By Miriam Raftery
Exclusive: An East County Magazine special report
June 14, 2009 (San Diego’s East County) – Shawna Forde, leader of Minutemen America Defense(MAD), has been arrested along with two men and charged with double homicide in a home invasion. The victims included a nine-year-old girl and her father. Forde has recently visited Camp Vigilance, a high-desert training camp operated by Minuteman Civil Defense near Boulevard in San Diego’s East County in 2008, East County Magazine has learned. A second suspect arrested also has ties to Minutemen Civil Defense Corps (MCDC), which operates a Minutemen training facility in East County.photo: Forde in East County, courtesy of Campo Minutemen.
Forde was arrested along with Albert Robert Gaxiola and Jason Eugene Bush in Pima County, Arizona. All three have been charged with two-counts of first-degree murder and other charges in a home invasion that left Raul Junior Flores and his 9-year-old daughter, Brisenia Flores, dead. The trio reportedly dressed as law enforcement officers, gunning down Flores and his daughter. The home invasion was reportedly drug related and the motive may have include financial gain. “Forde had previously discussed robbing drug traffickers linked to Mexican organized crime, her mother said,” according to the Everett Herald in Washington State, where Forde had recently resided.
Pima County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman deputy Dawn Barkman said Forde "was the ringleader of this group and of this attack. She made the order for Bush to go in and shoot these individuals…."She's just truly an evil person to do something like this.” Forde and the others charged have denied guilt.
“These Minutemen are violent vigilante groups as I’ve always said, including groups of people in East County,” Enrique Morones, founder of Border Angels in San Diego and a leader in the immigrant rights movement, told East County Magazine. ”Their motivation is hate,” he said, warning that hate speech and vigilantism can lead to violence and in this case, the tragic death of an innocent child. “They have been in the Campo area and at meetings; these are part of the racist vigilante Minutemen. There are also some neo-Nazis in East County now,” he added. “The authorities have been advised.”
Local Minutemen group have long claimed to oppose violence, while supporting vigilante citizen patrols of the Border.
“It is, of course shocking and horrible, especially with the little child being involved. It takes someone truly monstrous to harm a child,” Campo Minutemen spokesperson Deborah Craig informed ECM in an e-mail interview. She later e-mailed her remarks to a Minutemen list-serve. “We have not heard the men involved, however, we have met Shawna Forde,” she revealed. “The various media reports seem to be inaccurate with regard to her involvement with other groups.”
Minutemen Civil Defense Corps is based in Arizona and was founded by Chris Simcox, who left when he began his run for United States Senate.“Minutemen Civil Defense Corps (MCDC) maintains a facility in California near Boulevard known as Camp Vigilance," Craig said. "In August of 2008, Shawna Forde came [to] the border at Campo, CA and contacted Campo Minuteman Britt Craig. She did not make any comments to indicate she was unstable or violent,” Forde recalled. “She had a Minutemen Civil Defense Corps badge so she presumably had been vetted by the group. Minutemen Civil Defense Corps charges a fee and does a background check.”
According to Deborah Craig, Forde and Campo Minutemen leader Britt Craig went to Camp Vigilance in separate vehicles “where she was given full access by the caretaker. She purchased a bullet proof vest from the caretaker and indicated she planned to spend the night,” Deborah Craig added. “She indicated that she primarily did her border watching in AZ , that she had her own group, Minutemen American Defense, and we did not hear [from] her directly again.”
Bush, who goes by the nickname “Gunny”, serves as operations director of MAD according to the group’s website, however the Associated Press reports, he has “recently been living in Arizona and was once associated with the better known and larger Minutemen Civil Defense Corps” which operates Camp Vigilante in East County.
Congressmen Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine) took $10,000 in political contributions from The Minuteman PAC, the political action arm of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps (MCDC). The MCDC is described as “a nativist extremist group whose members conduct armed patrols of the border” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization which tracks hate crimes and hate-related groups nationwide.
