PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A man accused of shooting a Providence police officer in his bulletproof vest Friday afternoon was ordered held without bail on 10 new gun charges and violating his bail on two other cases involving illegal guns.
Tyrone Robinson, 19, shackled at his wrists and ankles, faced a District Court judge and then a Superior Court magistrate Tuesday morning. He’d been in this courthouse only three months earlier, when he was released on bail on charges of carrying a gun without a license and having marijuana. He had been out on bail from Superior Court on another case involving other gun charges in September.
And then on Friday afternoon, Robinson allegedly pulled into the Dollar Tree plaza at 395 Admiral St., and two officers in the police violent crimes unit followed.
Robinson “quickly emerged and began firing” at the officers, assistant attorney general Alison Bittl said during the arraignment before District Court Judge Pamela Woodcock-Pfeiffer.
One bullet struck Officer Matthew McGloin in the chest, penetrating the outer layer of his bullet-proof vest, Bittl said.
McGloin’s partner, Jonathan Smith, fired back, Bittl said, but Robinson escaped unhurt. Robinson ran through nearby Mansion Park, tossing a .45-caliber handgun and spent magazine onto the basketball court, and ran to his family’s home at 645 Douglas Ave., she said. He surrendered to police a short time later.
McGloin’s vest saved his life. He was checked at a hospital and released shortly afterward. A 10-year veteran, McGloin is one of the most decorated officers on the department, lauded for his ability in seizing illegal guns. The attorney general’s office and state police are working with Providence police to investigate the police shooting, as is customary with officer-involved shootings.
Robinson’s father, who was at the scene on Friday, defended his son after the arraignment.
The father, also named Tyrone Robinson, said his son thought the two officers in the unmarked police vehicle were actually rival gang members. He said his son had the gun for protection, and that his son had post-traumatic stress disorder and depression from being shot twice by other people, starting when he was 14. “He fears for his life,” Robinson said of his son.
The father also accused the police of harassing his son by stopping him often.
Why? “I don’t know,” the senior Robinson said, and looked pointedly down at his own dark skin.
Court records show that, along with gun and drug charges, Robinson has been issued multiple traffic violations by Providence and state police over the last two years for a variety of offenses.
Although the police say that the younger Robinson was part of a gang affiliated with the Chad Brown housing projects, his father said the police labeled him because he hangs out in that neighborhood.
Some residents in the area told a different story about Robinson — about hearing gunfire outside his house at 645 Douglas Ave., even last Thursday night. The police also were “familiar” with Robinson, because of past gun arrests, according to Bittl.
His father said his son was a “good kid.”
“We fear the cops more than we fear the gang members in the ‘hood,” Robinson said.