Police say Vegas killers had anti-government view

Couple kicked off activist’s ranch for being ’very radical’

Share with others:

Print Email Read Later

LAS VEGAS — A hus­band and wife who went on a deadly shoot­ing ram­page in Las Vegas har­bored anti-gov­ern­ment be­liefs and left a swas­tika and a “Don’t tread on me” flag on the body of one of the two po­lice of­fi­cers they killed, au­thor­i­ties said Mon­day.

Jerad and Amanda Miller had been kicked off a Ne­vada ranch where anti-gov­ern­ment pro­test­ers faced down fed­eral agents ear­lier this year be­cause they were “very rad­i­cal,” ac­cord­ing to the son of rancher Cliven Bundy.

As­sis­tant Sher­iff Kevin McMahill said the Mill­ers had ide­ol­ogy shared by “mi­li­tia and white su­prem­a­cists,” in­clud­ing the be­lief that law en­force­ment was the “op­pres­sor.”

Po­lice be­lieve that the shoot­ings were an iso­lated act, not part of a broader con­spir­acy to tar­get law en­force­ment, Sher­iff McMahill said.

Am­mon Bundy, one of Cliven Bundy’s sons, said by phone that the Mill­ers were at his father’s ranch for a few days this spring be­fore they were asked to leave by mi­li­tia mem­bers for un­spec­i­fied “con­duct” prob­lems. He called the cou­ple “very rad­i­cal” and said they “did not align them­selves” with the be­liefs of other pro­test­ers. The pro­test thwarted a roundup of Cliven Bundy’s cat­tle by the U.S. Bureau of Land Man­age­ment, which wants to col­lect more than $1 mil­lion in graz­ing fees and pen­al­ties.

While thou­sands of peo­ple have been to the site over the last cou­ple of months, “Not very many peo­ple were asked to leave. I think they may have been the only ones,” Am­mon Bundy said.

On Sun­day, the two Las Vegas po­lice of­fi­cers were hav­ing lunch at a pizza buf­fet in an aging strip mall about 5 miles north­east of the Las Vegas Strip when the Mill­ers fa­tally shot them. The at­tack at a CiCi’s Pizza killed of­fi­cers Alyn Beck, 41, and Igor Soldo, 31, both of whom were hus­bands and fathers.

Ac­cord­ing to Sher­iff McMahill, this is how Sun­day’s events un­folded:

The Mill­ers left a neigh­bor’s apart­ment where they had been stay­ing around 4:30 a.m. and walked for hours, even­tu­ally reach­ing the strip mall, about 5 miles away.Around 11:20 a.m., Jerad Miller went briefly into the restau­rant, then left and got his wife, leav­ing their back­packs out­side.

When they re­turned, the two of­fi­cers were sit­ting in a booth. Jerad Miller fa­tally shot Of­fi­cer Soldo in the back of his head. As his part­ner tried to re­act, Jerad Miller shot him once in the throat. Amanda Miller then pulled her own gun and both shot Of­fi­cer Beck sev­eral times.

Po­lice be­lieve that while the Mill­ers wanted to tar­get po­lice, the choice of Of­fi­cers Soldo and Beck was ran­dom.

Pulling the mor­tally wounded of­fi­cers from the booth, they took their guns and am­mu­ni­tion and put a yel­low Gads­den flag fea­tur­ing the phrase “Don’t tread on me” and a swas­tika on Of­fi­cer Beck’s body. The flag, with its roots in the Amer­i­can Revo­lu­tion, is a sym­bol for anti-gov­ern­ment groups. Po­lice said they be­lieve that the swas­tika was in­tended to paint po­lice as Na­zis, not nec­es­sar­ily as an ex­pres­sion of the Mill­ers’ own white-su­prem­a­cist views.

The cou­ple also told restau­rant pa­trons that their act was “the be­gin­ning of the rev­o­lu­tion,” the same mes­sage as a note they left at the restau­rant.

The cou­ple next went to a Wal­mart about a block away, where Jerad Miller en­tered, fired one round and “told the peo­ple to get out, and this was a rev­o­lu­tion, and that the po­lice were on the way.”

In the frenzy, shop­per Joseph Wil­cox de­cided to con­front Jerad Miller — not re­al­iz­ing that Amanda Miller was his ac­com­plice. Mr. Wil­cox went from the check­out area to Jerad Miller and pulled his con­cealed fire­arm. But be­fore he could fire, Amanda Miller shot him in the ribs, and Mr. Wil­cox col­lapsed. “Joseph died try­ing to pro­tect oth­ers,” Sher­iff Doug Gilles­pie said.

By now, po­lice had ar­rived, and two five-of­fi­cer teams en­tered the mas­sive store. Near the back, one team con­fronted the Mill­ers and ex­changed fire. At one point, Jerad Miller tried to blast open a rear emer­gency exit door with a shot­gun, but po­lice had blocked it with a car, and he could not es­cape.

By look­ing at the store’s sur­veil­lance cam­era feeds, an of­fi­cer saw that Jerad Miller had built a make­shift bar­ri­cade around his wife. As po­lice closed in, Amanda Miller shot her hus­band sev­eral times with a hand­gun, kill­ing him. She then shot her­self in the head. When of­fi­cers ar­rived, she was still breath­ing, and was taken to the hos­pi­tal. She later died.

Po­lice found hun­dreds more rounds of un­spent am­mu­ni­tion in the Mill­ers’ bags.

The cou­ple had moved to the Las Vegas area in Jan­u­ary, po­lice said. Amanda Miller had worked at a Hobby Lobby craft store there un­til she was fired in April, the chain store said in a writ­ten state­ment.

Jerad Miller, 31, was con­victed of fel­ony ve­hi­cle theft in Wash­ing­ton state, and sev­eral other of­fenses, in­clud­ing phone ha­rass­ment, driv­ing un­der the in­flu­ence, theft and ma­li­cious mis­chief, be­tween 2001 and 2003, ac­cord­ing to a Wash­ing­ton State Patrol da­ta­base. He also had a crim­i­nal record in In­di­ana.

Jerad Miller at­tended Ken­ne­wick High School in Wash­ing­ton state for one se­mes­ter in 1999, his fresh­man year, dis­trict spokes­woman Robyn Chas­tain said.

He and his 22-year-old wife were mar­ried in Au­gust 2012, ac­cord­ing to a mar­riage li­cense on file in In­di­ana.

When po­lice de­scended on their apart­ment com­plex Sun­day night in a run­down neigh­bor­hood, of­fi­cers evac­u­ated other res­i­dents.

On Mon­day, Sher­iff Gilles­pie said he was pair­ing of­fi­cers to­gether for safety, and that, for now, 300 will be on pa­trol — twice what is nor­mal. Asked about wor­ries that more of­fi­cers may be tar­geted, he re­sponded: “Is that weigh­ing? Sure, there’s no doubt about it.”

Am­mon Bundy said sup­port­ers of his father are sad­dened by the kill­ings and “have had no quar­rel” with Las Vegas po­lice. “The only thing worse than [gov­ern­ment] tyr­anny is an­ar­chy,” he said. “And we cer­tainly rec­og­nize that.”

indiana - washington - nevada - United States - North America - Las Vegas


You have 2 remaining free articles this month

Try unlimited digital access

If you are an existing subscriber,
link your account for free access. Start here

You’ve reached the limit of free articles this month.

To continue unlimited reading

If you are an existing subscriber,
link your account for free access. Start here