A police officer stands outside a house where five people, including a toddler,… (Michael Schennum / Arizona…)
Five people were found shot to death, including a toddler, at a house in the Phoenix suburb of Gilbert on Wednesday afternoon.
Police initially described the incident as a murder-suicide but later backed away from that characterization. Gilbert Police Sgt. Bill Balafas told The Times that police had responded to reports of a domestic dispute and shots fired. When officers arrived, he said, they found four bodies and a mortally wounded young girl. The child died later at a local hospital, he said.
Balafas said officers believe the deaths came as a result of domestic violence. Two handguns and a shotgun were found inside the home, he said.
Investigators were interviewing a witness, he said, but refused to elaborate.
Authorities have not released the identities of the dead.
But the Arizona Republic, citing anonymous sources, reported that Jason “J.T.” Ready, described as a white supremacist, was among them. The other victims included another man, two women and a 1- or 2-year-old girl, the newspaper reported.
Ready had been linked to the National Socialist Movement and the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center's website.
Ready had unsuccessfully run for public office several times, usually as a Republican but at least once as a Democrat. He advocated deadly force to stop illegal immigrants, the law center says on its website.
"I firmly believe in having a minefield across the border," he says in one video. "This is 100% effective."
Neighbors told Phoenix’s 12 News that Ready was the boyfriend of one of the residents at the Gilbert home.
Because the shooting occurred just after 1 p.m., authorities put nearby elementary and middle schools on lockdown for more than an hour.
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