- Associated Press - Thursday, May 3, 2012

GILBERT, Ariz. | Police said Thursday that they think 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.

Police believe Jason Todd Ready, 39, was the gunman in Wednesday’s shootings in a home in Gilbert, Gilbert police spokesman Sgt. Bill Balafas said.

Ready lived in the home with a woman who was among the dead. In addition to Ready’s girlfriend, the dead include the woman’s daughter and granddaughter and the daughter’s boyfriend, according to media reports.

Ready was known in Arizona for organizing a militia 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 identified the others killed as Lisa Lynn Mederos, 47; her daughter, Amber Nieve Mederos, 23; 15-month-old granddaughter, Lily Lynn Mederos; and Jim Franklin Hiott, 24.

Sgt. Balafas has said that all the evidence points to the shooting being related to domestic violence, but he said investigators aren’t sure what triggered the shooting.

Officers recovered two handguns and a shotgun from the home, but believe only a handgun was used, Sgt. Balafas said. The gun Ready commonly was pictured carrying on desert patrols, a military-style assault rifle, wasn’t in the house.

The shootings occurred in a subdivision filled with stucco homes with red-tile roofs.

Members of the federal Joint Terrorism Task Force and FBI agents removed what Sgt. Balafas said were military-grade ordnance, munitions and two barrels of chemicals found behind the home. Phoenix FBI spokesman Manuel Johnson said agents will help Gilbert police investigate the source of the munitions and provide other support.

Ready and Mr. Hiott were found dead outside the home, and the bodies of the two women were inside. The toddler was found inside the home showing signs of life, but died at a hospital.

A teenager in the house heard arguing followed by gunshots, Sgt. Balafas said. When she came out of a back room, she found the bodies.

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 who was shot and killed last year by his 10-year-old son.