J.T. Ready, a 39-year-old former National Socialist Movement leader who formed the nativist, militia-like U.S. Border Guard, was the apparent shooter before taking his own life in the murder-suicide, Gilbert Police Sgt. Bill Balafas said in a statement released today.
“The evidence to this point, which will still be verified, is leading us to believe Jason Ready is responsible for killing the other four and subsequently taking his own life,” the police statement said.
Beside Ready, the dead were identified as his girlfriend, Lisa Lynn Mederos, 47; her daughter, Amber Nieve Mederos, 23; the daughter’s boyfriend, Jim Franklin Hiott, and Amber’s 15-month-old baby girl, Lilly Lynn Mederos.
“This horrific event began [Wednesday] at around 1 p.m. [MDT] when officers responded to a domestic fight call in the 500 block of west Tumbleweed in Gilbert,” the statement said.
“Upon arrival, officer located four deceased adults and one severely injured child,” it continued. “The child was transported to a local hospital where she was pronounced deceased.”
“Investigators obtained a search warrant for the residence and located hazardous chemicals and military-style ammunitions,” the statement said without offering specifics.
Media accounts from the scene on Wednesday indicated authorities had located at least two 55-gallon drums thought to contain hazardous material in the backyard of the residence, located in a cul-de-sac in a middle-class neighborhood composed of homes that are about 15 years old.
Police didn’t immediately release a detailed list of firearms and ammunition found at the residence after initially saying they found a handgun and a shotgun.
Ready, an ex-Marine court-martialed twice for bad conduct, was a current candidate for Pinal County Sheriff, claiming he was the “common sense” choice to combat the “horrific reality of terrible violence associated with illegal immigration.”
He previously talked about placing landmines on the U.S.-Mexican border where he and other armed vigilantes – he called them “Minutemen on steroids” – conducted patrols to attempt to apprehend undocumented immigrants.