Vegas police had 3 prior talks with cop killers
In the last seconds of a call, Jerad Miller says, "If they come to arrest me for noncompliance or whatever, I'm just going to start shooting people"
By Ken Ritter
LAS VEGAS — Las Vegas police said Wednesday that detectives talked on three occasions earlier this year with a married couple who killed two officers in a pizza shop and a good Samaritan in a nearby store, but they didn't express the extreme anti-authority views that apparently led to the rampage.
After shooting the patrol officers at the restaurant, the couple went to a nearby Wal-Mart, announced they were starting a revolution and shot a man with a gun who tried to stop them before they died by gunfire. Authorities are still investigating what sparked the carnage.
"This continues to be a massive ongoing investigation," said Assistant Clark County Sheriff Kevin McMahill, who corrected earlier reports that the woman, Amanda Miller, shot her husband, Jerad Miller, when they were cornered in the back of the store.
In fact, Jerad Miller was fatally wounded by gunfire from at least one of three officers who fired shots as they closed in on the couple, McMahill said.
Department officials released a 23-second store security video clip showing the last moments of the Millers' lives, including narration by a store guard saying Amanda Miller appeared to shoot her husband.
"In real time, the officers are receiving the information that the female shot the male," McMahill said.
The clip shows the couple lying on the floor of the Wal-Mart as police corner them in the back of the store. Automotive products are strewn around them.
Amanda Miller is on her back while Jerad lies on his stomach, wearing a bulletproof vest and apparently wounded. Both are holding handguns.
Slowly, Jerad's head begins to dip. Amanda appears to turn toward her husband and fire in his direction.
Then she turns the gun and points it at her forehead. The video ends. The narrator uses a police code, "405," to say she shot herself.
The Clark County coroner previously ruled their deaths a homicide and a suicide.
McMahill conceded the chain of events was "dramatically different" from previous accounts provided by police.
But he said local, state and federal investigators were still sorting through audio, video and witness accounts of the mid-day Sunday shootings and tracing the Millers' activities in Nevada and Indiana, where the couple lived before moving to Las Vegas in January.
Investigators are also looking into YouTube rants and social media postings by the Millers calling law enforcement the "oppressor" and government officials "criminals." The couple left a swastika and a "Don't tread on me" flag on the body of one of the slain police officers.
McMahill said authorities are also investigating the couple's presence in April at a standoff between armed supporters of southern Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and federal agents who abandoned efforts to round up Bundy's cattle in a dispute about unauthorized grazing on public land.
The Millers were asked to leave by militia members supporting Bundy after Jerad Miller made other protesters uncomfortable.
"These are the only two at the ranch who went from ideology to action," McMahill told reporters Wednesday. But he added that police couldn't definitely link the two events.
Police also disclosed for the first time Wednesday that one officer was wounded in the thigh by shrapnel in the Wal-Mart. The injury wasn't serious and wasn't discovered until the officer returned home that night, McMahill said.
McMahill and Sheriff Doug Gillespie said Las Vegas police interviewed Jared Miller in February about threats he made in a telephone call to Indiana motor vehicle officials about his driver's license being confiscated when he was pulled over near Hoover Dam, about 30 miles east of Las Vegas.
In a recording provided by the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles, Jerad Miller complains about the insurance issue that led to the confiscation.
In the last seconds of the seven-minute call, he tells an operator, "If they come to arrest me for noncompliance or whatever, I'm just going to start shooting people."
McMahill said three veteran detectives closed their inquiry after determining the statement didn't constitute a credible threat, and that they had no probable cause for an arrest.
The Millers also provided written statements to police in early April and late May as witnesses to crimes involving other people at the Las Vegas apartment complex where they lived.
"We determined that nothing stood out," McMahill said. "There was no indication provided by the suspects of their anti-police feelings."
A funeral is planned Thursday for Officer Igor Soldo, 31, and a memorial is scheduled Saturday for Officer Alyn Beck, 41. Both slain officers were husbands and fathers.
Funeral plans haven't been made public for Joseph Wilcox, 31, the Las Vegas man killed in the Wal-Mart.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press