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October 25, 2014

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‘Anti-government’ killers put swastika, flag on Metro Police officer’s body

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Steve Marcus

Sheriff Doug Gillespie looks toward photos of Jerad and Amanda Miller during a news conference at Metro Police headquarters Monday, June 9, 2014.

Updated Monday, June 9, 2014 | 4:18 p.m.

Metro Officers Slain: 6/8/14

Metro Police are seen outside a Wal-Mart on Nellis Boulevard between Charleston Boulevard and Stewart Avenue, where two people allegedly fired shots after shooting two officers at a nearby CiCi's Pizza. The suspects then killed themselves. Launch slideshow »

BREAKING: 5 Dead, Including 2 Officers In Vegas

Metro officers shot at CiCi's Pizza

A married couple described as “anti-police and anti-government” carried out the execution-style slayings of two Metro Police officers Sunday at a Las Vegas pizza restaurant and then gunned down an armed bystander who tried to intervene as their failed “revolution” continued, police say.

Metro Police today identified Jerad Miller, 31, and Amanda Miller, 22, as unaligned extremists who carried out the ambush of Metro Officers Alyn Beck, 41, and Igor Soldo, 31, as they ate lunch about 11:30 a.m. Sunday in the CiCi’s Pizza at 309 N. Nellis Blvd.

“The families of the officers are dealing with the loss of their loved ones, and our police department family is trying to cope with their deaths as well,” Sheriff Douglas Gillespie said at the top of a morning news conference in which police detailed the deadly chain of events.

The Millers were married in 2012 in Indiana, where both had lived previously. Jerad Miller also had lived in Washington state. The two have been in Las Vegas since January.

Assistant Sheriff Kevin McMahill described investigators' findings:

Jerad and Amanda Miller left their downtown apartment around 4:30 a.m. Sunday and walked about four miles to the shopping area around Nellis Boulevard and Stewart Avenue. They scouted out the CiCi’s before the shooting.

Inside the all-you-can-eat pizza restaurant, Beck and Stewart were in a booth having lunch. Jerad Miller walked by and shot Soldo in the back of the head with a handgun. The shot killed Soldo immediately.

Both Jerad and Amanda Miller then turned on Beck, who tried to return fire but was suffered multiple gunshot wounds.

The assailants draped a “Don’t Tread on Me” Revolutionary War-era flag and a swastika over Beck’s body. The flag is a symbol for anti-government groups. They pinned a note to Soldo’s body that declared, “This is the beginning of the revolution.”

“This entire incident at the CiCi’s is captured on videotape," McMahill said. "We’re still conducting forensic review of that video.”

From there, the Millers went across the street to a Wal-Mart. Jerad Miller entered the front door, raised a handgun, fired a round and told the people to “Get out. This is a revolution. The police are on the way.”

Nearby, Joseph Robert Wilcox, 31, was at a checkout area and heard the commotion.

“He told his friend he was going to confront the suspects," McMahill said of Wilcox. "He was carrying a concealed weapon, and he immediately and heroically moved toward the position of Jerad Miller.”

But Wilcox didn't know Jerad Miller wasn't alone. As Wilcox confronted Jerad Miller, Amanda Miller shot Wilcox in the chest.

"He immediately collapsed," McMahill said. The shot was fatal and the Millers had claimed their third victim in their revolution.

The Millers then made their way further into the store. As customers were frantically exiting the store, two teams of Metro SWAT officers entered from the front and rear.

They traded fire with the Millers, wounding both of them.

One officer got to the security area of the Wal-Mart and accessed the store’s video surveillance system and helped guide police in their attempt to corner the Millers.

Amanda and Jerad Miller got into a “defensive position” using articles from the store. McMahill said police basically had the assailants contained when Amanda Miller fired several shots at her husband, killing him, then pointed her pistol into her own head and fired.

Police moved in and handcuffed both of the Millers. Amanda Miller was still breathing, so she was taken by ambulance to University Medical Center where she later died.

The Clark County Coroner in a news release this afternoon confirmed Jerad Miller died of a gunshot wound to the chest. It said the "female suspect" – it hadn't positively identified Amanda Miller yet – died of a gunshot wound to the head and classified the death as a suicide.

The subsequent investigation led police Sunday night to the Oak Tree Apartments at 110 Bruce St., within a mile east of the Fremont Street Experience.

The duo had told people there of their plans to commit a mass shooting, said Brandon Moore, a resident of the complex.

"They were handing out white-power propaganda and were talking about doing the next Columbine," Moore said.

