SARATOGA SPRINGS, Utah – The family of Darrien Hunt, the 22 year-old shot to death by police in Saratoga Springs, released the findings of an autopsy they paid for Friday afternoon.
That autopsy, conducted by a former chief medical examiner for Utah, indicates Hunt was shot five to six times, with several shots in the back.
“I think they’re covering something up, and they’re trying to find anything they can to justify their actions,” said Hunt’s mother, Susan Hunt, during a news conference.
Hunt was shot and killed after police encountered him outside a Top Stop convenience store in Saratoga Springs on September 10. According to authorities, Hunt lunged at them with a “samurai-type” sword before they shot him.
“Why? Why use deadly force in a crowded area, for heaven’s sake?” asked family attorney, Robert Sykes.
According to the autopsy report, Hunt had two gunshot wounds to his left thigh, and singular wounds to his back, left arm, right shoulder and right arm.
While Skyes contends five of the six wounds were from the back, Dr. Graham told FOX 13 News that he can only conclusively say three of them came from behind. More testing is required to confirm the others.
"You don't use deadly force in a situation like this," Sykes said. "Why were they using deadly force on this young man? He hadn't robbed the Top Stop. He hasn't shot anybody. He hadn't gone after anybody with his sword.”
Hunt’s family has said the sword he was carrying was not sharp enough to cause harm. However, an image released by authorities showed it had a blade measuring about 3-feet 5-inches.
“Some officer or officers decide to open fire on some kid for doing nothing,” Sykes said. “That’s why it’s excessive force.”
Investigators with the Utah County Attorney’s office would not comment on the results Friday. They are still waiting for autopsy and test results to be released by the State Medical Examiner’s Office, which could come within the next three weeks.
In the interim, Sykes is hoping to interview witnesses who were in the shopping plaza the day Hunt was killed. Once his investigation is complete, he plans to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the police department.
“The fatal shot: right smack-dab in the middle of the back. This is inexcusable,” Sykes said. “This is excessive force.”
Click here for FOX 13 News' previous coverage of the incident, including audio of 911 calls and various updates that have emerged since the shooting.