A law enforcement official in Utah appears to have changed his story about the fatal police shooting of a black man on Wednesday in Saratoga Springs, Utah.
Darrien Hunt, 22, was killed by police last week in a confrontation that authorities said involved a sword outside a Panda Express restaurant. A lawyer for the man’s family later said an autopsy showed Hunt had been shot from behind and was running away when he was killed.
On Saturday, according to the Guardian newspaper, the chief deputy attorney for Utah County, Tim Taylor, released a statement saying Hunt was shot when he lunged at officers.
“When the officers made contact with Mr. Hunt, he brandished the sword and lunged toward the officers with the sword, at which time Mr. Hunt was shot,” Taylor said.
But the Guardian reported that Taylor changed his story on Monday. According to the newspaper, Taylor said Hunt initially lunged at police officers and was “shot at” outside a nearby bank. Taylor told the paper it wasn’t clear whether those initial shots had hit Hunt.
Taylor told the newspaper Hunt went north from there and was shot repeatedly before finally falling to the ground outside the restaurant where he died.
“Whether or not the individual lunged again at point two, the other location, I don’t know about that,” Taylor said, according to the Guardian.
Randall Edwards, the attorney hired by Hunt’s family, told the Guardian in an email on Monday that Taylor’s latest statement “appears to be a major change in the official story.”
Edwards has said witnesses to the shooting as well as an independent autopsy ordered by the victim’s family showed that Hunt was running from the police when he was killed.