Death---and life of a border vigilante
Photo: Video by kgun9.com
Reporter: Craig Smith
GILBERT, Ariz (KGUN9-TV) - The death of a border vigilante has nothing to do with his controversial activities--that's the tentative word from police in Gilbert.
They say militia organizer and former neo-Nazi J.T. Ready killed four people, then himself, in a burst of domestic violence.
Ready had a reputation as one of the most aggressive forces in the immigrations issue.
J.T. Ready was an extreme and controversial figure even by the standards of an issue full of extreme and controversial figures.
Some of his allies have suggested his activities led a cartel hit squad to take him out, but Gilbert police say everything points to a domestic dispute that led him to turn to part of his extensive collection of guns.
J.T. Ready was a member of the National Socialist Party, there is video of Ready speaking at rallies in which you can clearly see Swastikas on the flags behind him.
At one rally he said, "We have a clean, healthy, white America once again; a place where European Americans have a chance to survive. We are armed. We are free and if you want our nation, you must take them from us."
Later, Reddy officially broke with the National Socialists, and formed his own armed border militia, known as the U.S. Border Guard, or Ready's Rangers.
When he died, Ready was running for Pinal County Sheriff. That campaign's Facebook suggested Ready's death was not murder suicide but a hit by the cartels.
Glenn Spencer leads a controversial civilian group called American Border Patrol. He says he uses electronics and aircraft to watch the border and wants no part of armed groups like Ready's. We interviewed him by Skype.
KGUN9 reporter Craig Smith said to Spencer:"When we talked on the phone a little earlier you mentioned that in an earlier case quite a few years ago you heard about Mr. Ready and his reputation and said 'I don't want him on my ranch,' is that correct?"
Spencer: "That's correct. In fact someone reminded me here someone said. Glenn you told us years ago, this might have been five years ago you didn't want that guy close to this property."
Jennifer Allen of Southern Border Communities Coalition says Ready's efforts in politics made him an even greater threat.
Craig Smith asked her: "So in one sense, very extreme but in one sense trying to go mainstream?"
Jennifer Allen: "Absolutely and that is also why he has been so incredibly dangerous both for just peoples' day to day lives in Arizona but just the wellbeing in politics for our state."
In an example of that political connection, five years ago, Ready was connected to former State Senator Russell Pearce who went on to write Arizona's controversial immigration law SB1070. In a written statement Pearce said Ready seemed a decent man at first, but Pearce broke contact with him as Ready became more radical and Pearce is angry people still try to connect him with Ready.