Shooting victim: A checkered past, with reason for hopeSuzi Clark saw the bad in her son-in-law Robert “Bobby” Wilson. She knew the man shot and killed Monday by Cottage Grove police had a checkered, drug-filled and violent past.
Suzi Clark saw the bad in her son-in-law Robert “Bobby” Wilson. She knew the man shot and killed Monday by Cottage Grove police had a checkered, drug-filled and violent past.
But she saw, too, in the 27-year-old a loving father and fun-loving young man — though his violent end this week came as no surprise to the Woodbury woman.
Wilson — married to Clark’s 27-year-old daughter Jessica — had let his life spiral out of control since the birth of Carter, the couple’s 11-month-old son last year, she recounted Wednesday.
By the time she received an early-morning call from a distraught Jessica on Tuesday, Clark said she was almost certain she knew how Wilson’s downward spiral would end.
“(Jessica) called me (Tuesday) at 3:22 a.m. — I remember looking at the caller ID — just bawling, and something told me. I knew Bobby didn’t want to go to prison,” Clark said. “He was looking at 12 to 15 years. Something in my heart told me he was going to do something and end up getting killed.
“I didn’t even ask, ‘Did he get arrested?’” she said. “I said, ‘Is he dead?’ and she said, ‘Yes.’”
Police say that Wilson was attempting to flee a traffic stop late Monday night, dragging officer Brad Petersen more than 500 feet along a deserted Hadley Avenue.
Petersen — his arm tangled in the steering wheel of the stolen Ford Taurus driven by Wilson, and unable to free himself, according to deputy public safety director Pete Koerner — fired at least two shots in defense.
Wilson later died from his injuries.
Cottage Grove police had been looking for Wilson, his wife, and the stolen Ford Taurus in connection with a string of incidences of counterfeit currency being passed at area businesses.
Wilson’s criminal record and Cottage Grove police reports show it wasn’t his first run-in with the law: In 2008, Wilson led officers on a high-speed chase through Cottage Grove and St. Paul Park, resulting in charges of methamphetamine possession and fleeing an officer. His lengthy criminal record details a past including armed burglary, assault and drug possession.
On the night of his death, Wilson had three outstanding warrants hanging over his head, and had recently skipped a Feb. 26 court date in connection with a 2008 burglary.
That’s the Bobby most saw, Clark said. But when her daughter and Wilson first moved into the Woodbury home shared by Clark and her husband, Tim, she said she encountered a loving, energetic man who seemed ready to put his troubled past — and prison stint — behind him.
“I know he loved my daughter and I know he loved Carter with all his heart,” Clark said.
Wilson’s last months of living with the Clarks were tense, though. Wilson came and went at all hours of the night. Clark said she suspected, though had no proof, he had again become involved with drugs.
Her daughter told Clark the couple and their infant son had been staying with friends and living out of motels since moving out of the Woodbury home more than three months ago.
“It’s heartbreaking to see a person change and not be able to do anything about it, and not be able to help and not even know why,” Clark said.
It’s heartbreaking, too, the mother-in-law said tearfully, that Wilson won’t see his young son grow up, even from behind prison bars.
“Even though he was a bad egg and had some problems, he didn’t deserve to be killed,” she said. “He deserved to be in prison. But he didn’t deserve to be killed.”