Shooting victim's sister: 'He was fighting his demons'

The family of a Modesto man shot by police say they were shocked to learn of his violent death.

To his family, Richard Robles Jr. was a loving son who doted on his ailing mother and joked around with his five brothers and sisters. Robles struggled with mental health problems, but he was not violent, said his mother Polly Robles. She said she has no idea why he confronted a Modesto police officer with a samurai sword early Sunday morning.

“He had his ups and downs, but we didn’t expect that at all,” said his sister Belen Robinson.

Polly Robles said she last saw her son “Richie” on Saturday, when he stopped by his parents’ house to pick up mail and asked to borrow some money. On Sunday afternoon, a police officer appeared on their doorstep to say that Richie was dead.

Robles, who turned 45 last Friday, was the father of a 17-year-old son and a beloved uncle to several nieces and nephews.

Polly Robles said her son had spent time in jail, where he was diagnosed with mental illness. Family members said that when Richard Robles took his medication, he was outgoing and fun to be around. When he didn’t take his meds, he would withdraw, said his sister Belen Robinson.

“I believe he was fighting demons that we couldn’t see,” said his sister, Liz Esparza.