San Diego Minutemen (SDMM) founder Jeff Schwilk also denounced the murders. A notice on the SDMM website states that “SDMM and other groups have sent and posted numerous warnings about Forde starting in January when she was involved in several violent, suspicious crimes in Everett, WA. She also has been openly advocating violence and `taking it to the drug cartels’ for many months now. All border acativists have been strongly warned to stay away from her and her small “Minuteman American Defense border watch group,” said the statement, which adds that SDMM “alerted law enforcement to the dangers we believed she posed, especially on the Arizona and California border.”
SDMM is described by the SPLC as a “particularly virulent nativist group…making a thuggish name for itself.” However the SDMM website posting criticizes national Minutemen founder Jim Gilchrist for failing to distance himself from Forde.
Today, however, Gilchrist clarified that his past support of Forde has ended, the Hearld reported. "Am I going to come to her support at this time? Of course not. How can I?" Gilchrist said, according to the Herald.
Gilchrist co-founded the California-based Minuteman Project, along with Simcox. After the pair spilt up, Simcox went on to found the MCDC in December 2005. Gilchrist’s Minutemen Project has distributed white supremacist literature and is considered a racist nativist group, according to the SPLC.
Forde has a checkered history that included arrests for prostitution and juvenile crimes, the Herald has reported. In addition, the newspaper reported, “More recently, Forde has been at the center of a bizarre string of violence that began Dec. 22 when her ex-husband was shot in an ambush attack at his Everett home. A week later, Forde called the newspaper to report being beaten and raped by strangers at the same house.” She claimed the violence was retaliation for her activities targeting criminal groups operating on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border. She posted photographs on her Web page displaying what she said were rape-related injuries,, but was widely suspected of staging a hoax.
“If you look at her history closely, and you know what we know, she is at best a pyschopath," Sheriff Dupnik said of Forde during a press conference. “To just kill a 9-year old girl because she could be a potential witness, to me, is one of the most despicable acts I have ever heard of.”
The murders of Flores and his daughter allegedly committed by Minutemen, coming in the same week as a white supremacist opened fire in a Holocaust museum and a pro-life activist gunned down an abortion doctor, raises anew the question of whether hate speech is giving rise to violence. One Internet poster, commenting on the reported murder of Flores and his daughter by Minutemen leaders, concluded, "This is terrorism."
Shawnda Ford convicted of murder.
The Minutewoman was found guilty in an Arizona court.
That is really a terrifying and sad incident which would really make the family feel so bad. The crime is really a big one that the suspect should be sentenced for longer years. Somehow, yes this could be part of terrorism in order for the people to be alarmed and always conscious about their surroundings.
LA POLICIA ESTO ES LO QUE PASA CON
i heard about the film, but its still going throgh the legal system
It sounds like Forde should have been on the sex offenders register, that way they could of kept track of him. bring back the death penalty i say.
This is a tragedy. Why would someone what to kill someone. Why don't they try to solve it peacefully. Well, that is human nature.
Minutemen BPAux murderers?
Well, this link has pictures of the minutemen training at the border with machine guns. So check them out and draw your own conclusions about their violent tendancies.
"According to Deborah Craig,
"According to Deborah Craig, Forde and Campo Minutemen leader Britt Craig went to Camp Vigilance in separate vehicles “where she was given full access by the caretaker. She purchased a bullet proof vest from the caretaker and indicated she planned to spend the night,” Deborah Craig added."
What is this? Selling bullet proof vests? Isn't that illegal?
MINUTEMEN LEADER ARRESTED
he person who wrote acknowledges that Shawa, at one time, did have an MCDC card which contradicts earlier statements made by the AZ director, Al Garza that she had no connects to the group. The care taker willingly showed them around and sold Shawna a bullet proof vest. My husband's dog got into a "tussle" with caretaker's dog. At no time was my husband advised that any area was restricted. She did not have a "group" with her.
