On Friday night, I received several emails from friends -- some of whom I served with in the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps back in October 2005 on the border near Hachita NM -- about this story from the Everett, Washington Herald.
Anti-immigration activist from Everett arrested in Arizona killings
By Scott North and Jackson Holtz, Herald Writers
TUCSON, Ariz. -- An outspoken anti-immigration activist who was at the center of a series of violent crimes in Everett earlier this year has been arrested in Arizona in connection with the home-invasion killings of a man and his 9-year-old daughter.
Shawna Forde, 41, is charged with two-counts of first-degree murder, one count of first-degree burglary and one count of aggravated assault, according to a press release from the Pima County Sheriff's Department in Arizona.
The killings were believed to be premeditated. Forde and the two others allegedly went into the home intending to steal money and drugs, the press release said.
Raul Flores, 29, and his 9-year-old daughter, Brisenia, were killed when a group of armed people, including a woman, forced their way into the home on May 30, officials said.
The child's mother traded gunfire with the attackers. She survived, but remains hospitalized with gunshot wounds.
Forde was arrested without incident in Sierra Vista, a few miles from the Mexican border.
The shootings occurred in Arivaca, about 60 miles south of Tucson and 10 miles north of the Mexican border.
It is in an area where Forde and her group, Minuteman American Defense, have been operating. Forde has said her group conducts desert surveillance and undercover investigations aimed at curbing illegal immigration and drug smuggling.
Later, I was fowarded this link to the Green Valley, Arizona News with more detail.
Suspect in murders headed Minuteman group
By Daniel Newhauser and Dan Shearer, Green Valley News
Published: Friday, June 12, 2009
Two of the three people arrested in connection with the May 30 murders of an Arivaca man and his daughter headed up a splinter Minuteman group, and were looking for drugs and money to fund their efforts to keep illegal immigrants and drug runners out of the country, sheriff’s officials said.
Jason Eugene Bush, 34, was arrested Thursday in Kingman; Shawna Forde, 41, was arrested Friday south of Sierra Vista; and Albert Robert Gaxiola, 42, was arrested Friday afternoon in Tucson.
All three have been charged with two counts of first-degree murder, one count of first-degree burglary and one count of aggravated assault in connection with the murders of Raul Flores and his 9-year-old daughter, Brisenia. Flores’ wife was shot during the incident but managed to shoot one of the intruders.
“No, I did not do it,” Forde said as she was led out of the Pima County Sheriff’s Office in front of reporters Friday afternoon.
Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said Forde was “still trying up until today to get together a large amount of money to further sophisticate the type of operation she’s interested in.”
“She’s, at best, a psychopath,” he said.
Gaxiola, Bush, Forde
Officials said Forde is associated with the Minutemen American Defense group and that Bush and Gaxiola, who is from Arivaca, are associates of Forde. The group is not associated with the national, 12,000-member Minutemen Civil Defense Corps, though Forde shared the stage with Minuteman Project co-founder Jim Gilchrist at a 2007 Elks Lodge event in Washington, according to a Southern Poverty Law Center profile on her.
But her association didn’t last long, and within Minuteman group circles Forde is controversial, according to a February article from the Daily Herald in Everett, Wash.
Hal Washburn, vetting officer for Washington state chapter of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, said Forde was encouraged to leave the group over questions about honesty and her inability to follow orders, according to the story. San Diego Minutemen lists Forde among people they won’t work with, calling her “unstable.”
Forde is listed as executive director of the Minutemen American Defense on the group’s Web site, which says its mission is, “To secure the U.S. Borders, Coastal boundaries and constitution against unlawful and unauthorized entry by all individuals, contraband and foreign military. To also increase the awareness of the devastation caused by illegal immigration to our state and country.”
Bush was listed as “operations director,” and is known as “Gunny.”
Dupnik said Bush was the shooter, under orders from Forde, and called the murders “one of the most despicable crimes that anyone in our organization has ever been associated with.”