Police had the perimeter of the apartment complex and the surrounding streets cordoned to traffic and pedestrians. At 7:30 p.m., law enforcement started knocking on tenants’ doors and asked them to leave the building. Some were put on a bus and taken to a local motel. Others waited in the surrounding area in hopes of re-entering their home before sunrise.

Police used a blasting device to gain entry to the Millers’ apartment.

Sara Andrea, a resident of the complex, said the Millers were known to walk around town dressed as the Batman comic book characters The Joker and Harley Quinn. A photo on Amanda Miller’s Facebook page shows the two in costume.

"No one associated (with them), but everyone knew these people," Andrea said.

Residents who spoke about the Millers all mentioned the couple's relationship with Bunkerville rancher Cliven Bundy.

Oak Tree resident Sue Hale said the Millers told her they were in Bunkerville during the standoff, which occurred in April after federal authorities began conducting a roundup of Bundy’s cattle. Bundy had defied the government by grazing the cattle on public land without a permit.

"Yap, yap, yap. They were always running their mouths," Hale said.

McMahill downplayed media accounts of the Millers' membership in any aligned groups.

“We don’t necessarily believe they are white supremacists or associating with the Nazi movement,” McMahill said. “We believe that they equate government and law enforcement as fascism and those who support it are Nazis.

“In other words they believe law enforcement is the oppressor and they are associated with the Nazi movement, We do believe they acted individually, but we believe they are connected to a certain ideology that is anti-police anti-government.".

Posts on Jerad Miller's Facebook page take plenty of issue with the government and police. A May 2 post hinted at his mindset a month before Sunday's events:

"There is no greater cause to die for than liberty. To die for that cause is easy, to live for it is another matter. I will willingly die for liberty. Death, in a sense is freedom from tyranny. Death, is the easy way out. Most notably is the "suicide by cop" routine. Yes, standing before despots is dangerous and most likely does not end well for you. I know this, my wife knows this. Soon they will come for us, because they don't like what we think, and what we say. They don't like the fact that we, simply will not submit to fascist rule. We don't have much, but we are willing to sacrifice everything.......for you, for your freedoms. Even if you wouldn't let us have ours. We know who we are and what we stand for, do you?

The drama at the Oak Tree Apartments capped a series of events Sunday that witnesses described as almost surreal.

Sheree Burns, 48, said she left church early, for the all-you-can-eat pizza at CiCi’s. She said she was seated just behind the two officers, who already were eating, and witnessed the bloodshed.

“I’ll never leave church early again,” Burns said.

Inside the Wal-Mart, Mayra Calvillo, 19, was working Sunday near the front of the store when the events unfolded. She helped customers leave the pandemonium-filled store, later reflecting, “I’m still in shock. I feel like it hasn’t hit me yet.”

Jesus Bustamante, 26, said he was in the electronics section of the store when he heard a muzzled sound and people screaming, “It’s a shooting! It’s a shooting!”

Bustamante said he wasn’t sure whether to run out or take cover in the store, but he saw a Metro officer run past him saying, “Get the (expletive) out of here!”

Bustamante said the crowd trying to get out of the store was typical for a busy Wal-Mart: elderly, children, parents.

Monday morning, Wal-Mart remained closed and the entrance to the parking lot was blocked off with police tape and shopping carts. About 50 to 75 cars were left abandoned in the parking lot by people who fled the store the prior day.

Sue Wyatt of Las Vegas returned to retrieve her car so she could go to work. She was in the store when the shooting started.

She said she heard someone shout, “We’re freedom fighters” and the sound of gunfire as she hid in the store’s photo lab area with other customers. She said it felt like they were there for hours, but it was probably only about 30 minutes.

Wyatt said she was thankful no more people were killed or injured. “Quite frankly, it could have been a massacre,” she said.

Outside CiCi's, a small memorial with flowers and prayer candles was set up for the slain officers.

Metro has doubled up its officers on patrol while officers gather more information about the shooting. Officers also are wearing badges shrouded with black ribbons in honor of their deceased colleagues.

Metro said Beck had been employed with the department since August 2001 and had been assigned to the patrol division of the Northeast Area Command. A wife and three children survive Beck.

Metro said Soldo had been with the department since April 2006 and also was with the patrol division of the Northeast Area Command. Soldo is survived by his wife and a baby.

The organization 10,000 Kids Inc. has scheduled a vigil at 6 p.m. today at the corner of Nellis and Stewart to honor the officers.

A day after Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman ordered flags at city offices lowered to half-staff in honor of the shooting victims, Gov. Brian Sandoval followed suit and Sandoval signed an executive order calling for flags to be flown at half-staff through sunset Friday across the state for Beck and Soldo.

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