Report Details Mass Shooting In Ariz.
GILBERT, Ariz. (AP)— All four people killed by a former neo-Nazi before he turned the gun on himself this month in a quiet Phoenix suburb were shot in the head, according to a police report released Tuesday that paints the clearest picture yet of the gruesome crime scene.
Various Gilbert police officers and detectives wrote about what they saw at the home where they believe Jason Todd “JT” Ready, 39, shot and killed his girlfriend and three others, including a toddler, before killing himself May 2 in a domestic dispute.
Ready was the leader of the U.S. Border Guard, a group of armed civilians that patrols Arizona’s desert for illegal immigrants and drug smugglers.
When authorities first arrived at the home, they saw the bodies of Ready, wearing only tan shorts and boots, and another man. Both were dead with pools of blood beneath their heads. A camouflaged gun was near Ready.
When police walked to the home’s open front door, they saw the bodies of Ready’s girlfriend, Lisa Mederos, her daughter and her granddaughter, a 15-month-old named Lilly.
Mederos had been shot twice, once in the face and once in the back of the head, the report said. Police believe she was first shot while on the phone with a 911 dispatcher, and that the bullet also severed one of her fingers.
Mederos and her daughter Amber Mederos were clearly dead. But when officers checked the toddler, they found signs of life, the report said.
The girl, who was wearing gold earrings and a denim jumper, had been shot once in the area near her left temple and cheek.
“I could see brain tissue and a pooling of blood next to her head,” wrote Officer Veronica Roden. “Her arms and neck were still warm to the touch, and we both detected a pulse on the inner part of her upper left arm.”
Gilbert firefighters strapped the girl to a backboard and rushed her to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
When officers went farther into the home, they heard a woman crying in a locked bedroom and kicked in the door. They found Lisa Mederos’ 19-year-old daughter, Brittany Mederos. Because police had to clear the home, they forced Brittany Mederos to walk by the bodies of her mother and sister, and her dying niece.
“Upon entering the hallway, the female observed the bodies on the floor at which time she began crying hysterically,” wrote Officer Chris Zamora. “I advised the female to ‘Just keep walking’ as I continued to escort her, stepping over the body of at least one of the female victims and around the other two victims.”
Another officer described having to tell Lilly’s father, Jess Boggs, that the toddler was dead. He arrived after the police tape had been put up around the home and surrounding houses.
“Jess showed me a picture of Lilly on his cellphone,” wrote Officer Michael Cluff. “I immediately recognized the child as the same child I had observed within the house. Jess seemed to recognize my reaction to seeing the picture, and he began to wail and cry.”
The other victim was Amber Mederos’ boyfriend, Jim Hiott. Ready lived at the home with Lisa Mederos and Brittany Mederos.
One of Amber Mederos’ friends, Cassandra Olivier, told police she thought Ready was angry because Amber Mederos, Hiott and their daughter wanted to move back into Lisa Mederos’ home. Olivier said Ready was the one to make them move out in the first place when he moved into the house six months before the shooting.
The FBI already was conducting a domestic terrorism investigation of Ready at the time of the shootings. The probe dated to when Ready was a member of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement and continued into his participation with the border group, The Arizona Republic reported.
Search warrant affidavits obtained by the Republic show federal agents seized numerous computers and munitions from Ready’s home. The warrants imply weapons seized at the murder scene were stolen from the U.S. military. Focus on those weapons could trigger a larger federal investigation.
Documents connected to the search warrant show FBI agents seized two computer towers and two laptops, correspondence, cellphones, police and Nazi uniforms, white-supremacist propaganda and bank statements.
Agents also seized two assault-style rifles and multiple rounds of ammunition. The reporting FBI agent focused on “approximately two dozen military ordnance/40 millimeter grenades” loaded with explosives, tear gas, buckshot and smoke.
Recordings of two 911 calls released about a week after the killings revealed the horror just before and after the crime.
The first came from Lisa Mederos, who told the operator in a raised voice: “Oh my God. He’s got a gun. No!” before the sounds of two shots.
In another call, a sobbing Brittany Mederos told a dispatcher: “My mom and my niece and my sister are all on the floor. They’re hurt pretty bad.”
She said that just before the shooting, she heard Ready and her mother “fighting and screaming” so she hid under her bed. “I come out and they’re all on the floor and there’s blood,” Brittany Mederos said.
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