If the care taker was called, it was after my husband left. At no time was my husband ever asked to leave.
I was accurate to the best of my ability as to who controls the property at Camp Vigilance. Once when I was there, I was told MCDC leased the property. "Border Axillary" which has no connect to the Border Patrol, seems to operate there. As far back as I can remember one could access the facility with an MDCD ID card.
I am not sure what qualifies as a "nativist" group, but most Anti Illegal Immigration groups are just against illegal immigration and not white supremacists or racists. The rank and file of of Minutemen tend to be conservative and support Israel and as much as white supremacists hate people of color, they really hate the Jews. In fact, in the early days when white supremacists used to show up, we would tell them that one of the leaders was Jewish and they would not come back.
I don;t understand the fixation some of these guys have with Enrique Morones. It is the US Government they should be mad at for keeping the border open.
We stand by our story; + responses by those maligned below.
Deborah Craig, wife of Campo Minutemen leader Britt Craig, has sent me an e-mail confirming that Forde used a valid ID and refutes other points posted by some here:
"There is NO evidence that the ID was fake. I posted pictures and a report of the incident after it happened. (The same pictures I sent you.) I was asked to remove the pictures from the internet as not to alert "opposition" people to the details of the site. No one ever said she was not allowed to be there. No one said she had a fake ID. Some people from AZ have told me that she absolutely had a valid MCDC ID card.
I represented Camp Vigilance to the best of my knowledge...There is a group, "Border Auxiliary" that works out of Camp Vigilance that seems to be somehow connected with MCDC. MCDC has stated that they lease the land there. Anyone with a valid MCDC ID card can supposedly access the property."
She added that her husband was never asked to leave Camp Vigilance, as a poster suggested. Deborah Britt's e-mail concluded, "A nine year old girl was murdered and people are trying to politicize it, not to mention harassing, and intimidating someone who is trying to provide accurate information. It is pretty disturbing, really."
I also asked Morones about claims made below regarding an incident allegedly involving his group, Border Angels. Morones said the poster is mistaken and that he believes that the poster has his organization mistaken for another group.
Enrique is a moron!
“These Minutemen are violent vigilante groups as I’ve always said, including groups of people in East County,” Enrique Morones
Leave it to Enrique Morones to attack all Minutemen!
Most Minutemen and woman are law abiding citizens.
And why isn't Enriquie Morones mentioning all the American
citizens illegal aliens are murdering and killing nearly every day?
Reply to article
Your claims to have factual information are NOT firsthand reporting, you have no actual factual firsthand knowledge of any of the information in your so called article and I will give you examples.
1. Your claim that Frode attended training at Camp Vigilance is totally incorrect, I personally have checked signin sheets back to Jan 1, 2008 and she never was on the property in any fashion other that for 1 hour in August 08.
2. Your claim that Camp Vigilance is operated by Minuteman Civil Defense is also incorrect, it is NOT operated by that group, factually incorrect again. It is operated by Minuteman California Corp Inc. (Not at all associated with MCDC)
3. Your comment from Enrique Morones from Border Angels should also include his group. Ask him why his group failed to report a young missing woman and child in East county of Feb 2008 to the local & BP officials who was thought to be missing in the freezing cold of winter! Ask Morones why his group went to Mexico looking for this pair for a week and then came back to the US without letting anyone in the rescue area assist! Ask Mr. Morones WHO actually assisted him in a search for these two, ask him! Ask Mr. Morones about who took his 7 people into the mountains of the East county gun club area for over 7 hours looking for these two. Then ask him if that group was Violent!
4. Again you claim that MCDC maintains the Camp Vigilance facility, this also is incorrect, I am one of the camp leadership people, MCDC has never had a part in any leadership of Camp Vigilance Factually incorrect again. MCDC along with other groups operate out of Camp Vigilance.
