Family of Saratoga Springs shooting victim releases statement

Posted at 4:01 PM, Sep 16, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-17 09:30:34-04

SARATOGA SPRINGS, Utah -- Nearly a week after Saratoga Springs police shot and killed a black man, the story continues to gain national attention.

Darrien Hunt’s funeral is Thursday morning at an L.D.S. stake center in Saratoga Springs.

A day after the shooting, Hunt’s family was vocal, calling the shooting racially motivated. Now, they've asked for privacy as national media attention increases and with Hunt's funeral just two days away.

Meanwhile, the New York Times is the latest of several national news outlets to latch onto the story with a headline reinforcing the family's claim that an independent autopsy shows Hunt was running away from police when he was fatally shot him in the back.

Police say Hunt lunged at them with a samurai sword. The family doesn't believe that and says the sword was a toy while the Utah County Attorney says it posed a real threat to two Saratoga Springs officers who are now on paid leave.

As county prosecutors try to sort through the facts and determine what really happened outside a Panda Express restaurant Sept. 10, the Hunt family prepares to bury the 22 year-old.

Family attorney, Jeanne Marshall said Tuesday:

"Last week, the Hunt family lost their beloved son and brother, Darrien Hunt. On behalf of the Hunt family, they wish to extend their appreciation to the residents of Saratoga Springs and to the public for the outpouring of kindness and support. They would also ask, at this time, that the public and the media respect their privacy and allow them time to lay Darrien to rest, to grieve, and to deal with this profound tragedy."

It happened in a community that’s 93 percent white with less than 1 percent African-American. The New York Times article mentions former Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love who’s been Utah's only black mayor but has distanced herself from commenting specifically on this case.

She explained why Tuesday night.

"My heart goes out to all of the families that are involved. I think the last thing that we really need are politicians making comments that are going to fuel the fire. I want to make sure that it goes through the proper channels and I think it's inappropriate of me to make any comment about things that I don't have all of the information for," Love said

Jeanetta Williams, President of the tri-state conference NAACP is also holding off on making a statement, saying it’s premature given the conflicting stories that have been reported.

Williams wants the investigation to run its course and says after the Utah County Attorney has released more information and determined whether the shooting is justified or not, the NAACP will make a statement.

Hunt's funeral is Thursday at 11 a.m., then he'll be buried at Crescent Cemetery in Sandy.  The family is expected to be part of a news conference and take questions sometime after the funeral, possibly on Friday.

FOX 13 will keep you updated as the details become available.

Information on Darrien Hunt's memorial can be found at:

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