White separatist blames Sheriff Mims for home invasion

FRESNO, Calif.

Bill Gaede spoke exclusively to Action News about the violent incident at his home on Elwood near Lupine.

Even though they shot him in the face at close range, the 79-year-old lived to tell the tale.

Gaede has a fat lip, a black eye, and staples in his head -- the reminders of his run-in with two home invaders.

"One come through the back door -- the back door of the garage -- and the other come out through there and they just jumped on me," he said.

The suspects tied Gaede up as they ransacked his rural home and when his son showed up, they tied him up too.

Gaede says the men wanted to know where he kept his guns and money.

When he wouldn't help, they beat him up, and threatened to kill him.

One suspect nearly did kill him and he had to be airlifted to a hospital.

"The guy stuck his gun in my mouth and he shot me twice and I went down there and I spit the bullets out," Gaede said.

His property may not look like a treasure, but it draws a lot of attention -- and not just when his hogs cross the road.

Swastikas on his roof and his vehicles announce his white separatist views, and he's frequently at the center of controversy.

Ten years ago, he chopped down the so-called "Madonna Tree" near Avocado Lake where hundreds of people believed they saw the Virgin Mary.

Gaede called it an eyesore.

He's also had several run-ins with the law, mostly for shooting a gun or having one where he shouldn't, but he's never been convicted of a crime.

Still, Gaede says Sheriff Margaret Mims refused to give him a concealed weapons permit and that's why he was unarmed when the men attacked him.

He blames her for leaving him vulnerable.

"I actually think they want to see me dead tell you the truth," Gaede said.

Sheriff's investigators spent hours on the scene of the crime collecting clues, and even Gaede admits they're doing their best to catch the suspects.

Detectives say the suspects are two thin white men in their forties.

Gaede says the crooks got away with ten to 15 guns and about $1000 in cash.

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