5. More second hand hear say about Britt and Shana Forde going to Camp Vigilance. In August 2008 at roughly 2:00PM her group went to Camp Vigilance, presented a MCDC ID card, and our (New) caretaker let them onto the property. (That card was false identification, as it expired when MCDC let her go in 2006, so she presented false documents to gain access to the facility) . He showed them around, and they were able to convience him to even open our communications center. Upon doing this they procedded to take photos of restructed areas. At approximatley 3:00PM I got a call from the caretaker letting me know who was on the property, he was told to immediatley remove them from the property as they were not, nor never were or have been welcome at Camp Vigilance at which time he did so.
6. Your claim that SPLC classifies MCDC as a “nativist extreamist group” is also incorrect. MCDC is full of people of color, people from countries around the globe, how on earth could that be “nativist”? Anyway everone with half a brain knows that the SPLC is so far out there they don't even register any longer as a creditable source for valid information.
If these people are found to be guilty of committing this hanis crime they will get just what is coming to them, and we stand behing any decission like that, criminals must be punnished! Every criminal, no exceptions.
As for Minutemen being some type of supremacist group, ask Ted Hays if we are that, he is one of us also. Ask Ted if he ever heard anything racist from us.
Now, please do all your readers a favor and check your facts, check them more than once, Journalism is a skill, a art form strive to be the best. Re-reporting is for people with no skills.
Shawna was a proud member of the BPAUX. This guy was a drug dealer and deserved it. Too bad about the kid though.
No you are again spinning information BPAUX
Your name gives you away again Imposter! We had your account on YouTube cancelled because you slandered the Border Patrol Auxiliary, and you are here again trying to do it again!
Forde was never a member of BPAUX!
Now go back to the hole you crawled out from.
Dismiss this internet mole BPAUX MCDC
BPAUXMCDC...This guy is obviously an immature psychopathic liar. Sounds like a little kid the way he/she boasts and writes things that are half or totally untrue and down right silly. He challenged me to come to the border where he was going to kick my tail off the border. I went for the pleasure of arresting him and having him dragged away in cuffs, signing as arresting officer, and seeing to it he does some time. A no show! Only the always faithful, Brit Craig, was doing his duty from Campo to the Imperial county line. Not one other Minuteman, period!
So tired of punks like this Goonie and Enrique Morones. I had papers on Morones but apparently the court tipped him off as I went to serve him the day i got them and have never seen him in Campo since, and was too lazy to hunt him in San Diego area.
Of course, SPLC has Chris Simcox and myself listed as Nativists, whatever that is? Neither Chris or I are racists. Chris was married to a black lady and had a kid together. Was fine with legal AZ Hispanic residence and business owners in 2004-2005 when I ran with him. But MCDC is considered Nativist by the Communist front organization SPLC. At the time Chris was CHD and working with MMP, and then he stole the Minuteman label and became MCDC replacing Civil Homeland Defense. After that Gilchrist MMP MinuteMan Project and I spoke and it was agreed that anyone could use Minuteman or Minutemen. He asked me 5 times to use it in California and since me troops unknown to Chris Simcox. I also RECONNED CA for Chris even tho I was angry he ripped off Jim Gilchrist and others. Chris, of course, went into high gear defrauding everyone he could into believing he was the HQ for all Minutemen. Even collected money from my people saying all must pay him to work for me. Fraud! Oh Well, Jesus will handle that in the end. Most still don't get that but us Originals were there when Chris embezzled $150,000 to start his money sucking machine. Minuteman is a great idea and name but sadly Chris is the scum under the lid of everyones toilet, the manure in the garden but out of it there are alot of good men and women that really are patriots and Minutemn standing by to do the dirty for "We The People." The original MMP AZ 2005 was not racist. I was personally in-charge of keeping it clean, which cost me in attempts on my life and character, but such is the cost of war of right behavior.
The scum always rising to the top.
James L Chase
response to article
This woman and her people are criminals, let the courts and the legal system deal with them! And we hope that they will!