May 3, 2012 12:48 PM
GILBERT, Ariz. (AP) - Police said Thursday that they believe a former Marine with ties to neo-Nazi and Minutemen groups shot four people and then took his own life in a suburban Phoenix home.
Gilbert police spokesman Sgt. Bill Balafas said Thursday that police believe Jason Todd Ready, 39, was the gunman in Wednesday's shootings in a home in Gilbert.
Media reports say that among the four others killed were Ready's girlfriend and the woman's daughter and granddaughter.
Ready was known in Arizona for organizing a militia in the desert with the goal of finding illegal immigrants and drug smugglers. Known as "J.T.," Ready led an outfit known as the U.S. Border guard that dressed in military fatigues and body armor and carried assault rifles during patrols for illegal immigrants in the desert south of Phoenix.
Police have said the gunman was among the dead but have not identified that person. Authorities say that the dead include 15-month-old Lily Lynn Mederos; 23-year-old Amber Nieve Mederos; 47-year-old Lisa Lynn Mederos and 24-year-old Jim Franklin Hiott.
Balafas has said that all the evidence points to the shooting being related to domestic violence. He didn't elaborate. Officers have recovered two handguns and a shotgun.
The shootings occurred in a subdivision filled with stucco homes with red-tile roofs.
Balafas said two men were dead outside the home and two women were dead inside. A girl between 1 and 2 years old was found inside the home showing signs of life when police initially responded to the scene, but she later died at a hospital.
About three hours after the shooting, a man walked up to the police tape, pointed to the crime scene and said, "I have a daughter who lives in that house."
Police pulled him behind the tape and out of view. Several seconds later, a loud, anguished cry could be heard. Minutes after, the same man was weeping and left the scene with police.
Ready took offense at the term "neo-Nazi," but acknowledged he had identified with the National Socialist Movement, an organization that believes only non-Jewish, white heterosexuals should be American citizens and that everyone who isn't white should leave the country "peacefully or by force."
"We're not going to sit around and wait for the government anymore," Ready said in a July 2010 interview with The Associated Press. "This is what our Founding Fathers did."
Violence touched his life in ways beyond his militia work. Ready knew and organized border patrols with Jeffrey Hall, a California white supremacist shot and killed last year by his 10-year-old son.
FBI spokesman Manuel Johnson said federal agents were at the scene "providing personnel and technical assistance" to Gilbert police, but that the police department was the lead agency.
Gary Davis, who also lives in the neighborhood, said: "There's no excuse for taking a child's life."
"Nothing ever happens in this neighborhood," Davis said. "It's a shock to us."
Image courtesy 'JT Ready for Sheriff' via Facebook and MSNBC