Ariz. senate candidate who fatally shot mother calls for more 'good guys' with guns

An Arizona Senate candidate who shot and killed his mother in self-defense is using the gruesome childhood memory to back his anti-gun control rhetoric.

“The only way to stop a crazy madman killing innocent people is you better have a good guy there with a gun,” GOP candidate Bobby Wilson told crowds brought together Moms Demand Action in a Tuscon church earlier this month. “I’m here to tell you I'm living proof of that.”

Gun control advocates broke out into heckles and boos at the start of his remarks, but they were stunned silent when Wilson detailed how he fatally shot and killed a crazed attacker in self-defense more than 50 years ago.

“When I was 18 years old, someone was hell-bent on killing me in my sleep one night,” he recalled. “It’s three o’clock in the morning, I wake up to find a rifle in my face — a semiautomatic rifle at that — and the bullets started to fly and I started diving for cover.”

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Wilson said he dodged at least six bullets before he managed to pull his own single-shot rifle out from under his bed and kill the shooter. While the Senate hopeful did not specifically name his mother as his attacker during the July 9 event, he said in a follow-up interview with the Associated Press that he is not trying to hide anything.

He wrote about the incident in his 2012 book “Bobby's Trials” and his campaign website also identifies his “deranged mother” as his attacker. Wilson said she was “insane” and shot at him while he was in bed in their Oklahoma farmhouse in 1963.

“She tried to murder her children in the early hours of the morning and only Bobby survived the deadly chaos that followed,” his bio reads. His sister died that night and his house also burnt down.

“I’m lucky to be alive twice over,” he said, telling crowds that he is living example that a “good guy with a gun” does provide safety and security.

The Arizona Republic reported that Wilson was imprisoned following the deaths, but after two trials, the court eventually dismissed the case in the early 70s. Wilson said he never confessed to anything at the time though, as he had amnesia and did not fully piece the incident together until years later.

Jacob Martinez, an organizer with March for Our Lives AZ, alternatively suggested that the Republican’s experiences emphasize the importance of locking up guns and providing emotional care and help to those who may need it.

“He should know better than anybody that something needs to be done,” Martinez said. “The fact that he can’t acknowledge that speaks volumes.”

Rep. Daniel Hernandez, a Democrat who represents the same district Wilson is running in, said the remarks left most present in shock. Many people at the forum had been gun violence survivors, including Gabby Giffords — a former congresswoman who was shot in Tuscon in 2011.

Hernandez said Wilson also discussed the shooting, saying that Giffords should’ve had security with her.

“I’ve never ever heard someone be so aggressive in that view, and also to drag Gabby into it, I thought,was so distasteful and so disgusting,” he said.

Wilson however, has remained mostly unfazed by the criticism. The night of the forum he wrote on his Facebook page that he was the only Republican candidate with the “guts to appear.” I was greeted with boos and catcalls,” he said. “Loved it!”

Over the weekend he called on his supporters to purchase newspapers detailing his “defense of gun rights, Second Amendment before a crowd of angry Trump haters. Even Gabby Giffords was there,” he noted. But by Tuesday, Wilson seemed weary of the attention his remarks were getting.

“I know how President Trump feels now with all the fake news stories making the rounds on me,” he posted late last night. “Oh well; as he said there is no such thing as bad publishity. [sic] Guess I will run for President one of these days!”

Wilson, who moved to Arizona in the mid-1990s, is running for a seat currently held by Democrat Sen. Andrea Dalessandro.

With News Wire Services