Police say Vegas killers had anti-government view

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


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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


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