ARIZONA

Arizona Hammerskins
A small offshoot of the Hammerskin Nation. In January 2004, federal agents in Chicago arrested three men allegedly attempting to use drugs to purchase illegal automatic weapons. One of those arrested was Bulent “Billy” Arseven, who, according to law enforcement, admitted to being a member of the Aryan Brotherhood and the Arizona Hammerskins. At last report, he was still awaiting trial.

    January 2008: On January 26, 2008, members of the Arizona Hammerskins traveled to Las Vegas, Nevada, to attend a private white power concert, organized by Ross Hack, a prominent Nevada Hammerskin.  Notice of the event was being circulated by Arizona Hammerskin Jimmy “Soda Pop” Miller.  Members came from mainly the southwest region of the United States, to listen to the racist skinhead bands No Tolerance from Texas and White Knuckle Draggers from California.  Over 100 hardcore racist skinheads were in attendance.  During the event, an altercation erupted, and as a result, the victim of the attack was left with brain damage.  The victim was a Hammerskin from Arizona, who was allegedly attacked and hit from behind.  The motive for the attack is still under investigation; however, the suspect in the incident has been apprehended and is awaiting trial.  
Arizona Northern American Skinheads/SS Guardians (ANAS/SSG)
A loosely organized Phoenix-based group founded in September 2002 by Josh Fiedler, previously associated with the National Skinhead Front (see below). The group was formed shortly after Fiedler and other racist skinheads with ties to the National Skinhead Front attended a conference held by the National Alliance in Scottsdale. In March 2003, ANAS/SSG sponsored one of its first events, an “Aryan Barbeque” described as a picnic for “whites only” and held at Cortez Park in North Phoenix. Approximately 25 racist skinheads attended. At one time, ANAS/SSG had approximately 15 members and affiliates. As the result of numerous arrests of members, some mentioned below, the group has essentially become inactive.
    June 2008: A Maricopa County, Arizona, judge sentenced the last of four racist skinhead defendants for their role in the attempted murder of one of their own gang members in 2006. Kelly Ann Harkins, 29, received an 18-year sentence on June 3, 2008, after pleading guilty to attempted first-degree murder.   In January 2006, four members of the Arizona Northern American Skinheads/SS Guardians, a loosely organized racist skinhead group, took Amanda Crow, a 19-year-old recent recruit of the group, into the desert outside Phoenix. The assailants beat her, slit her throat and severed her spinal cord, and left her for dead. Crow was later found by a group of recreational ATV riders who obtained aid for her. She ultimately survived the attack, but remains a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the neck down.  The Anti-Defamation League assisted law enforcement in identifying both the victim and the perpetrators.   In February 2006, police arrested Kelly Ann Harkins of Tucson and Edward Maurice Ware, Jessica Laura Bruner, and Jason Matthew Shakofsky, all from metropolitan Phoenix.  In November 2007, Ware received a life sentence after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit first-degree murder as a class 1 dangerous felony. In May 2008, Bruner, 26, received a 21-year sentence after pleading guilty to attempted first-degree murder as a class 2 felony. That same month, Shakofsky, 28, received a seven and a half year prison term after pleading guilty to hindering prosecution in the first degree as a class 3 felony.

    March 2004: Josh Fiedler, former leader of Arizona Northern American Skinheads/SS Guardians, was arrested for a home invasion. In January 2005, he pleaded guilty to one count of burglary, five counts of kidnapping, and one count of armed robbery and received a 21-year sentence.

    October 2002:A group of racist skinheads with ties to both ANAS/SSG and the National Alliance got involved in a fight with other patrons at a pool hall in north Phoenix. The skinheads then assaulted a 19-year-old man, who was standing outside waiting for a ride, brutally stomping and beating him to death. On May 25, 2007, a Maricopa County judge sentenced white supremacists Samuel Compton, 27, and Christopher Whitley, 25, to 22 and 21 years in prison, respectively, after the two pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.  A third man, Justin LaRue, 29, had previously been sentenced to 16 years in prison.  Compton and Whitley were tape-recorded in telephone calls from the jail laughing about the victim's funeral.

