The family of the 18-year-old who shot three elderly women during a rampage in a Farmington neighborhood on Monday released a statement Friday saying he “was fighting a battle of mental illness that he lost.”
“We would like to start by sending our condolences to all of the victims and their loved ones,” said Artie Martinez, on behalf of the family. “We know that the community and families involved are dealing with a lot of pain.”
He said his younger brother, Beau Wilson, was set to graduate from Farmington High School on Tuesday.
Instead, Wilson was killed by Farmington police officers after they say he shot and killed Shirley Voita, 79, and then Gwendolyn Dean Schofield, 97, and her daughter Melody Ivie, 73. The women were driving on North Dustin when police say Wilson stepped out of his father’s home and began shooting an AR-15 indiscriminately. Six others were injured in the shooting, including two police officers.
“This is all very shocking to us as we only knew him as a kind-hearted young man that loved his family and friends dearly,” Martinez said in the statement. “We understand that a lot of people are experiencing many emotions. We are also grieving the loss of our brother, son, grandson, uncle and friend. We once again just want to send our condolences and deepest sympathy to everyone involved. We will continue to pray and search for answers.”
The family also released photos of Wilson, one of him with a puppy and another of him in his wrestling uniform.
Martinez, 36, lives in Arizona and said he didn’t know the ins and outs of the mental health issues Wilson was struggling with. Martinez and Wilson have different fathers and Wilson’s mother and father are in the midst of a divorce.
“I had heard he had been extremely close to my family recently and it appeared things were going in the right direction,” Martinez said.
Farmington Police Chief Steve Hebbe has said investigators are still trying to determine the motive for the shooting but they had heard from family members that Wilson was struggling with his mental health. A note in his pocket said “If you’re reading this I’m the end of the chapter” and “lay eyes or dear (sic.) put a finger on my little sister I promise there will be regrets.”
Hebbe said Wilson had bought the AR-15 legally in November about a month after his 18th birthday. He said he also used two guns that belonged to a family member and had access to 10 others inside the house — although there was no indication he intended to use those.