"He was charged with attempted murder. It was brutal," says Rachelle, Rob's wife of 16 years. "The incident was definitely highly publicized."
Rob was finally exonerated from the charges and returned to work. "They ordered me to undergo a fitness-for-duty evaluation. The doctor determined that I was broken and that the department should terminate me for that, and that's what they did," he shares. "Nothing's been the same. My life was
"Ever since then, he's lost his smile," Rachelle laments. "There were months where he didn't leave the house. He just has kind of shut down."
Rob is physically in his family's life, but emotionally absent. "He's not the kind of father that he wants to be," Rachelle says. "He'd wrestle with the kids, go out and jump on the trampoline, just a really fun dad." That side of Rob rarely appears. "There is a glimpse of Rob once in a while for the kids, and they call him Vacation
"Regular Dad is kind of depressed. He doesn't talk to anybody, and Vacation Dad, he's so fun, and all he wants to do is spend time with us," says Jacqueline, their 14-year-old daughter. "I just think if my dad moves on, then we can move on and be happy."
"Vacation Dad is happy and fun, and Home Dad is grouchy, doesn't like to be bugged sometimes. I like Vacation Dad a ton more," says Michael, one of twin
"My son, Alex, really touched me this week. He just threw his arms around me, and he just said, â€˜I love you, Dad.' He said, â€˜I'm happy, Dad. This is the happiest week of my life,' and I said, â€˜Why?' and he said, â€˜Because you're happy,'" Rob shares.
"He wasn't grumpy whatsoever. He was cheerful, and I like that side of him. It just makes me feel happy inside. I love him," Alex says. "If I could wish for two things, it would be that my dad could have
Rob is ready to change. "It just really struck me that I need to fix this, and I need to be there for my kids, and I need to give them what they want," he says.
Rachelle wants the man she married back. "I miss my husband, and my kids miss their dad," she says. "I feel like I'm just the single mom. I think he's checked out as a father."
"What do you say to yourself about it? What's your internal dialogue?" Dr. Phil asks.
"I just get up, and go to work and do the things that need to be done, and when I come home, I just want to spend time with myself," he says.
Asked for her thoughts, Rachelle says, "I think that he's depressed a little bit. I just feel like he doesn't want to listen to me, and he doesn't want to listen to my advice, and he's just kind of shut down from me."
"Do you feel guilty about the shooting?" Dr. Phil asks Rob.
"I don't really know how I feel. I don't think I've ever really dealt with the effects of what happened that day," he says. "Inside, I feel broken, but I don't know how, and I don't know how to fix that."
Dr. Phil asks Rob if he understands the motive behind his actions that night.
"I was just fighting for my life. I was shooting to stop him from driving me down the road and possibly taking my life," he says. "It's not a matter of me shooting to kill. It's me shooting to stop the behavior. I felt like at the time I was doing what I needed to do to go home at the end of the night."
Dr. Phil points out that Rob was eventually vindicated in the shooting. "Is your jury still out?" he asks.
"The judgment that you've got to pass is within yourself," Dr. Phil tells him. He points out that because of his profession, he is judged every day. "My jury's in. I believe in what I'm doing. I believe in how I do it. I believe in why I do it, so it's like water off a duck's back to me. Opinions are like asses, everybody's got one. But I'm at peace within myself about who I am and what I do, and you're not, true?"
"That's true," Rob says.
"You're locked up. You convicted yourself. You're living in an emotional prison," Dr. Phil tells Rob.
Rachelle has said that she's the parent who takes the kids to the movies, museums, zoo and amusement parks, while Rob stays home by himself.
"I feel bad. I really do," Rob says. "I feel that I've let my family down, and I'm afraid that they're just growing up and moving on, and I wasn't a part of that. I've missed the last eight years of their lives."
Rachelle and Rob's four children: Alex, 11, twins Michael and Christopher, 12, and Jacqueline, 14, join the show. "Y'all miss your dad?" Dr. Phil asks.
"Yeah," they say in unison.
"What would you like to see your dad get involved with?" Dr. Phil asks.
"I'd like to see him, like, do more stuff with us, like, video games, and I'd like him to get more involved with stuff," Christopher says.
Jacqueline shares what she misses about her father. "He's just kind of away. He's not with us," she says. "When our mom takes us to the movies and everything, you just miss him being there and just kind of having fun with you, and it's just fun to see him there. When he is Vacation Dad, and he comes with us, it's just fun to see him there. When he's missing, it's just heartbreaking."
Dr. Phil says to Rob, "You say you just feel like you don't have a lot to give."
"I just feel empty," he says, explaining that because the incident, his job options are limited. "I deal a lot with trying to work out how I'm going to pay the bills next month, how I'm going to feed my family," he says. "When I'm out, and I'm laughing and playing with the kids, sure I can forget it for a little while, but when I come home, it seems like I have to deal with reality now
"You are the poster boy for what's wrong with the statement, time heals all wounds," Dr. Phil tells Rob. "Time heals nothing. It's what you do with that time that makes things change." He suggests that Rob lighten up a bit. "You need to let yourself off the hook here," he says, adding that he believes Rob is depressed. "You're just depressed enough to have some mental, emotional and psycho-motor retardation. Everything has slowed down for you. Your thinking has slowed down. Your actions have slowed down. You're just kind of numb from all of this." He also points out that Rob feels self-pity. "You got jerked around, and you are really upset about that. You are depressed, you are feeling sorry for yourself, and you've got an internal dialogue that is self-defeating. You've got money worries. You've got perception worries. You feel like a failure. You can't provide for your kids the way you want to mentally, emotionally, physically, financially, any way, so you're saying, â€˜What good am I?' The problem is you're the only father they'll ever have, so it's time to man-up and do what you've got to do to get this behind you."
Dr. Phil explains that Rob's depression is a reaction to his situation. "If I was saying to me what you're saying to you, I, too, would be depressed," he says. He offers to provide him with counseling so he can work through his
Fighting back tears, Rob says, "That's awesome."
"It's time that you step up and reclaim your role in this family," Dr. Phil tells him.