A Florida man is dead, and his mother says it’s due to the color of his skin.
22-year-old Darrien Hunt was killed by police on Wednesday.
After three days of silence about what prompted officers to shoot and kill a man outside a fast food restaurant Wednesday, investigators issued a brief statement Saturday saying he lunged at officers with a sword.
But an attorney for the man’s family questioned that scenario, saying an autopsy shows Darrien Hunt was shot numerous times from behind as he ran away from police.
Saratoga Springs police 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,” a prepared statement from Utah County Chief Deputy Attorney Tim Taylor said.
“There is currently no indication that race played any role in the confrontation between Mr. Hunt and the police officers.”
The statement was issued a day after Darrien Hunt’s mother told the Deseret News that Saratoga Springs police killed him because he was black.
Randall Edwards, an attorney for the Hunt family, said Saturday that an independent autopsy was performed at the family’s request. He says it shows that Darrien Hunt was shot “numerous times, all from the rear.”
“This is consistent with statements made by witnesses on the scene, who report that Darrien was shot to death while running away from police,” Edwards said in a statement. “It would appear difficult, if not impossible, to reconcile these facts with a story that Darrien was lunging toward the officers when he was shot.”
According to reports, Hunt had been walking in the area of Crossroads Boulevard and Redwood Road near a Panda Express restaurant in Saratoga Springs. Later, a witness sent Hunt’s mother, Susan, a photo of police confronting her son moments before shots were fired.
In the picture, two officers are standing on either side of Darrien. The sword is not visible in the image. Susan believes her son was struck and killed as he ran toward the Panda Express.
Susan Hunt says the sword was a souvenir bought at a gift shop that couldn’t cut anything. She remembers seeing her son leave the house well-dressed, and believes he may have been planning to apply for jobs.
Why he took the 3-foot sword with him remains a mystery. Two officers involved in the shooting have been placed on paid administrative leave while the incident is investigated.
Check back for updates.
Based on what we do know, do you think race played a factor in Darrien Hunt losing his life?
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