The grieving father of shooting victim Russell Ray Daines sorted his thoughts Monday and decided his son robbed a bank and taunted police for one reason: He didn't want to live any longer.
Russell - a dark-haired muscular man who would have turned 22 in August - was desperate, thought he deserved more money than he was making and believed he had nowhere else to go, said Paul Daines in a telephone interview late Monday."It think it was sheer suicide. I really do. He was so discouraged that he didn't care anymore. He had no fear of dying."
And Russell joked about wanting to rob a bank.
"I just shined it off. I mean, haven't we all joked about wanting to rob a bank? I told him to quit feeling sorry for himself," said Daines, whose son for the past three months has been living with him in an apartment six blocks from where Russell was shot by a Salt Lake police officer.
Daines, a security guard for a local chemical company, spoke fondly of his son in an effort to explain what might have led his son to be so foolish Monday morning.
The father also wanted it known that he holds no bitterness toward the policeman who fired the fatal shots.
"I'm not blaming the police officer at all for shooting. I think that's exactly what Russell wanted them to do."
Russell, one of Daines' seven children, lived most of his life in California, primarily in the San Pablo-Richmond area outside of San Francisco. He attended high schools in Richmond and Berkeley, achieving his diploma after scoring high on a high school equivalency test.
He then joined the Navy, serving three years in San Diego and earning diplomas in air conditioning and diesel mechanics.
Next to playing the steel guitar, mechanics was Russell's passion. He loved to scour automobile junkyards; he hung out in auto parts stores; and he enjoyed shopping for old cars and then fixing them up.
"The little turkey - he knew his stuff. He was a good mechanic," said Daines.
After his discharge from the Navy, Russell went to Ohio looking for work. He felt he was well-qualified and wanted a high-paying job, the kind he saw his father holding down in
San Francisco. All he could find in the Midwest, though, was a $6-an-hour job.
So Daines talked his son into coming to Utah, where Russell could at least have free room and board while looking for employment.
Russell landed a job at a grocery company warehouse, earning $3.65 an hour.
"It was a very discouraging thing for him not to get a job that paid what he thought he should be getting. He had hustled. He thought he reached a point where he needed to do something."
The father noted that for the past week or so, Russell had been depressed.
He was distraught over his girlfriend, whom he wanted to be able to support. He had also had some trouble recently with the law: a speeding ticket; a drunken driving citation in connection with a traffic accident; and, just last month, an arrest for firing a .22-caliber handgun in Mount Olivet Cemetery.
At 5 a.m. Monday, Daines and his son got up and got ready for work, just like any other day. "He never let on that he was at that point of deep depression. I just thought he was going to go to work."
Instead, Russell put the gun in his jacket and drove to a bank three blocks to the north of his home. After stealing less than $1,000, he ditched his car and hid from police about six blocks to the south of his home.
Three hours later, according to police accounts, Russell made a run for it. When cornered, he raised his arm and was downed with three bullets from an officer's service revolver.
"(Russell) knew damn well what he was doing," Daines said. "He had seen a (youth) get shot outside his high school in San Pablo . . . Russell knew just what it would take to get police to kill him."
Despite the tragedy, Daines remains faithful to the memories of his son. "He loved his dad and I loved him. We got along great. Always did. He was one hell of a good kid."