“Why did they shoot me?” 14-year-old Linden Cameron continues his long road to recovery

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Seven months after a Salt Lake City police officer shot him 11 times, an autistic 13-year-old boy continues his long road to recovery.

“On the ground! Get on the ground!” the officer was heard yelling at Linden Cameron on the night of September 4th, 2020. The shots rang out and he collapsed on a sidewalk.

Wounded eleven times, Linden Cameron thought he was dying.

“I don’t feel good,” he said. “Tell my mom I love her.”

Officers didn’t have to relay those words to Golda Barton because miraculously, Linden survived.

“Linden’s a fighter,” Barton tells ABC4 News. “He just really doesn’t understand why they shot him. He still asks, ‘Why did they shoot me?’ and I don’t really have answers for that.”

Barton tells us that the now 14-year-old has undergone numerous surgeries and physical therapy, but still doesn’t have the use of his left hand.

“There’s just a lot of stuff he can’t do right now,” Barton says. “Just simple things you know, like trying to open up a box or trying to get cereal because you have to hold it, it’s a big old mess. Washing his hands. He can’t wash his hands…It’ll take him maybe 15 minutes to get his socks on…He can’t tie his shoes.”

She says the psychological effects also remain.

“He doesn’t want to leave the house. You know, we have a hard time getting him to do normal things just because of the trauma,” Barton says. “If we see a cop car, it’s almost like ‘Mom, I want to go home. I want to go home. Take me home’.”

Doctors recently performed a nerve transplant, a painstaking and painful process to graft nerves from his leg into his left arm.

“It’s the most insane thing to have to watch him suffer time and time again and just have to tell him ‘You have to suffer to get better’,” Barton says. “It’s been challenging, but I’m for sure 100% thankful that I have these challenges instead of losing my son.”

Barton has filed a lawsuit against the Salt Lake City Police Department and is still waiting for the results of the District Attorney’s investigation. She tells us the only time she’s not thinking about the incident is while she’s asleep.

“I get up and I think ‘Holy crap’. This is really my life and this is really my son’s life,” Barton says. “Since this happened, my hopes and dreams have changed. I have to be real with myself. I hope and I pray that his hand comes back and that he’s able to use it and that the only thing left on his body is the scars but unfortunately, I’m afraid that this trauma will follow him forever.”

Barton has been using contributions from a Go Fund Me account to pay Linden’s massive medical bills. You can learn more here.

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