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Last week, a 22-year-old man was fatally shot by police in Utah. According to an attorney representing his family, evidence suggests that he was fleeing police. This detail differs greatly from original accounts that he made an aggressive move towards the officers who shot him.
Police in Saratoga Springs, Utah encountered 22-year-old Darrien Hunt last Wednesday morning after receiving a call about a man carrying a "Samurai sword." Hunt was killed after being shot at least four times (including once in the back), and in a statement, Utah County Chief Deputy Attorney Tim Taylor insisted that Hunt lunged at officers:
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.
According to the Associated Press, Hunt's mother, Susan, said he was carrying a "souvenir sword bought from an Asian gift store that has a rounded edge." Jocelyn Hansen, who witnessed the shooting, told Utah's ABC 4 that Hansen was fleeing officers when he was shot.
"He turned and was running away from the police officers," she said. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times reports that attorney Randall K. Edwards said an autopsy performed on Saturday confirmed that Hunt did not sustain any gunshot wounds to the front of his body.
"It would appear difficult, if not impossible, to reconcile these facts with the story released by the Utah County Attorney's Office that Darrien was lunging toward the officers when he was shot," he told the Times. "We continue to hope that a full investigation will reveal the whole truth about this tragedy."
However, the Times does mention that Edwards has yet to provide anyone with a copy of the report. Still, Susan Hunt insists that there's one reason why police shot and killed her son.
"They killed my son because he's black," she told the Deseret News. "No white boy with a little sword would they shoot while he's running away."
The officers responsible for Hunt's death have been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation.
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