Christopher Robinson, the intruder fatally shot by a Northland homeowner Wednesday morning, had struggled with drug addiction for nearly 15 years, his father said Thursday.
By CHRISTINE VENDEL and GLENN E. RICE
The Kansas City Star
Over the years, Robinson, 30, often moved back home with his parents to try to get clean. But his friends would soon call and Robinson would sink back into his destructive habits, most recently using methamphetamine, Charles Robinson Sr. said.
In recent weeks, Christopher Robinson again was living with his parents in Kansas City, Kan., and talking about straightening out his life. On Tuesday night, he brought home a family that he said was homeless and hungry, prepared them a meal and helped them get their car running.
He drove away with that family. His parents never saw him again.
They got the news Wednesday night from police that their son had been killed by a homeowner.
Robinson allegedly stole three vehicles in a pre-dawn crime spree that ended with his death inside a residential garage in the 9000 block of North Garfield Avenue in Kansas City, North. He allegedly fought with the homeowner, who killed him with two shotgun blasts after Robinson stole keys and tried to drive off in the family’s vehicle.
The homeowner’s wife held their child and hid in a closet while calling 911 after Robinson broke into their home, police said.
Robinson’s father knew a different side of his son, who had a 9-year-old daughter.
“He was a good kid. He would help anybody,” his father said. “But the drug problem got the best of him.”
Charles Robinson said he understood the homeowner’s need to protect himself, but he wondered why the homeowner fired a second round at his son, who he believes was unarmed. He said his son was shot in the side.
“I could see him shooting out of fear with the first shot,” Charles Robinson said. “But that second shot, that’s between him and God.”
Kansas City, Kan., police had arrested Christopher Robinson at least 28 times since 2002. He was accused of crimes that included aggravated assault, criminal damage to property, resisting arrest and battery of a law enforcement officer.
He was convicted last year and sentenced to three years of probation in Jackson County for possession of a controlled substance. Officers checking out a reported burglary in an apartment building arrested Robinson in the hallway with four grams of cocaine in four small baggies, police reports said.
Despite his many brushes with the law, “he never did stay in jail,” Charles Robinson said. “Sometimes he would see his parole officer. Sometimes he wouldn’t show up. But they never picked him up.”
Charles Robinson had hoped a few months in jail would get his son’s attention and help his son break from his addiction.
“They could see he was a problem,” he said. “It was a revolving door, and there wasn’t nobody doing nothing.”
Clay County Prosecutor Daniel White said his office had not received the police case file Thursday. His spokesman, Jim Roberts, said no decision had been made, but “it is very unlikely charges will be filed” against the homeowner.
On Thursday, police from various agencies continued to sort out details of what prompted the incident.
Gladstone police received a 911 call from a resident in the 7300 block of North Euclid Avenue that a Chevrolet Tahoe was stuck in a ditch behind their home. Robinson had run north, cutting between several houses toward North Garfield Avenue in Gladstone, said Police Capt. Jeff Self.
Officers at the scene ran the license plate on the Tahoe and learned that it recently had been stolen. By then, Robinson had fled to a residence on North Garfield Avenue. Officers surrounded the garage as Robinson climbed into a vehicle and started the engine, Self said.
“They heard some noise from the house,” he said. “As they were getting people in place so they could go in and get him, he jumped in the car and drove through the garage door.”
The officers scrambled to get out of the way. Several officers from Gladstone and Oakview jumped in their patrol cars in an effort to catch Robinson but lost him in an open field down the road. Moments later, police received a 911 call that a pickup had just been carjacked at the Hy-Vee at North Prospect Avenue, Self said.
By then, Gladstone police had discontinued their pursuit, but Clay County sheriff’s deputies had joined Oakview police and followed Robinson as he headed toward his death in the 9000 block of North Garfield Avenue, Self said.