Family releases autopsy results of Darrien Hunt, who was fatally shot by police

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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.

13 comments

  • Ivan

    A sword is a deadly weapon even if it is not sharp. If he drew it after he was in contact with the police he is responsible for his own death the same as if he drew a gun and pointed it at the officers.

    • CBDunkerson

      Nonsense.
      Had police shot Hunt while he was ‘lunging at them with the sword’, as they originally claimed, that would have been justified. The new claim, that they shot him after he first lunged at them… and then ran away, makes the shooting AT BEST excessive force. By their own account, Hunt was at that point no immediate threat to anyone. They could have chased him, fired a warning shot, even shot him in the legs (though that too would have been excessive force).
      Of course, that’s all assuming that the revised explanation from the police is more accurate than the original… which seems unlikely. It is reasonable to assume that the police did not know the sword wasn’t sharp… but Hunt did. So why would he ‘attack’ two police officers armed with guns using a ‘weapon’ about as dangerous as a butter knife (not as sharp, but more mass)? Drugs, mental illness, or extreme emotional distress would seem the only plausible explanations for such behavior… yet none of those seem to be on the table in this case, and none of them would be consistent with Hunt then immediately breaking off the ‘attack’ and fleeing.

      Best guess on what really happened… Hunt drew the sword to show the cops it was dull. They freaked and pulled their guns. Hunt ran. They shot him.

  • Ivan

    If the evidence shows he did not draw his sword, followed their commands, and they shot him any ways then the officers should be charged with murder.

    • Ron

      agreed…and if the evidence and witnesses say that he did pose a threat, lunged at officers and refused to obey commands and ran off then the police, city and the officers should be allowed to counter sue for defamation of character.

  • Miguel

    People are slowly taking authotity from the police. I think they need to change their response to deadly force. Let the criminal commit all the crimes they want before shooting them. Becuase people seem to think when a suspect is shot before he kills someone they consider him “harmless”.

  • If you do not like what I say I do not care and would not want you as a friend!!

    What happened to pepper spray and tasers being a non lethal way to handle the problem. Why was this not tried first??

  • RC

    Consider this. Anyone who knows anything about law enforcement including the family’s attorney knows that when more than 1 officer confronts a pedestrian, as in this case, one with a dangerous weapon, the backup officer(s) flank the pedestrian. Meaning to the side and/or back. If I am the backup officer behind the pedestrian with a dangerous weapon and he lunges at the primary officer I shoot. I shoot him in the back because I am behind him. I shoot to stop his actions. Is this what happened in this case? I don’t know because I wasn’t there were you?

    • Indi

      That’s kind of crossfire… Risk shooting the other officer. I don’t think that’s the way they do it. Nice try though honestly. Lol.

  • staci

    This does seem fishy tho, his mom is right about that much. Why haven’t we heard anything about security footage? Either on the cop cars or the top stop? There has to be some video evidence to show weather he was posing a ligitament threat or not.

  • Carla Hunt

    I still can’t believe that a grown man, dressed in costume complete with sword, was going for a job interview and his family thought it was perfectly acceptable.

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