PHOENIX — Two of three people arrested in a southern Arizona home invasion that left a little girl and her father dead had connections to a Washington state anti-illegal immigration group that conducts border watch activities in Arizona.
Jason Eugene Bush, 34, Shawna Forde, 41, and Albert Robert Gaxiola, 42, have been charged with two counts each of first-degree murder and other charges, said Sheriff Clarence Dupnik of Pima County, Ariz.
The trio are alleged to have dressed as law enforcement officers and forced their way into a home about 10 miles north of the Mexican border in rural Arivaca on May 30, wounding a woman and fatally shooting her husband and their 9-year-old daughter. Their motive was financial, Dupnik said.
"The husband who was murdered has a history of being involved in narcotics and there was an anticipation that there would be a considerable amount of cash at this location as well as the possibility of drugs," Dupnik said.
Forde is the leader of Minutemen American Defense, a small border watch group, and Bush goes by the nickname "Gunny" and is its operations director, according to the group's Web site. She is from Everett, Wash., has recently been living in Arizona and was once associated with the better known and larger Minuteman Civil Defense Corps.
A statement attributed to officers of Forde's group and posted on its Web site on Saturday extended condolences to the victims' families and said the group doesn't condone such acts and will cooperate with law enforcement.
"This is not what Minutemen do," said member Chuck Stonex, who responded to an e-mail from The Associated Press sent through the Web site. "Minutemen observe, document and report. This is nothing more than a cold-hearted criminal act, and that is all we want to say."
The assailants planned to leave no one alive, Dupnik said at a press conference in Tucson on Friday. He said Forde was the ringleader.