Published Wednesday, June 11, 2014 | 9:35 a.m.
Updated Wednesday, June 11, 2014 | 12:32 p.m.
Metro Police today confirmed police gunfire killed cop-killer Jerad Miller in a shootout Sunday morning in an eastern Las Vegas Wal-Mart.
“This is a dramatic difference from what was discussed in a previous news conference,” Assistant Sheriff Kevin McMahill said in a news conference this morning.
McMahill showed a video clip accompanied by police radio chatter of the final moments in the lives of Jerad Miller, 31, and his wife, Amanda Miller, 22. The two went on a murderous rampage Sunday that left Metro Officers Igor Soldo and Alyn Beck, along with Las Vegas resident Joseph Wilcox dead in shootings at a CiCi’s pizza restaurant and the Wal-Mart.
In the video, it appears that Amanda Miller fires into her husband, then took her own life with a handgun. But McMahill said further investigation – and corroboration from the Clark County Coroner’s Office – showed the fatal shot came from a Metro firearm.
“The male was shot, in fact, by police fire just prior to this incident,” McMahill said after the video was shown.
Three officers fired their weapons, and all are on leave per Metro’s standard procedure after an officer-involved shooting.
The video shows Jerad and Amanda Miller on the floor in an aisle that appears to be an automotive section at the back of the store.
At one point, Jared Miller looks at his wife and puts his face down. Amanda Miller then takes her handgun, twists it around in her hand and begins to point it at her head. Metro cut the video at that point.
Asked if Jerad Miller was wearing a bulletproof vest — he is wearing a dark vest of some kind in the video — McMahill would not say.
Additionally, McMahill confirmed a Sun report that an officer involved in the firefight inside the Wal-Mart suffered a wound to the upper right thigh. The officer didn’t discover the wound until later in the day after he had gone home, and he sought hospital treatment on his own.
McMahill didn’t say whether the officer suffered a gunshot wound, was hit by shrapnel or other details about the officer’s wound.
“I simply don’t know … it’s part of our investigation,” he said.
McMahill said Metro Police had contact with Jerad Miller three times in the months since he and his wife moved to Nevada in January.
The first time was in February, when the Southern Nevada Counter-Terrorism Center informed Metro that he had made threatening remarks regarding the Indiana Department of Motor Vehicles.
“He said in that threat he would shoot anyone who showed up to arrest him for a suspended driver's license,” McMahill said.
Detectives visited the Millers' apartment at 110 S. Bruce St. At the time, Jerad Miller told police “he never threatened to shoot anyone and was saying this is how people would get shot,” McMahill said.
Detectives determined they had no probable cause to make an arrest.
"The interaction was normal; there were no anti-government or anti-police” statements,” McMahill said. “They did not feel through the interview that the suspects were a ... potential threat.”
The second contact was April 10, also at the Bruce Street apartment.
Investigating a potential domestic battery, Amanda and Jerad Miller provided voluntary statements about an incident in which they were not involved, McMahill said. At the time, there was nothing indicating the Millers intended harm to police officers, McMahill said.
The third contact was about a week before Sunday’s shooting.
On May 31, officers responded to a call of an alleged sexual assault involving a neighbor, not the Millers, McMahill said. The Millers made a voluntary statement to officers.
Again, “the interaction between the uniformed officers and detectives in that case was normal,” McMahill said. “There was no indication provided by the suspects of their anti-police feelings.”
Sheriff Doug Gillespie said Metro receives numerous calls from people who overhear or know someone who has made anti-police remarks or threats.
But, McMahill said, Metro “pays close attention to the constitutional rights of our citizens. And as I stand here today, I don’t think we would have had a criminal predicate to allow (officers who had contact with the Millers) to look at them for criminal purposes.
“It is a significant challenge for us nationwide to take this kind of rhetoric and take it into actionable intelligence.”
It was also noted at today's news conference that the Millers were among hundreds of people who turned out in April at a ranch near Mesquite, where armed supporters of rancher Cliven Bundy squared off with federal agents seeking to confiscate cattle over unpaid grazing fees.
“There were a lot of people with a lot of ideologies and self-described militia and white supremacists and sovereign citizens," McMahill said. "But of the hundreds, these are the only two who went from ideology to action."
Other details from today’s news conference:
• Among the weapons in the killers' possession was a .38-caliber Ruger. Amanda Miller bought the revolver in Lafayette, Ind. It was not registered and not stolen. Metro is not releasing information about how it was purchased, because the incident is under investigation.
• A Smith and Wesson M&P 9mm handgun was found on the Millers at Wal-Mart. It also was neither registered nor stolen. How it came into the Millers’ hands is also under investigation.
• A Winchester 12-gauge, pump-action shotgun with a pistol grip was found on the Millers at Wal-Mart, and its origin also is being investigated.
• Metro had doubled up its officers on patrol right after the shooting. They went back to single officers as of 6 a.m. today.
• McMahill said video evidence from the shootings is lengthy, and investigators have not gotten through it all yet. What it shows so far, he added, "is exactly how ruthless and cold-blooded these murderers are."