SARATOGA SPRINGS, Utah (AP) — A woman has criticized police in the Utah County city of Saratoga Springs over the fatal shooting of her 22-year-old son, saying she believes the outcome would have been different had he not been black.
Susan Hunt of Saratoga Springs said her family wants answers about what happened leading up to Wednesday's shooting by officers of her son, Darrien Hunt.
On Saturday afternoon, law enforcement authorities issued a statement saying that the man lunged at officers with a sword.
The Deseret News reports that police say they were called about 9:40 a.m. Wednesday to investigate a "suspicious" man walking near businesses along Redwood Road while carrying a "Samurai-type sword."
"When the officers made contact with Mr. Hunt, he brandished the sword and lunged toward the officers with the sword, at which time Mr. Hunt was shot," Utah County Chief Deputy Attorney Tim Taylor said in a statement.
Before the statement was issued, Susan Hunt told the Deseret News: "They killed my son because he's black. No white boy with a little sword would they shoot while he's running away.
"Those stupid cops thought they had to murder over a toy. This is my baby. This is my family. And they ruined my family."
The city on Friday issued a statement saying the shooting was under investigation by the county attorney's office.
"We sympathize with Mr. Hunt's family during this difficult time," the statement says. "Any claim that our officers' actions were a result of Mr. Hunt's race is completely unfounded and speculative. Our officers responded to a call for service and addressed the situation that was presented to them."
Based on the limited information the family has been given, Susan Hunt said, it believes a shot was fired by police during the confrontation and multiple shots were fired after he ran away.
Susan Hunt said her son was carrying a Katana, a souvenir sword bought from an Asian gift store that has a rounded edge, not a blade.
His mother is white, and his father is black, the Standard-Examiner of Ogden reported. Susan Hunt had just returned to Utah after separation from her husband to start a new life for the family.
She said she and her family fled from an abusive relationship and her son was still trying to process many emotions.
"My son is a tender heart who would not hurt anybody," she said. "My son is a beautiful, bright-eyed, intelligent boy."
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(Photo: Courtesy of Hunt Family)