The family of a man shot to death by Bountiful police outside of Viewmont High School late Tuesday night released a statement on Thursday characterizing the shooting as a suicide and urging those struggling with mental health issues to seek help.
The man was identified as 27-year-old Bountiful resident Clay A. Reynolds. Police said they were called to the school, where they found Reynolds armed with a shotgun, a knife, and a bow and arrow. Officers say he asked them to shoot him, after which he pointed his shotgun at them and fired, and officers returned fire.
In the statement, his family said that Reynolds “struggled with a variety of mental health-related illnesses in recent years,” and that they had worked hard to get him the help that he needed.
They also implored those dealing with similar issues to seek assistance however possible.
“If you’re struggling with a mental health crisis, please find the strength to speak openly with your family and friends and seek professional help,” the statement read. “Likewise, we hope family members will embrace the hurt of their loved ones and battle alongside them.”
Reynolds’ family said that while they were “heartbroken” by his death, they also expressed sympathy for the officers involved in the shooting, who were put in a difficult situation.
“While we hurt, we recognize there are unknown variables when responding to emergency calls,” the statement said. “We hope the officers involved can find peace and comfort as they also struggle to come to terms with what happened.”
Bountiful Police Lt. Dave Edwards said Wednesday that the three officers who fired their weapons were placed on paid leave, and that there is body camera footage of the shooting. He added Thursday that “the investigation remains active.”