Fifteen law enforcement officers from three jurisdictions are on administrative leave after a major shooting, police chase and the suspect’s death Monday — an incident which officials say could have been much worse.
Harold Vincent Robinson, 37, of West Valley City was suspected of a crime spree Monday morning that began with armed robberies at convenience stores that culminated in a shower of gunfire. Robinson died after his truck crashed into a State Street storefront.
Police say Robinson was firing a rifle out the window of his truck as officers pursued his white pickup down State Street shortly before 11 a.m. Monday. Robinson’s vehicle crashed into a shop near 3300 South State Street where he exchanged gunfire with police before he died at the scene.
Robinson is suspected of robbing two convenience stores in Taylorsville and Millcreek and firing a weapon at multiple downtown locations, including the Sheraton Hotel, before law enforcement located him and began their pursuit.
Police say only two minor injuries were reported, one of which was a Utah Highway Patrolman who suffered a graze wound from a ricocheting bullet.
Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown described the incident and its lead-up as “one of the most dangerous situations” law enforcement officers face: “an active shooter in a vehicle, driving through a busy downtown metropolitan area, shooting with impunity.”
“This was a dynamic, active shooter situation,” Brown said. “Had it not been for the immediate response of our officers, it really could have been a different outcome and many, many other people could have been injured or killed.”
The West Valley City Police Department is investigating the incident. Law enforcement officials did not comment on a suspected motive or other details.
The 15 officers involved have been placed on administrative leave following police protocol include 10 officers from SLCPD, three from the Utah Highway Patrol and two from Unified Police.
Salt Lake County Sheriff Rosie Rivera credited officers from the three agencies and the Utah Department of Public Safety for working together to keep the public safe and quickly ending the threat. But she warned that dangerous situations are becoming more common.
“We know society is changing and these type of things are going to continue to occur, but we have to be ready,” Rivera said. “I believe that we are ready to handle these type of situations, but you never know when it’s going to happen again.”