    February 2002: Four racist skinheads, Jeremy Johnson, Jessica Nelson, Patrick Bearup, and Sean Gaines, all affiliates of ANASH/SSG and the National Alliance, allegedly murdered 40-year-old Mark Mathes for stealing $300 from one of them. The four reportedly surrounded Mathes at his home, beat him with their fists, a baseball bat and the butt of a shotgun; then threw the unconscious Mathes in the trunk of a car, and drove to a remote area called “Swastika Mine.” Once there, the skinheads pulled the victim out of the car, stripped him naked, and cut his finger off so one of them could take his ring. According to police, Mathes was then thrown down a ravine and shot. In December 2003, one defendant, Jeremy Johnson, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and agreed to testify against the others. In February 2007, Patrick Bearup was sentenced to death. On September 12, 2008, Jeremy Johnson was sentenced to 14 years in prison, and on October 16, 2008, Jessica Nelson was also sentenced to 14 years in prison.  Sean Gaines is still awaiting trial.
Canyon State Skinheads
A group with members from around the state who affiliate with the Vinlanders Social Club.
    October 2008: On October 30, 33-year-old Toby Gaspard, a member of the Canyon State Skinheads and affiliate of the Vinlanders Social Club, was taken into custody in Oklahoma for an outstanding warrant in the state of Arizona for numerous weapons charges.  He is also wanted for questioning and/or as a suspect, in the stabbing death of Cory Simpson (see above), outside a party in Mesa, Arizona.

    December 2005: Racist skinhead Cory Simpson, a member of the Canyon State Skinheads, was stabbed to death while attending a skinhead party in Mesa. The killer, as yet unknown, is presumed to have been one of the skinheads at the party. It had been less than a year since Simpson was released from jail after serving four years in prison on armed robbery charges.
Deaths Head Hooligans (DHH)
A neo-Nazi skinhead organization based primarily in Arizona, whose main organizer is an adherent of Christian Identity.  The group came on the scene in April 2008, when they organized a BBQ on Hitler’s birthday attended by about 20 racist skinheads.  On September 20, 2008, DHH was the main organizer behind the “Oi Fest,” a white power music concert in Tonopah, Arizona, about 30 miles west of Phoenix. The event was co-sponsored by The White Knights of America, a racist prison gang based primarily in Texas with a chapter in Arizona, and The Sons of Aesir, a small Arizona white supremacist motorcycle club.  White power bands from around the country were featured, including Whitewash, Totenkopf Saints, White Knuckle Driver, and Storm Troop 16.  Approximately 100 racist skinheads attended the event. 

Volksfront
A neo-Nazi skinhead organization based primarily in the Pacific Northwest. In 2003, Brian Zauber and Derek Krueger, skinheads from Washington state, relocated to the Phoenix area and quickly helped establish a new Volksfront chapter there. Several other skinhead affiliates from Washington also moved to Phoenix, and Zauber became the leader of the group in Arizona. Within a month of Zauber's arrival in Phoenix, Volksfront members and affiliates began organizing Aryan Fest 2004, a major regional white power concert and white supremacist event. It was held the weekend of January 31, 2004, at a state park north of Scottsdale. Featured speakers included Tom Metzger of White Aryan Resistance, Billy Roper of White Revolution, and Richard Butler of Aryan Nations. Approximately 250 white supremacists attended the event, including some from as far away as South Africa and Europe. Groups represented included Hammerskin Nation, Imperial Klans of America, the Creativity Movement, National Socialist Movement, National Alliance, Women for Aryan Unity, and Aryan Nations. Despite the event’s success, however, Volksfront has not been active in Arizona since. However, the Zauber brothers, and other local racist skinhead groups, maintain ties to Volksfront nationally.

Unaffiliated Skinheads
    December 2008: Phoenix police officers arrested four racist skinheads in connection with two violent hate crimes. Officers arrested Chad James Kerns, 30; Preston Clay Onion, 23; Doolin Eugene Onion, 20; and Jamie Michael Lyon, 20, all of Phoenix, on December 10, 2008, for their suspected involvement with two hate crime assaults occurring in 2007. According to authorities, the suspects were each charged with two counts of aggravated assault, one count of leading or participating in a criminal street gang and one count of leading or assisting in a criminal street gang. The Anti-Defamation League's Center on Extremism, which monitors racist skinhead activities, was previously familiar with Kerns and assisted police with the investigation. Kerns is a long-time white supremacist, covered with racist tattoos, who has been associated with the racist and anti-Semitic Creativity Movement.

