Authorities say race did not play ‘any role’ in fatal shooting of man in Saratoga Springs

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, Utah – Personnel with the Utah County Attorney’s Office released a statement Saturday regarding a fatal officer-involved shooting that occurred in Saratoga Springs earlier this week, and a vigil for the man and his family is planned for Sunday night.

The statement regarding the fatal shooting of 22-year-old Darrien Hunt issued Saturday is reproduced in its entirety below:

"On the morning of September 10, 2014, police officers from the Saratoga Springs Police Department responded to a report of a suspicious individual walking around a local business with a 'samurai-type' sword. Uniform patrol officers from Saratoga Springs responded and made contact with 22-year-old Darrien Hunt. When the officers made contact with Mr. Hunt, preliminary evidence suggests that Mr. Hunt brandished the sword and lunged toward the officers with the sword, at which time Mr. Hunt was shot. There is currently no indication that race played any role in the confrontation between Mr. Hunt and the police officers. The Utah County Officer Involved Shooting Protocol Team immediately responded to the scene. That team is conducting and leading the independent investigation. At the conclusion of the investigation, the Utah County Attorney will review the findings and issue a statement."

City officials released a statement Friday:

"We sympathize with Mr. Hunt’s family during this difficult time. Any claim that our officers’ actions were a result of Mr. Hunt’s race are completely unfounded and speculative. Our officers responded to a call for service and addressed the situation that was presented to them. The Utah County Attorney’s Office continues to investigate the incident."

Hunt’s aunt, Cindy Moss, said Friday she believes Hunt’s race was a factor.

“I cannot figure it out, all I can I even think of, because it looks so blatantly crazy, is that it’s because he’s black, he’s half black,” she said Friday. “I can’t figure anything else out.”

Hunt's brother and mother spoke to FOX 13 News Sunday, but did not wish to go on-camera, as they said they are too emotional to do an interview regarding the incident at this time.

The shooting is one of three fatal officer-involved shootings to occur in Utah this week.

A vigil is planned for Sunday night.

19 comments

  • Bob

    Lunged toward any officer with a sword anywhere in the United States will result in the same response 99.9% of the time. It’s not about skin color, it’s about behavior.

    • Matt

      TENNESSEE v. GARNER, 471 U.S. 1 (1985)
      471 U.S. 1
      Held:
      The Tennessee statute is unconstitutional insofar as it authorizes the use of deadly force against, as in this case, an apparently unarmed, nondangerous fleeing suspect; such force may not be used unless necessary to prevent the escape and the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others. Pp. 7-22. [471 U.S. 1, 2]

      In this unfortunate situation the individual was armed and according to this Supreme Court case (and Utah Code) the officers appear to be justified in their actions. However, this is NOT up to the court of public opinion, rather, the judicial system in this county. I don’t believe it was racially motivated for one second.

  • Carol

    So tired of people saying it is because of the persons race… never mind they were doing something they shouldn’t be doing.

  • bob

    The other two guys shot by local cops this week were WHITE. And this one was at least half white. Nobody suggests it’s about “race” when a white guy gets shot. Odd, that.

    As for this shooting: I wasn’t there, and neither was anyone else commenting here. We don’t know what happened. No clue. None. Zip.

  • bob

    Why is it that police shootings are skyrocketing even as the violent crime rate plummets?

    Why is it that the cops are suddenly becoming more and more militarized as the threat decreases? Less crime = More violent and militarized cops……WHY?

    I’m speaking about general trends, not any specific case.

  • Krissy

    So since he was half black and half white that wenCaucasians should say “it’s because he was white”? So sick and tired of that being used…. I want to know what made the family come to that conclusion?

  • Arlee

    Bob, why did you open your mouth and tell people you are an atheist. Until then, people only surmised that you were an idiot. Now you have confirmed it! Oh Bob!

  • Ranger hard head

    RUBBER BULLETS !
    I think anyone that carries a firearm for protection should at least consider the first three rounds being rubber bullets .
    Mistakes are made in high stressful situations .
    No one is perfect so it makes no sense that police are protected instead of punished for their mistakes.
    Even worse when mistakes are attempted to be covered up .
    Police are kind of like copping out by shooting all the time . RUBBER BULLETS for COP OUT COPS at the least .
    The police arguments to rubber bullets and bean bags would be its like bringing a knife to a gunfight .
    In this case and in most it’s the exact opposite perspective of the metaphor knife to a gun fight .
    This officer had pre-warning before he made his approach .
    that should’ve gave him time to consider which weapon to use .
    Rubber bullets would drop you even if you had a bulletproof vest on and can kill you if under certain circumstances .
    Police could carry one clip with rubber bullets and one with real ones .
    But unstable behavior will always be a problem with authority .

    A friend of mine talked with an eyewitness that saw this happen from her car .
    She said she saw the boy come around the corner carrying a sword and thought no big deal mellow . She looked down to sign a check and heard gunshots .
    looked back to a dead kid with sword .
    Her window was down and she had a sleeping baby in her car.
    She didn’t hear anybody say stop get down or anything like that . Just gun shots .
    Even if this eyewitness isn’t true all the unanswered questions to this situations could’ve been answered if rubber bullets or a taser was used.
    Next up :
    Copout cops on the rise

  • First amen

    Why do my comments get deleted ?
    RUBBER BULLETS !
    I think anyone that carries a firearm for protection should at least consider the first three rounds being rubber bullets .
    Mistakes are made in high stressful situations .
    No one is perfect so it makes no sense that police are protected instead of punished for their mistakes.
    Even worse when mistakes are attempted to be covered up .
    Police are kind of like copping out by shooting all the time . RUBBER BULLETS for COP OUT COPS at the least .
    The police arguments to rubber bullets and bean bags would be its like bringing a knife to a gunfight .
    In this case and in most it’s the exact opposite perspective of the metaphor knife to a gun fight .
    This officer had pre-warning before he made his approach .
    that should’ve gave him time to consider which weapon to use .
    Rubber bullets would drop you even if you had a bulletproof vest on and can kill you if under certain circumstances .
    Police could carry one clip with rubber bullets and one with real ones .
    But unstable behavior will always be a problem with authority .

    A friend of mine talked with an eyewitness that saw this happen from her car .
    She said she saw the boy come around the corner carrying a sword and thought no big deal mellow . She looked down to sign a check and heard gunshots .
    looked back to a dead kid with sword .
    Her window was down and she had a sleeping baby in her car.
    She didn’t hear anybody say stop get down or anything like that . Just gun shots .
    Even if this eyewitness isn’t true all the unanswered questions to this situations could’ve been answered if rubber bullets or a taser was used.
    Next up :
    Copout cops on the rise

  • C'MON PEOPLE

    haha Carrying around a samurai sword early hours in the morning scary the public & then fleeing from police when approached is a conceivable reason to get shot?

    Remember, the public called the police on this man fearful that he may hurt someone. Toy or not, it’s a sword either way.

    What the heck is a grown man walking around with a “toy” in the early hours of the morning. Was he going to commit a robbery… murder?

    I see a few different laws broken by this grown man. Disturbing the Peace, Brandishing a Weapon, Interfering with a Police Investigation, fleeing/evading.

    For all we know he would’ve ran off and started sticking people with that “toy” samurai sword. Toy or not, you can still STICK someone with those things. Clean through.

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