[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/06/15/art.crime.forde.jpg caption="The Pima County Sheriff's Department in Arizona says Shawna Forde, MAD's executive director, killed a father and his daughter." width=292 height=320]
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/06/15/art.crime.bush.jpg caption="MAD's Operations Director, Jason Eugene Bush, is also facing charges." width=292 height=320]
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/06/15/art.crime.gaxiola.jpg caption="Albert Robert Gaxiola was also allegedly involved in the killings." width=292 height=320]
Shawna Forde considers herself a true patriot, a frontline freedom fighter who claims to protect the country by guarding against illegal immigrants.
Forde is the Executive Director of the Minuteman American Defense. According to the Washington State organization's mission statement, the Minuteman American Defense (MAD) helps secure America's borders "against unlawful and unauthorized entry by all individuals.
Serving as MAD's Operations Director is Jason Eugene Bush. Bush, who goes by the name "Gunny," paints a stark picture of the stakes at play. On the group's web site, he writes in capital letters "THIS IS MY COUNTRY. THIS IS YOUR COUNTRY. DEFEND IT OR LOSE IT. PERIOD."
To their followers, Forde and Bush are leaders and crusaders. But to the police, they are killers, extremely violent predators who took the lives of a father and his young child.
The Pima County Sheriff's Department in Arizona says Forde, Bush and an associate of Forde's, Albert Robert Gaxiola, killed 29-year-old Raul Flores and his 9-year-old daughter, Brisenia Flores on May 30th.
Authorities believe the three suspects used deception to enter the Flores home in the town of Arivaca. Deputy Dawn M. Barkman, the Public Information Officer for the Pima County Sheriff's Department says they "apparently forced their way into the house posing as law enforcement."
The suspects allegedly shot Raul and Brisenia Flores to death. They also are accused of wounding a third victim, described as an adult female. Deputy Barkman said the woman who survived a gunshot wound, engaged in a shootout with one of the suspects while she was on the phone with a 911 operator.
Forde, Bush and Gaxiola are charged with two counts of first degree murder, one count first-degree burglary, and one count of aggravated assault. Authorities say two possible motives have emerged. In a release to the media, the Pima Sheriff's Office stated that detectives "believe the killings to be premeditated and the group entered the residence with the intention of stealing money and drugs.
In a statement posted on its web site, the Minuteman American Defense said "we wish to offer our deepest regrets to the Flores family of Arivaca, Arizona for the loss of their loved ones by this terrible event. MAD will will cooperate totally and fully with any and all Law Enforcement agencies and the appropriate judicial system to bring this most terrifying event to a close."
A heading titled "Shawna's Corner" also appears on the MAD web site. It offers musings and interviews with her. In one entry, she writes, referring to herself, saying, "there is a new white girl in town this one is not afraid and will not tolerate this not while I'm on post. We can all live in fear or we stand strong and tall and look the criminals in the eye and say "No more" that is what I choose to do I did not get involved in this movement to be a wall flower and as most of you know me you know I'm a hands on kind of gal."
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