Posted: August 6, 2003
On August 2, 2003, anti-immigration ideologue Glenn Spencer was arrested by police in Cochise County, Arizona, on various weapons charges stemming from a shooting incident the previous night near his home.
An off-duty sheriff's deputy, who lives close to Spencer, called 911 after hearing gunshots at around 9:30 p.m, August 1. The deputy's neighbor reported that she also heard gunshots and that she found bullets holes in her garage.
Authorities visited Spencer's home for questioning, but he was not there. A sheriff's department spokeswoman said that Spencer was home the following day when officers paid a second visit and that they found empty shell casings on his property.
Spencer is charged with four felonies, including three counts of disorderly conduct with a weapon and one count of endangerment, as well as a misdemeanor count of criminal damage.
Spencer, 66, heads American Patrol, a virulently anti-Hispanic group that uses high-tech equipment to monitor the flow of illegal immigrants across the Arizona border. For more than a decade, Spencer, who blends anti-Mexican bigotry with anti-government rhetoric, has warned of a plan by Mexicans to "invade" and "conquer" the Southwestern United States. Spencer moved his group from California to Sierra Vista, Arizona, in August 2002 in order to be, in Spencer's words, "on the front lines."
While Spencer occasionally tries to downplay his extremist message, racist and anti-government extremist groups across the country have embraced his rhetoric. Spencer himself has appeared at events sponsored by white supremacists and racists.
For more information on American Patrol and other extreme anti-immigration groups seeking to capitalize on the wave of anti-Mexican rhetoric in Arizona see ADL's report "Border Disputes: Armed Vigilantes in Arizona."