salt Lake City Police Department (SLCPD). The footage captures Linden’s words after the shooting, “I don’t feel good. Tell my mom I love her.”
Grandfather Shot and Killed by Police
Linden’s grandfather, Owen Barton, was shot and killed by police in Lyon County, Nevada in January. He had gone to a neighbor’s residence with a handgun, made threats, refused to put down his gun or put his hands up, and was subsequently shot. His grandfather’s death made her son angry and fearful of police, according to his mother.
In many ways, Linden was a typical 13-year-old boy, according to Barton. He loved to play video games and ride 4-wheelers. However, his condition involves “severe separation anxiety,” and his mother had not left him alone for nearly a year until several days before the shootings. When she went back to work, Linden began acting out, and his mental health soon deteriorated.
Barton told the police that her son was not armed, although he may have a prop weapon, and needed to go to the hospital. She was told to stay outside while the police went into the house. Five minutes later, she heard gunfire.
Linden had apparently left the home, and a brief backyard chase ended up with him repeatedly shot.
Why Are We Responding?
One female officer at the scene is heard asking another if this is the sort of situation to which they should respond. “This is a psych problem. I don’t see why we even have to approach,” she says, after learning that Linden disliked cops. The female asks if they can call the sergeant and describe the situation, “because I’m not about to get into a shooting because he’s upset.”
She adds that this is what officers had discussed recently. If Linden was in the house and not endangering himself or others, she did not want to get involved in a shooting.
Never Walk Normally Again
Linden was shot in the shoulder, ankles, intestines, and bladder. He remains in the hospital, and family members say he is unlikely ever to walk normally again. He speaks with difficulty and lost feeling in one arm. Still, he is lucky to be alive.
Mental Health Crisis in This Country
A rally held in Ogden just days after the shooting called for police reform and justice for Linden.
SLCPD Chief Mike Brown said there is a mental health crisis in this country. He says, “all too often,” police officers are called upon to deal with these situations, although they are “not criminal by nature.” Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall says the shooting is prompting a swift investigation.
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