SALT LAKE CITY — For 19 minutes on April 8, a man drove through downtown Salt Lake City terrorizing the public by randomly firing a rifle he was carrying.
"To our knowledge, this is the first time we have dealt with a rolling active shooter in the downtown area," said Salt Lake Police Capt. Jeff Kendrick. "Salt Lake City 911 received a total of 65 calls in conjunction with this incident. Many reported shots fired, or a man with a gun."
The scary scenario culminated in a dramatic police shooting after the gunman crashed into Princess Alterations and Leatherwork, 3339 S. State. Fifteen officers from three police agencies fired their weapons on Harold Vincent Robinson, 37, of West Valley City. Robinson was killed in the hail of gunfire.
Ten of the those officers were from the Salt Lake City Police Department and have subsequently been placed on standard paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the officer-involved critical incident review being conducted by West Valley police.
On Friday, Salt Lake police released body camera footage from three of the officers involved in the chase and shootout, along with a map and timeline of Robinson's actions.
Only three of the city's 10 police officers who fired their weapons turned on their body cameras, police officials confirmed Friday.
Kendrick said the department has identified six key locations as Robinson drove on several streets around the city.
• The first scene was at the Sheraton Hotel, 150 W. 500 South, at 10:42 a.m. Kendrick said Robinson was seen by witnesses drinking a beer in his white, older model truck, before getting out with a rifle and opening fire.
"He fired numerous rounds from a long gun upward, at the hotel,” he said.
At Friday's news conference, police played one of the numerous 911 calls they received from the shooting at the Sheraton.
“So scary. … There was somebody just shooting at the Sheraton Inn downtown," one woman told emergency dispatchers. "I saw the gun. I saw him shooting."
• The second scene was at 136 S. Main, where surveillance video captured Robinson driving on the TRAX line and nearly hitting a bicyclist crossing the street as Robinson ran a red light.
While in the intersection, Robinson also fired shots. A man who was in his office looking down onto Main Street called 911.
"There’s a gentleman screaming, ‘Get down, there’s a guy with a gun,’” the man told dispatchers in a recording of the call. "Everybody just scrambled into buildings. … I heard two shots, sounded like a rifle. My co-worker said he heard three shots."
• The third scene was at 270 S. State, where Robinson stopped his truck near the Salt Lake City Marriott City Center, got out and allegedly fired at the hotel, Kendrick said. There were no reports of injuries.
• The fourth scene was at 500 S. State, where Robinson was observed by other motorists throwing a glass bottle out of the window, and then got out of his truck with the rifle.
"He then produced a long gun and shot numerous rounds into the intersection," Kendrick said.
One of the witnesses who called 911 thought Robinson was shooting at the Salt Lake City-County Building.
"A man just fired an automatic weapon at the City-County Building,” he tells dispatchers in a recording of his 911 call. "I had to dodge my car out of the way because he was firing over my car at the City and County Building."
• The fifth scene was at 500 South and 200 East. Kendrick said Robinson pulled up next to another vehicle occupied by two people and opened fire on the car. After a pause, a second round of shots was fired.
Nearby surveillance video recorded the incident. No one was injured.
• The sixth scene documented by police was when Salt Lake police officers and Utah Highway Patrol troopers working downtown as part of Operation Rio Grande spotted Robinson's truck at 10:55 a.m. and began chasing him.
"Confirm, he has an AR-15 in his hands as he’s driving,” an officer chasing Robinson was heard telling others on his police radio.
In one of the body camera video recordings released Friday, an officer involved in the pursuit can be heard on his police radio at 1300 S. State saying, "Firing rounds out the window, Two shots fired."
At the intersection of 3300 S. State, a "modified PIT manuever" was conducted by a police officer trying to stop Robinson's truck. Officers can be heard in the body camera recording saying, "Hit him, hit him."
Moments after Robinson's truck was hit and he crashed into the storefront, one of the officers whose body camera video was released is seen getting out of his car and almost immediately opening fire as he stood next to his patrol car. The sound of numerous other shots being fired are heard on the video.
When the shooting stops, the video shows officers approaching the crashed truck and finding Robinson on the ground just outside the driver's side door.
Amazingly, with the exception of one officer who suffered a minor injury from being grazed by a ricochet shot, no one was injured during the crime spree.
Police officials also acknowledged Friday that while all 10 Salt Lake officers placed on administrative leave were wearing body cameras that day, only three officers turned them on. Department public relations director Christina Judd said that will be part of the internal affairs investigation.
"They will look at why those cameras did not get turned on,” she said.
Judd said there are studies that look at the correlation between high stress situations and reaction times. But regardless of why the cameras weren't turned on, she said the internal investigation will "Make sure it’s taken care of."
"Obviously this is a very dynamic situation that evolved over a relatively short amount of time. And when the internal affairs investigation goes through that, they’ll weigh all the factors and determine if there was a policy violation,” she said.
As for the high number of shots fired, Judd said, "Our officers are trained to address the threat and stop it, and that is what they did."
As of Friday, there was no official word on exactly how many shots were fired by officers. Dozens and dozens of shots can be heard in videos of the incident. In addition to the 10 Salt Lake officers placed on leave, three UHP troopers and two Unified police officers are on leave for also firing their weapons during the incident.
Before his terrorizing drive throughout Salt Lake City, police believe Robinson also robbed two convenience stores in the county.
Just after 10 a.m., police say Robinson entered a Holiday Oil, 2729 W. 4700 South in Taylorsville, and stole beer. A customer confronted Robinson who then pulled a handgun out of his waistband and ran.
At 10:37 a.m. a robbery was reported at the 7-Eleven at 911 E. 3300 South in Millcreek where Robinson demanded cash from the register at gunpoint, police said. As he was leaving, Robinson fired a shot inside the store. No one was injured.
Police also noted that 10:37 a.m. was the time the robbery was reported and may not have been when it actually occurred. They are not sure how he went from 3300 South to the downtown Sheraton in five minutes.
A few days after the shooting, Robinson's family issued a statement, apologizing for his actions, and also letting the public know that he suffered from mental illness and in the weeks leading up to the incident had struggled with "paranoia and delusions."
Robinson has a lengthy criminal history of mostly misdemeanor crimes, many of which were later dismissed after they were filed, according to state court records. In June, a charge of assault was dismissed when the state’s witness failed to show up for court.
In 2003, he was convicted of assault that caused substantial body injury. Two counts of aggravated kidnapping and robbery were dismissed as part of a plea deal. In a separate 2003 case, a charge of aggravated kidnapping was dismissed when the state’s witness again failed to show.
Robinson, acting as his own attorney, filed several civil lawsuits against various federal, state and local government agencies and officers, according to records in U.S. District Court.Comment on this story
Robinson pleaded guilty in federal court to possessing a sawed-off shotgun and was sentenced to 42 months of probation in June 2002. In April 2003, federal prosecutors alleged he violated his probation by threatening to kill a person identified as K.N. while having access to a sawed-off shotgun.
Robinson admitted to the violation and a federal judge sentenced him to 18 months in prison and ordered him to complete an anger management program in December 2003. He was released from prison in February 2005 and placed on 36 months of probation.