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Man killed by Bountiful police struggled with mental illness, family says

Clay A. Reynolds, 27, of Bountiful, was shot and killed by Bountiful Police outside of Viewmont High School on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. Reynolds had a history of mental health issues, according to his family.
Clay A. Reynolds, 27, of Bountiful, was shot and killed by Bountiful Police outside of Viewmont High School on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. Reynolds had a history of mental health issues, according to his family.
Reynolds family photo

BOUNTIFUL — An armed man shot and killed by Bountiful police outside Viewmont High School Tuesday night had a history of mental health issues, according to his family.

The family of Clay A. Reynolds, 27, of Bountiful, called his death a suicide in a prepared statement released Thursday.

“We are heartbroken by the passing of our son and brother, Clay Reynolds,” the letter from Rory Reynolds and his family stated. “We love him and will treasure our memories with him. Clay unfortunately struggled with a variety of mental health-related illnesses in recent years. We worked hard as a family to get him the help he needed. We did our best to fight alongside him as he bravely faced his challenges.”

Officers responded to a call of a man with a rifle, bow and arrow, and knife outside Viewmont High School just after 10:30 p.m. Tuesday. When Clay Reynolds saw police approaching, he picked up a shotgun, according to police.

“Officers gave orders to the suspect to drop his gun. The male responded by asking the officers to shoot him. Officers repeatedly attempted to de-escalate the situation. When the suspect raised and fired the shotgun, officers fired, striking the suspect,” according to a statement from Bountiful police.

In their statement, the Reynolds family encouraged anyone struggling with a mental health crisis to “please find the strength to speak openly with your family and friends and seek professional help. Likewise, we hope family members will embrace the hurt of their loved ones and battle alongside them.”

The family also acknowledged the Bountiful Police Department and the difficult situation officers were put in.

“While we hurt, we recognize there are unknown variables when responding to emergency calls. We hope the officers involved can find peace and comfort as they also struggle to come to terms with what happened.”

Crews replace broken windows at Viewmont High School in Bountiful on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020. Bountiful police say a man who was armed with a rifle, a bow and arrow, and a knife near a the high school was shot and killed by police Tuesday night.
Crews replace broken windows at Viewmont High School in Bountiful on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020. Bountiful police say a man who was armed with a rifle, a bow and arrow, and a knife near a the high school was shot and killed by police Tuesday night.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News