Golda Barton is the mother of a 13-year-old boy on the autism spectrum who was shot September 4 by Utah police after she called 911 and requested a crisis intervention team, local news station KUTV reported.
Although Barton had hoped that dispatchers would send a team to assist her son, he ended up in serious condition with several injuries after he was shot.
Here’s what you need to know about Linden Cameron’s mother:
1. Barton Said That She Flips Homes
It appears that Barton may have worked in some capacity at a cleaning service due to a call-out for contractors she put on Facebook in May, which read, “We need Honest Reliable Hardworking People!!! Great Money for the right people!” In a Facebook post from March, Barton said that she flips and designs homes.
Along with having a son, Barton saved several photos on her Facebook page of a beloved puppy that appeared to be part of the Bichon family.
Heavy has reached out to Barton for comment and will update it with any information from her.
2. Barton’s Son Is on the Autism Spectrum
Barton told KUTV that her son has “Asperger’s Syndrome.”
“Asperger’s Syndrome” is a term once used to describe a developmental disorder that is on the spectrum of autism disorders; the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual – the standard of diagnosing mental health conditions – now deems “Asperger’s” to be an outdated term that should be replaced with “a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder.”
According to the National Institutes of Health definition, characteristics of autism include “socially and emotionally inappropriate behavior and the inability to interact successfully with peers”:
Other characteristics of AS include repetitive routines or rituals; peculiarities in speech and language; socially and emotionally inappropriate behavior and the inability to interact successfully with peers; problems with non-verbal communication; and clumsy and uncoordinated motor movements. Children with AS are isolated because of their poor social skills and narrow interests. They may approach other people, but make normal conversation impossible by inappropriate or eccentric behavior, or by wanting only to talk about their singular interest.
Neurodiverse Utah describes itself as a “grassroots organization that promotes autism acceptance, and self-advocacy. We focus on the intersection of gender, race, mental illness, and other disabilities.”
The group has released a statement condemning Cameron’s shooting: “Police shot a 13-year-old boy who was experiencing a mental health episode. 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. When experiencing a mental health crisis your ability to think rationally and respond promptly is impaired.”
3. Golda Barton Said ‘Separation Anxiety’ May Have Prompted an Emotional Outburst From Her Son
Barton told KUTV that it had been her first day back at work in nearly a year and her son, who has “bad separation anxiety,” was not handling the change well. According to Barton, she called 911 and asked them to send out a Crisis Intervention Team, and told the dispatcher, “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.”
Barton told KUTV that police shot Cameron within five minutes of them showing up at the home on Navajo Street. She said she heard, “get down on the ground” and several gunshots.
Barton delivered a tearful statement to KUTV, in which she said her son was not armed and questioned why police did not do more to defuse the situation. “Why didn’t they tase him? Why didn’t they shoot him with a rubber bullet?” Barton asked. “He’s a small child. Why don’t you just tackle him? You are big police officers with massive amounts of resources.”
Barton told KUTV that her son sustained multiple serious wounds, including injuries to his shoulder, both ankles, intestines, and bladder.
4. Police Are Still Investigating the Incident
Salt Lake City’s Mayor, Erin Mendenhall, released a statement, saying that the incident should be fully investigated, the Salt Lake Tribune reported:
While the full details of this incident are yet to be released as an investigation takes place, I will say that I am thankful this young boy is alive and no one else was injured,” Mendenhall said in her statement. “No matter the circumstances, what happened on Friday night is a tragedy, and I expect this investigation to be handled swiftly and transparently for the sake of everyone involved.
A spokesperson for the department, Detective Greg Wilking, told CNN that all questions related to the investigation – including what threats the officers felt at the time – should be determined by the investigation. “Mom can say whatever she wants, but there’s this investigation that has to happen and this process that has to take place,” Wilkins said.
On the night of the incident, Seargent Keith Horrocks said that the incident was being investigated, but there was “no indication” Cameron had a weapon, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
At a press conference, Horrocks said, “As with all officer-involved critical incidents, in this case, a firearm incident, we have activated the officer-involved critical incident protocol … Obviously, our investigators will look at bodycam footage of the officers that may be involved. Of course, investigations like these take some time because they’re so complex … It was a juvenile that was having a mental episode, a psychological episode, and had made threats to some folks with a weapon. That’s as much as I have.”
5. Barton Has Received an Outpouring of Support
KUTV reported that Cameron’s father immediately drove from Iowa to be with his son on the night he was shot and Barton called him, “an amazing father.” Barton also told reporters that they did not have family support nearby, but at least online, that appears to have changed.
The family has received a lot of support from the internet, according to a GoFundMe page that was set up and posted on Barton’s Facebook page; the campaign has raised $46,000 of a $50,000 goal in just one day.
Barton and the family have also received many positive messages on Facebook, especially from people who say they are the parent of a child on the autism spectrum.
Tiah Fehling-Jones wrote in a Facebook comment, “Prayers from another mom of autistic son. So many are supporting you now, I know how alone you still feel. Your beautiful Linden is getting all prayers and positivity for a fast recovery coming to him. Virtual hugs to you Mama. 💔🙏”
Another woman, Suzanne Vecanski, wrote:
I read you and your son’s story today, I’m a single working mom of a rockstar autistic boy as well. My son’s name is Emmett. I saw my baby in your son’s place for a moment and I just couldn’t imagine. I’m just so overwhelmed by what has happened to you and your beautiful son. I don’t really know what to say other than I want to help and I wish I could wave a magic wand and fix this for you. Autism can be so challenging but to have to deal w this and the possibility of it happening again and to other kids…well it just shouldn’t be so. I’ll be donating on your KS page shortly, but seriously if I can do anything for you or Linden please name it. 🧚♀️Sending heartfelt positive vibes your way. Praying for justice.
Ira Kraemer posted, “Please let Linden know that there are a lot of autistic adults out there rooting for him to get better. 💜 I’m so sorry this happened to him.”