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Family of border patrol shooter explains what may have led to aggressive behavior

Posted at 4:54 PM, May 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-20 00:50:09-04

Just two days after 67-year-old, Gary Smith opened fire on agents at a Border Patrol checkpoint near Tombstone, his family is revealing new details about what led up to the shooting. 

The Smith family tells KGUN 9 that Gary Smith isn't a bad guy but suffers from a disease that was overlooked. 

Shirley Smith, wife of Gary Smith, says it all started Wednesday afternoon when her husband of 45 years became agitated. When he insisted on leaving the house, Shirley told him that she was going to call the police. 

"He had no business driving, and I did call police."

The Cochise County Sheriff's Department says they received a phone call at 3:06 PM from a woman claiming to be Gary Smith's daughter. 

In the call, Samantha Smith told the Cochise County Sherriff's Department that her "father left home with guns and alcohol."

The sheriffs put out an attempt to locate. 

"I don't know what else I could have done to stop him, I tried," says Shirley. 

Samantha adds, "My father has PTSD and the dementia isn't helping." 

Both, Shirley and Samantha say they aren't justifying the actions or aggressive behavior of Gary Smith and apologize to everyone it has impacted. 

The family just wants to explain what may have led up to the shooting. 

"I want people to know that he's not a horrible man," says Shirley. "He's a good man and a loving man and a disease has caused him to do this --- a mental disease." 

Smith is recovering in a Tucson hospital from a gunshot wound to his arm.