Cohort of Shawna Forde allegedly confesses to Arizona killings

An Arizona newspaper is reporting that the alleged gunman in a fatal raid reportedly led by an Everett woman has confessed to the killings.

Jason Eugene Bush admitted the May 30 killings in Arivaca, Ariz., the day he was arrested near Kingman, Ariz., the Green Valley News and Sun reported Tuesday.

The newspaper quoted Pima County sheriff’s Lt. Michael O’Connor as saying that Bush wasn’t offered a plea deal when he agreed to speak with detectives June 11.

“He murdered a little girl,” the newspaper quoted O’Connor as saying. “I think it was hard on him.”

Bush’s co-defendant in the killings is Shawna Forde, 41, of Everett, leader of the border-watch group Minutemen American Defense.

Forde, Bush, 34, and Albert Gaxiola, 42, all are jailed in Tucson, Ariz., on murder charges. They all have been indicted in the deaths of Raul Flores, 29, and his daughter Brisenia, 9.

The father and daughter were killed when camouflage-wearing intruders took over their home while posing as law officers and then suddenly opened fire. The girl’s mother also was shot, but she managed to arm herself with a handgun and drive the attackers away after a gun battle.

Pima County, Ariz., officials have alleged that Forde orchestrated the raid in hopes of finding cash and drugs in Flores’ home. Forde allegedly planned on using the robbery to raise money for her group, which originally was formed to draw attention to illegal immigration and drug trafficking at the border between the U.S. and Mexico.

Forde was a suspect within hours of the killings after tipsters led investigators to Gaxiola’s home, according to previously released police reports.

Flores’ wife had described her attackers, including a woman who matched Forde’s description, and a tall, hulking man with his face painted black.

Bush stands 6 feet, 5 inches. He was arrested near Kingman, Ariz. Forde and Gaxiola were arrested the next day.

Bush called himself “Gunny” and reportedly told others in Forde’s Minutemen American Defense group that he was a decorated Special Forces veteran who’d survived combat in Somalia, Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq. Pentagon officials say there is no record that Bush served in the military. Instead, court records reveal Bush spent much of his teens and early 20s behind bars. He was locked up in Idaho, Kansas and Washington state, where he served nearly five years in prison for a variety of charges, including auto theft and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Bush also is charged with second-degree murder for a 1997 stabbing death of a Wenatchee man. He was connected to the killing earlier this year based on genetic tests on evidence collected nearly a dozen years ago.

Before he went to prison in the late 1990s, Bush had worked as a welder, according to court papers.

He apparently was looking for engineering management jobs earlier this year, according to resumes and cover letters posted online using Bush’s e-mail address.

The cover letter features a photograph of Bush in a construction hard hat and suggests that he is an engineering manager, project manager, surveyor and draftsman.

“In my career I have developed a management technique and a set of internal controls that drive others to excel in the workplace,” the cover letter said. “I have a history of cutting costs, trimming fat and smoothing the rough edges of my departments. I also have a history of not only saving money but generating it as well.”

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