J. T. Ready
|Born||Jason Todd Ready
February 17, 1973
|Died||May 2, 2012
Gilbert, Arizona, U.S.
|Cause of death||Suicide by gunshot wound to the head|
|Known for||Leader of a border militia group, and murdering four people|
|Political party||Republican and Democrat|
Jason Todd "J. T." Ready (February 17, 1973 – May 2, 2012) was a former American Marine, who had received a bad conduct discharge, founder and leader of a border militia group and a former member of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement who had sought the elected office of sheriff of Pinal County, Arizona. On May 2, 2012, at Ready's home in Gilbert, Arizona, he shot and killed his girlfriend, her daughter and granddaughter, the daughter's fiancé and himself.
Ready graduated from Mulberry High School in Mulberry, Florida, in 1992. While Ready was in high school at age 18, he was arrested and charged with aggravated assault and criminal mischief for swinging a baseball bat at a car driven by a teenager whom he had an altercation with at a party. He was given a sentence of one year's probation and community service.
Ready served in the U.S. Marine Corps, achieving the rank of lance corporal. He attended MCRD Parris Island and went to the School of Infantry in North Carolina. Ready was assigned to MCB Camp Pendleton with Reconnaissance Company and 1st LAR Bravo company. He was expelled from Reconnaissance Company and eventually became a Scout for a LAV-25 with a M249 light machine gun being his main weapon. During a field exercise at Twentynine Palms Base, he arrived without his M249 and was duly punished in the field by his platoon sergeant. Because of his weight and a knee injury sustained from a PT football game, he did not serve aboard the USS Anchorage when Bravo Company left with the 15th MEU in November 1995.
Ready was twice court-martialed during his service. The first resulted in a demotion and three months' imprisonment, the second resulted in six months' imprisonment and a Bad Conduct Discharge from the Corps in 1996. Convictions in the courts-martial included theft, assault, failure to follow orders, and unauthorized absence. The revelation of this history caused him to be removed as the master of ceremonies for a Mesa, Arizona, Veterans' Day parade in 2006.
At the time of his death, Ready was under investigation by the FBI, who were looking into a potential domestic terrorism situation involving immigrants found shot to death in the desert.
Ready was married to Arline Lindgren until they divorced in 2003. Ready was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) in 2003 and ordained as an elder by politician Russell Pearce. In December 2010, a fellow church member described him as "no longer active" and Ready described himself as a "recovering Mormon". Prior to moving in with Mederos, he worked at an Autozone auto parts store, from which he was fired.
Ready was politically active in anti-immigration causes. He served as president of the Mesa Community College Republican Party Club and as a precinct committeeman for the Maricopa County Republicans. Ready unsuccessfully campaigned for a seat in the Arizona House of Representatives in 2004 and for a seat on the city council for Mesa, Arizona, in 2006. He put forth as his motto that "The Purity of the Aryan Race is the most precious resource Nature has to offer All of Humankind." Ready founded a private organization in June 2010 called the U.S. Border Guard, which aimed to curtail illegal immigration by conducting armed patrols along the Arizona–Mexico border. He attended and spoke at Tea Party movement events.
The Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center described Ready as a neo-Nazi. Several Republicans attempted to have him expelled from his position in the party in Maricopa County due to his controversial views. Before starting a campaign for the position of Pinal County sheriff, he left the National Socialist Movement, but had Movement member Harry Hughes serving as his campaign chairman. He ran for sheriff as a Democrat, citing the party's past support for Jim Crow and Democratic politicians who had supported racial segregation, such as Robert Byrd and George Wallace, as well as stating his opinion that there was no difference between the Republican and Democratic parties, and that in a non-partisan position such as sheriff, political affiliation did not matter. After Ready's death, former Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce released a statement saying that he had previously rejected Ready due to his association with "despicable groups in society", and had objected to Ready's position in the Republican Party.
On May 2, 2012, Ready entered his home in Gilbert, Arizona, and fatally shot his girlfriend Lisa, her daughter Amber, Amber's boyfriend, Jim Hiott, and Amber's infant daughter Lilly. He then fatally shot himself. A 9-1-1 call made from the house referred to an argument before the call was interrupted by gunfire. A teenager in the house at the time was in her bedroom and heard an argument, but survived the incident without being shot.
- Lisa Mederos, age 47, Ready's girlfriend. She is believed to have made the first 9-1-1 call and was found dead inside the home.
- Amber Mederos, 23, Lisa's daughter with Hugo Mederos. She was found dead inside the home.
