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

Posted at 5:16 PM, Sep 13, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-14 19:35:48-04

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.