Friend of man who was fatally shot by police while carrying sword questions cops’ actions

Posted at 10:11 PM, Sep 10, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-11 09:14:42-04

SARATOGA SPRINGS, Utah -- The friends and family of a man shot and killed by police in Saratoga Springs on Wednesday morning said the officers involved owe them some answers.

Darrien Hunt, 22, was killed outside a Panda Express Restaurant.

According to police, they were there responding to a call about a man walking around with a samurai sword, but what happened next is unclear.

DeShawn Ragsdale, a close friend of the Hunt family, spoke about the incident.

“There’s no reason why he would even put himself in that position," he said. "He wouldn’t run at the police. He wouldn’t run at nobody. He wouldn’t rob nobody."

According to authorities, two officers first encountered Hunt in the parking lot of a Top Stop convenience store.

“I don't have any details on the encounter, just that they made contact with the individual and then shots were fired,” said Owen Jackson, a spokesman for the city of Saratoga Springs.

Witnesses said it wasn’t clear what prompted the gunfire. At least one bullet went astray, hitting a car in the parking lot.

“I couldn’t say he was doing anything crazy, and I don’t think the officers really were doing anything more than they just wanted to talk to him,” said an employee of Top Stop, who asked not to be identified.

According to Hunt’s friends, the sword he was carrying was a souvenir from a concert. They weren’t sure it was even real, as it usually hung on a wall at Hunt’s home.

“Why couldn’t they pull out the Taser? The Taser is on the hip,” Ragsdale said. “Why not Taser and apprehend this person? Why shoot?”

Both officers involved in the shooting have been put on paid administrative leave, pending an investigation by the Utah County Attorney’s Office.