Shop Owner Left “Shaking” By Deadly South Salt Lake Shootout

Apr 8, 2019, 11:12 PM | Updated: 11:14 pm

SOUTH SALT LAKE, Utah — When the gunfire rang out, Thaer Mahdi froze in place.

He was shaking.

Mahdi was just feet from a shootout between a man subsequently identified as 37-year-old Harold Vincent Robinson and police, who had pursued Robinson from Salt Lake City and pit-maneuvered his truck before it careened into the storefront of Princess Alterations & Leather Work.

“Bad day, very bad,” Mahdi said. “No good morning.”

Mahdi’s son, Bassam Hassan, translated for his father as he described the harrowing details of what happened.

“I just heard all the noises and explosions and just everything was being thrown at me,” Mahdi said through his son. “Around me was just the sewing machines, and I just froze in my place—just shaking.”

When the shooting stopped, Mahdi said he remained nervous somebody would perceive he was somehow involved.

“They saw me very scared and they just helped me out of there,” the tailor said of the officers who saw him and came to check on him. “I’m just glad they didn’t shoot me and believed I wasn’t involved in any of it.”

When officers helped Mahdi out through a broken window, he saw why the gunfire had come to an end.

“I saw the person laying dead there on the ground,” he said.

Police said they believe Robinson robbed two convenience stores before opening fire at the Sheraton Hotel at 150 West and 500 South in Salt Lake City.

Officers then pursued Robinson in a white truck down to South Salt Lake.

Mahdi said he thought he had escaped the violence when he came to the U.S. and Utah in 2009.

“He’s like, ‘I just can’t imagine it,’” Hassan said of his father. “You know, (it was) fire like back home in Iraq.”

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Shop Owner Left “Shaking” By Deadly South Salt Lake Shootout