- Lilly Mederos, 15 months, Amber's daughter. She was initially found alive inside the home, but was pronounced dead at the hospital.
- Jim Hiott, 24, Amber's fiancee, an Army veteran who served in Afghanistan. He was found dead outside the home near Ready's body.
A local police spokesman said that this shooting was believed to have started as a domestic dispute. However, no specific motive has been revealed. Alongside the local police, the incident and premises were investigated by the Joint Terrorism Task Force, the FBI and the ATF, who found firearms and six grenades inside the home.
- J T Ready. "J T Ready". East Valley Tribune. Retrieved 2012-05-03.
- "Profiles of 20 Nativist Leaders: J.T. Ready.". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 2012-05-03.
- Jim Walsh and Lindsey Collom. "Gilbert mass killing: Border militia leader identified as shooter". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved 2012-05-03.
- Nick R. Martin (2012-03-20). "Extremists Go To ‘War’ In The Arizona Desert". Talking Points Memo. Retrieved 2012-05-03.
- Nick R. Martin (2012-01-24). "Neo-Nazi Who Advocated Border Landmines Launches Run For Sheriff in Arizona". Talking Points Memo. Retrieved 2012-05-03.
- Matthew Hendley (May 3, 2012). "J.T. Ready Confirmed by Police to Be Among the Five People Dead in Gilbert Massacre, and the Suspected Shooter". Phoenix NewTimes Blogs.
- Elvia Malagon (May 8, 2012). "Man in Arizona Slayings Was Violent Polk Teen". The Ledger. Retrieved November 12, 2012.
- "Intelligence Files: J.T. Ready". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 2012-05-03.
- Sarah Lynch (2006-09-28). "Mesa parade panel weighs Ready military record". East Valley Tribune. Retrieved 2012-05-06.
- Sarah Lynch (2006-09-30). "Veterans replace parade announcer". East Valley Tribune. Retrieved 2012-05-06.
- Walker, Hunter. "Minuteman Founder Doesn’t Want To Be Confused With Alleged Murderer". Politicker. Retrieved 2012-05-06.
- Merrill, Laurie. "Before bloodshed in Gilbert, signs of abuse inside home". Arizona Republic. Retrieved 2012-05-06.
- Nick R. Martin (2012-05-04). "FBI Targeted JT Ready In Domestic Terrorism Investigation". Talking Points Memo. Retrieved 2012-05-06.
- Amanda Lee Myers (May 3, 2012). "Police believe Neo-Nazi killed 4, himself in Ariz.". MiamiHerald.com. AP.
- Stephen Lemons (2010-12-16). "When Valley Neo-Nazi J.T. Ready Converted to Mormonism, Guess Which Prominent Politico Ordained Him an "Elder"". Phoenix New Times. Retrieved 2012-05-03.
- Merrill, Laurie (2012-05-03). "Before bloodshed in Gilbert, signs of abuse inside home". Arizona Republic. Retrieved 2012-05-06.
- "J.T. Ready: Neo-Nazi and Anti-Immigrant Extremist". ADL. January 7, 2011. Retrieved May 3, 2012.
- Lemons, Stephen (2009-07-06). "Neo-Nazi J.T. Ready Speaks at Phoenix Tea Party Event, as Does Tasered Tempe Pastor Steven Anderson". Phoenix New Times. Retrieved 2012-05-06.
- Michael Muskal (May 3, 2012). "Border Guard founder J.T. Ready blamed in Arizona murder-suicide". LATimes.com.
- Lemons, Stephen (2012-01-19). "Neo-Nazi J.T. Ready Runs for Pinal County Sheriff as a Democrat". Phoenix New Times. Retrieved 2012-05-06.
- "Pearce releases statement on Ready shooting". KTAR.com. May 2, 2012.
- "Profile: J.T. Ready". Azcentral.com. Retrieved 2012-05-03.
- Jim Walsh and Lindsey Collom (May 3, 2012). "Gilbert killings likely domestic-violence incident, police say". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved 2012-05-03.
- Alyssa Newcomb (May 3, 2012). "Arizona Militia Leader and Candidate for Sheriff Killed Family During 911 Call". ABC News.
- Dennis Wagner (May 3, 2012). "Gilbert mass shooting: Horror in wake of vigilante's final act". The Arizona Republic.
- David Schwartz (May 3, 2012). "Neo-Nazi suspected in Arizona murder-suicide". Reuters.