    October 2008:  Racist skinheads may have been behind a possible hate crime assault that occurred over the weekend of October 18 – 19, 2008.   The victim told police that he was approached by three white males who asked him if he was a white supremacist.  When the victim told them he was born in Chile, one of the men allegedly revealed a swastika tattoo, and then the three men began to assault him.  According to the victim, two of the men restrained him, while the third stabbed him in the stomach.  The men then allegedly threw him down and told him to bite a rock.  When the man refused, the attackers kicked the back of his head. The incident appeared to have been an attempted "curbstomping," inspired by the film "American History X." After the men fled, the victim was able to drive himself to the hospital, where he was treated and law enforcement was called.  The victim believes that the men first approached him believing that, due to his physical appearance, he might have also been a white supremacist.

    September 2008: Two Native American men were allegedly assaulted by white supremacists as they walked home shortly after midnight on September 28, 2008, in Phoenix.  According to authorities, several white men and women wearing "white pride" t-shirts confronted the two men as they walked home from a nearby store.  The victims, aged 48 and 24, allege that the attackers stated that they were "taking back the neighborhood," after which point they purportedly assaulted them.  Gunfire erupted and one of the Native American men was shot in the leg.  Phoenix police arrested Jason Carl Merk, 21, for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.  A hate crime enhancement may be forthcoming depending upon the County Attorney's findings.  Law enforcement officials believe that a number of other suspects may have been involved, and that there may be a link to a local white supremacist group.

    July 2007: A Superior Court Judge in Pima County, Arizona, sentenced Blake Joseph Edwards, 32, to 11 years in prison for a racially motivated aggravated assault on an African-American man at a restaurant in 2006. Edwards, who has the words "pecker" and "wood" tattooed on his knees, was also ordered to pay $75,000 in restitution. The term Peckerwood is commonly used to refer to individuals with ties to white power gangs in and out of prison, as well as to actual racist skinhead gangs who have incorporated "peckerwood" into their name. Edwards hit the victim in the face with a beer mug, lacerating his left cornea, and blinding him in that eye. The victim was additionally left with cataracts in both eyes, nerve damage to his face, and spinal injuries, necessitating numerous surgeries. Edwards was heard uttering racial slurs about Mexicans and African-Americans moments before the attack.

    January 2005: Skinhead David Augustine Higdon was sentenced to life without parole for the baseball bat beating murder of a gay man in Tucson in 2002. Higdon had hit the victim with a bat over 50 times. According to prosecutors, he killed the victim to earn red shoelaces.

    October 2003: Clifford Bea Fowler and another man were arrested for an assault on a man and his sister near Duncan, in eastern Arizona. Fowler, tattooed with “skinhead” and “white power,” was said by local law enforcement officers to be involved with prison gangs in Arizona. The two were charged with aggravated assault. Fowler was convicted in 2004 and sentenced to three years in prison.

    June 2002: Two alleged skinheads were convicted on aggravated assault charges for an attack on a 53-year-old African-American man, Leroy Willis, outside a grocery store in Phoenix. Willis was approached by the suspects who punched him in the head. After he fell to the ground, the attackers continued to hit him as they cursed and yelled racial slurs.
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Terror Plot in Tennessee
On October 22, 2008, the Crockett County, Tennessee, Sheriff's Office, along with agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), uncovered and prevented what could have been the deadliest extremist shooting spree in years, designed to culminate with the assassination of Barack Obama.


ADL Reports Resurgence of Racist Skinheads in U.S.
Extremism in America
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CAVEAT: NOT EVERY SKINHEAD A RACIST
The skinhead subculture was not originally racist —and, in fact, today around the world there remain many non-racist or explicitly anti-racist skinheads (often called sharps, for “skinheads against racial prejudice”).



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