White supremacist behind murders-suicide in Arizona, police say
Four people died Wednesday at the hand of Jason 'J.T.' Ready, one of the most visible white supremacists in the US, who then killed himself, police in Gilbert, Ariz., say. Those who track neo-Nazi groups cite a culture of violence, including domestic violence.
Jason "J.T." Ready, a former US Marine who became one of the most visible white supremacists in the country amid the Arizona immigration debate, allegedly killed his girlfriend, her daughter and young granddaughter, and another man Wednesday in Gilbert, Ariz., just a few weeks after a white supremacist in Pennsylvania was sentenced to death for a similar crime.Skip to next paragraph
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A presumptive candidate for sheriff in Arizona's Pinal County who had national political aspirations, Mr. Ready, police say, appears to have been the aggressor in an apparent “domestic incident.” Experts on extremism say the shootings don’t appear to be grounded in ideological mission, but the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which usually doesn’t look into domestic crimes, has joined the investigation.
Some in the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement, of which Ready was a member until three years ago, have suggested that the killings may have been an ambush by narco-terrorists, adding to speculation that Ready was an FBI informant. The bureau would neither confirm nor deny that suggestion, according to a local news outlet.
IN PICTURES: American gun culture
The Gilbert shootings follow an ordeal in Washington State last week in which police traced survivalist Peter Keller to a massive earthen bunker, where he eventually killed himself after he shot his wife and 19-year-old daughter.
The Gilbert shootings, along with federal concerns about a rise in US-based extremism and membership in right-wing nationalist “patriot” groups, highlight to some the dark side of an emerging nativist strain on the American right, specifically how some proponents of violent ideologies target women, even children, in their private lives. The tragedy in Gilbert comes a few weeks after a white supremacist in Pennsylvania, Michael Parrish, was sentenced to death for killing his girlfriend and their baby in 2009.
“Quintuple murder-suicides [as in the Ready case] are rare and certainly shocking, but domestic violence by white supremacists against women, including assault, sexual assault, and murders, are not at all uncommon,” says Mark Pitcavage with the Anti-Defamation League, which is preparing a report on that subject. “Everything points to this being a domestic incident where there are personal and psychological motives. But that being said, Ready comes from the white supremacist subculture, which is a culture that condones violence and has a high association of violence.”
Ready had vied for political office several times in Arizona. He ran unsuccessfully for the Mesa City Council in 2006, previously served as a Republican precinct committeeman in Arizona, and most recently had announced his intent to run for Pinal County sheriff as a Democrat. After he was outed as a white supremacist by the Phoenix New Times in 2007, he embraced the label, even as Republican Party figures – including his former mentor, former Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce, who said "he's not my friend" – distanced themselves from Ready.