13-year-old autistic boy was shot by Salt Lake City police during mental crisis after mom called 911 for help

"Why didn’t you just tackle him?” said his mother, Golda Barton. “He’s a baby. He has mental issues.”


Golda Barton, mom of 13-year-old Linden Cameron, started work after a longer period of time and her boy who is autistic and has Asperger syndrome experienced a mental crisis, or as she explained to the police, a “bad separation anxiety.” The worried mom called the police to ask for help and explained how her boy was screaming and yelling but was unarmed.

However, when the Salt Lake City police officers arrived at her home, what was supposed to be a “crisis intervention” ended up with shooting and Linden ended up in hospital with multiple wounds.

At the moment, he’s being treated for severe injuries to his intestines, bladder, shoulder and ankles.

Barton shared what happened and spoke to several media outlets including KUTV whom she told, “I said, he’s unarmed, he doesn’t have anything, 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.”

Salt Lake City Police Sgt. Keith Horrocks spoke of what she described as a tragedy and said how the officers responded to a “violent psych issue” involving a teenager who “had made threats to some folks with a weapon.” Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall expects the investigation “to be handled swiftly and transparently,” according to a statement.

Linden’s recovery is expected to be a long one and will ask for a number of different procedures. The family has set up a GoFundMe page to help them with the hospital bills. So far, around $12,000 has been raised.

The incident caught the attention of the wide public and autism advocates who are demanding from the police to change the way they are responding to and handling mental health crisis. “Police were called because help was needed but instead more harm was done when officers from the SLPD expected a 13-year-old experiencing a mental health episode to act calmer and collected than adult trained officers,” Neurodiverse Utah said in a statement.

Barton is mad at the officers who shot her son. “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.”