Suspect in Salt Lake City shootout suffered from paranoia and delusions, family says

(Courtesy Salt Lake County jail) Harold V. Robinson, Jr.

Harold Vincent Robinson, Jr., who police say committed two robberies then led officers on a bullet-spraying chase through Salt Lake City, had a mental illness, according to a statement published by his family, apologizing for the “horrible events.”

“He was struggling with paranoia and delusions,” the statement said. It added Robinson was “trying to decipher from what was real and what was not.”

Robinson, 37, on Monday morning robbed two convenience stores, police said, then fired gunshots near 500 S. West Temple in Salt Lake City. Officers pursued him in his Ford F-350 south on State Street.

Police said Robinson was firing a rifle out the truck’s window as he drove. The truck crashed into an alterations shop. Police have not specified how Robinson died, though witnesses said there were many gunshots fired by officers, and 15 are now on administrative leave.

The Robinson family statement was issued through the Utah chapter of Black Lives Matter.

“The family would like to express their deepest sympathy & apologize for the horrible events that transpired and any fear or stress that was inflicted upon the people who witnessed it or were involved," the statement said.

It also said they were “devastated" by the loss of Robinson, who they referred to as a son, brother, uncle and friend whom they called “Junior.”

“The family had tried to get Junior help as he seemed unstable a few months back,” the statement said. It added he was admitted to a University of Utah mental health facility for evaluation and was released after a few days.

“He seemed calmer, he was trying to get back on track," the statement said.

The family said it hopes Monday’s events would increase awareness of mental illness and the effects it has on the community. The statement closed with a request for privacy as they mourn Robinson.