Dupnik called it “a planned home invasion where the plan was to kill all the people inside this trailer because they might be witnesses, and rob them.” He said there are other people involved and the investigation continues.
PCSO Lt. Michael O’Connor called the killings an “assassination,” and said the shooters were looking for Flores’ other daughter, who was not at home.
Dupnik also said Raul Flores was “a large dealer” who likely had connections to large Mexican drug cartels and “has a history of being involved in narcotics.”
News of the arrests quickly spread through Arivaca on Friday evening. One woman said she knew Gaxiola and occasionally partied with him. The house where Raul and Brisenia were slain was dark, and neighbors had locked their gates as night fell.
A message from Forde on her Web site reads, “I would like to let everyone know that we are in full operation we have people coming from Florida and other parts of the country to assist in gathering exclusive footage of drug cartel drug smuggling and humane trafficking. Our point is to let the world know that we as American citizens have a choice and a responsibility to those who have stained the ground red for our freedoms.”
Bush was shot during the incident and was taken to a Kingman hospital after his arrest. He was also being held on a probation violation warrant out of Washington state for auto theft.
Scott Anderson, who belongs to the 80-member Green Valley chapter of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, said he has never heard of Forde or her group, but knows others will associate his group with theirs.
“I figured something like this was going to happen,” he said Friday evening. “We’re all going to be painted with the same broad brush.”
Anderson said anybody joining the national group must undergo a background check, an interview with a national officer and go through four to six hours of training.
“Our rules are very strict,” he said. “We’re doing everything above-board according to the law.”
Even before the arrests Anderson knew the Minutemen had an image problem with some people.
“I wish people could see our standard operating procedures,” he said. “We don’t impede the movement of anybody — we give them (illegal immigrants) water and medical aid just like the Samaritans do, but then we call the Border Patrol. We can’t convince people of that.”
I met Shawna one weekend a couple of years ago at a Patriots Border Alliance conference in St. Louis. She struck me immediately as being someone who was not too tightly wrapped -- a potential loose cannon. I commented on this at the time to several folks, and they agreed. The name of her group was Minuteman American Defense, or by acronym, M.A.D. She was called "the MAD woman."
Yet no one at the conference, I think, could have predicted the cascade of events that began in December 2008 with the shooting of her estranged husband John (he had filed for divorce in October yet still livd in the same house) by unidentified intruders. Although he lived, the details were murky and police suspicion focused on Shawna. No charges were ever brought. Then came a string of incidents where Shawna was allegedly raped and beaten by Mexicans, then later, shot.
Her claim at the time was that she and her husband had been the victim of drug cartel retribution for her border activities. I was immediately skeptical because if she had excited the interest of the cartels or MS-13, well, they are not known for doing things in little slices.
She has been shunned and denounced by almost the entire spectrum of immigration activists and border watch groups (save Jim Gilchrist and Laine Lawless, who embraced her and defended her). No one, though, thought she was capable of premeditated murder. Shows what we knew.
Some clues to her bizarre behavior can be found in an earlier Herald story here entitled Trouble finds Shawna Forde: Border activist at center of recent spate of violence.
In the coming days, you are going to hear a lot about this murderous loon. You will not hear that she was shunned and denounced. You will hear, courtesy of ADL, SPLC and their willing tools in the media the words "Minuteman," "vigilante," "nativist," amd "right-wing extremist" all in the same breath with "child murderer."
This will be pointed to, once again, as evidence the Homeland Security report was right. Thus proceeds the "Narrative of 1995."
The grim certainty that can be taken from this tragic murder of an innocent nine-year old girl is that regardless of how the trial of these three turns out, they are all, at this moment, dead folks walking. The cartels do not forget and they do not forgive.
But no matter the date of Shawna Forde's death, we will all be tarred with the broad brush of her sorry life, bad choices and evil deeds. Our enemies will use it as an excuse for our repression. That too is a grim certainty.