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Border Vigilante, White Supremacist Goes on Rampage in Arizona

JT Ready, founder of border militia, kills three adults, one toddler, and then self

- Common Dreams staff

An Arizona border militia founder and familiar face in the world of vitriolic anti-immigration rhetoric in the southwest opened fire on Wednesday inside a home near Phoenix, killing three adults and a toddler before taking his own life, police say.

According to a report in the Arizona Republic, the victims were Ready’s girlfriend, her daughter, the daughter’s boyfriend and the daughter’s 18-month-old baby. Strangely, according to the local paper, someone on Wednesday -- just hours after the massacre -- posted a message on Ready's Facebook page, which read: "Reports are unconfirmed that a cartel assassination squad murdered J.T. Ready and several of his friends and family. ... This page's admin will keep you updated of the situation as soon as possible."

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups nationally, characterized Ready as a racist and "an outright neo-Nazi" who once declared, "I firmly believe in having a minefield across the border. This is 100 percent effective."

Ready, according to the Republic, was a prospective candidate for Pinal County Sheriff, founder of U.S. Border Guard and a member of the Minuteman Project, both nationally prominent anti-illegal immigration organizations.

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Talking Points Memo: Border Vigilante Identified As Gunman In Arizona Massacre

Longtime white supremacist and border vigilante JT Ready saw himself as part of a war that few others would fight. He amassed weapons. He donned a uniform. He formed his own brigade of volunteers to walk alongside him as he hunted what he described as “narco terrorists” flowing across the Arizona-Mexico border.

On Wednesday, reports out of Arizona said Ready died, not at the hands of drug runners, but with his own gun during a mad rampage inside a suburban home just east of Phoenix. Along the way, the reports said, he took the lives of four other people, including a toddler.

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Arizona Republic: Gilbert mass shooting: Horror in wake of vigilante's final act

Ready, a prospective candidate for Pinal County Sheriff, was founder of U.S. Border Guard and a member of the Minuteman Project, both nationally prominent anti-illegal immigration organizations. At one time, he also belonged to the National Socialist Movement, which espouses White-supremacist theories.

On Wednesday afternoon, someone posted a message on Ready's Facebook page: "Reports are unconfirmed that a cartel assassination squad murdered J.T. Ready and several of his friends and family. ... This page's admin will keep you updated of the situation as soon as possible."

A message on the U.S. Border Guard website said members were "extremely saddened by the untimely loss of our founder" and expressed sympathy to the victims.

Ready, 39, has advocated deadly force to stop smugglers and immigrants from entering the United States illegally. He became a significant figure in Arizona politics recently because of his purported neo-Nazi views and his association with former Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, who was recalled last fall.

Pearce did not respond Wednesday to requests for comment. However, Pearce has in recent years disavowed his association with Ready.

In 2008, Ready became a Republican precinct committeeman in Legislative District 18. Because of his extreme views, several GOP congressman in Arizona sent a letter to Maricopa County Republican Party leaders asking that Ready be removed from that position.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups nationally, characterized Ready as a racist and "an outright neo-Nazi" who once declared, "I firmly believe in having a minefield across the border. This is 100 percent effective."

Harry Hughes, a member of the National Socialist Movement who also took part in armed border patrols, expressed shock at Wednesday's mayhem.

"I think this is horrible," he said. "I want everyone to know J.T. Ready was the last person on Earth I'd figure to have done anything to hurt a child. It really caught me off guard. Despite all the rhetoric and the stuff we're going to hear about him being the evil Nazi, he was a good man."

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KTAR.com/Arizona: J.T. Ready in video: 'We'll kill them'

Below is a video featuring J.T. Ready, who reportedly was one of the people killed in the Gilbert on Wednesday.

The story, titled "Pride and Prejudice," was a report in the year 2010 by former Channel One News reporter Steven Fabian. Part 2 of his three part series focused on southern Arizona.

It's about the group Ready leads through the desert as they look for people who may be coming across the U.S.-Mexico border illegally.

"We have an operation going on called 'Lying in the Sand,'" Ready said.

The group said they patrolling the area and looking to stop drug smugglers.

They had all types of equipment, including assault weapons and grenades.

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