MARICOPA, AZ --- Watchdog groups like the Anti-Defamation League have had JT Ready on their radars for years.
"Even though JT didn't have a prior record of domestic violence, I think it's safe to say that JT has long embraced the use of violence as a problem solver," said Bill Straus of the Phoenix ADL.
Ready is seen in videos carrying machine guns, bragging about grenades, and threatening to kill drug smugglers.
Still, his friend, Harry Hughes, who leads the regional chapter of the Neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement, says their work was non-violent.
"We advocate for white people," Hughes said from his home in rural Pinal County on Thursday.
Hughes says word of the murders stunned him, especially when he heard JT Ready is suspected of killing a young child.
"These events are completely out of character for JT Ready. He's one of the last people who'd hurt a child."
Hughes told 3TV he's been working with Ready on his campaign for Pinal County Sheriff, and says he seemed upbeat and optimistic.
"I hadn't seen a change in his behavior which would've indicated problems in his personal life. Everything seemed fine," said Hughes.
Ready moved in with Hughes for a while. The two spent countless hours patrolling the desert border region. One of the murder victims, Jim "Jambob" Hiott, went along on some of those patrols.
Shortly after the murders on Wednesday, Hughes says FBI agents showed up at his home to question him.