Valerie Castile, the mother of Philando Castile, slammed National Rifle Association chief Wayne LaPierre for staying silent over the death of her son after he told a crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference Thursday, “the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
“If he really cared about the good guys out here, he would have stood up for my son,” Valerie Castile told the New York Daily News. “It’s about money. This country is run off money. Everybody wants a piece.”
“My son was one of the good guys, but him being black, obviously they didn’t see him as a good guy,” she said. “They’ve yet to say anything about my son.”
Philando Castile, was shot and killed by a St. Anthony Police officer in an incident that was live-streamed on Facebook. He had informed the officer he was licensed to carry and had a pistol on him. The officer subsequently fired seven shots at Castile; he was later acquitted.
The NRA never released an official statement about Castile’s death. On Facebook, the group referred to “reports from Minnesota” and said it would “not comment while the investigation is ongoing.” As the Washington Post reports, “unlike its reaction to the Minnesota shooting, the NRA released a statement hours after the attack in Dallas early Friday morning left five police officers dead.”
NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch later said the organization had no obligation to defend Castile because he was “in possession of a controlled substance” and his gun at the time, which is illegal. She later clarified that she was not speaking in her capacity as a spokeswoman, and neither herself nor the NRA issued a further statement on Castile’s murder.
“[LaPierre] didn’t say anything because my son was black,” Valerie Castile said. “My son went through the same programs as every gun owner. But they started nitpicking, ‘He should have done this, he should have done that.’ The bottom line is that he told the officer he had a weapon, and the officer became a selfish man, only thinking about his own life and family. He chose to shoot my son several times. One of the bullets was 16 inches from that baby in the backseat.”
Valerie Castile told the Daily News that Wayne LaPierre’s CPAC speech proves the organization’s hypocrisy. She also said the organization’s focus on “hardening schools” in response to the Parkland massacre is a bad idea.
“Arming the schools will make them more like a battlefield,” she said. If everyone has guns, bullets will be flying everywhere. You’ll end up with more bodies.”
Philando Castile was a cafeteria manager for the St. Paul school district when he was killed.
“He loved the kids,” Valerie Castile said. “He never took the summer vacation. He knew all those children’s names and all their allergies.”
“He was a good guy,” she repeated. “He went through a rigorous process to get his gun. He told the truth and let the officer know he had it. What happened to my good guy? He was shot down like an animal. He was still in his seatbelt. That car was his coffin.”