LAS VEGAS (Reuters) – A married couple who shot dead two Las Vegas police officers in a weekend pizza parlour ambush harboured anti-government and white supremacist ideology and threw a swastika on the body of one of the officers they gunned down, police said yesterday.
The couple are believed to have acted alone on Sunday when they killed the lunching policemen before heading to a nearby Walmart, where they killed a bystander who tried to stop them. Later, surrounded by police, 22-year-old Amanda Miller shot and killed her 31-year-old husband, Jerad, then took her own life.
“At this time we believe this is an isolated act,” Assistant Clark County Sheriff Kevin McMahill told a news conference. “There is no doubt that the suspects have some apparent ideology that’s along the lines of militia and white supremacist.”
Information about the suspects gleaned from police and social media painted a picture of a pair with increasingly extremist views on government and law enforcement, culminating in an ominous Facebook post a day before the shooting.
“The dawn of a new day. May all of our coming sacrifices be worth it,” Jerad Miller wrote on Saturday.
Police said the Millers, who married in 2012 in Indiana, had expressed support in social media for renegade Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, whose property was the scene of a high-profile April standoff between federal agents and Bundy supporters over a forced round-up of his cattle from public land.
McMahill said investigators were looking into any possible ties between the couple and right-wing extremist groups, as well as any links to the Bundy ranch action, which became a magnet for anti-government militiamen angry over what they viewed as federal overreach.
Bundy’s son, Ammon Bundy, told Reuters the Millers had indeed been at the family’s Bunkerville ranch, but that militia members asked them to leave because of “radical conduct.” He did not know the nature of the behaviour that got them ousted or how long they stayed.
“We’re working to figure out those details,” Bundy said.
Records from Indiana’s Tippecanoe County show Jerad Miller was charged with felony marijuana possession in 2010.
Police said he was also convicted of vehicle theft offences in Washington state.
Amanda Miller’s Facebook page contains photos of the couple dressed as comic book villains The Joker and Harley Quinn, and the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported the couple were known to dress as characters and pose with tourists on Las Vegas’ popular Fremont Street area.
Mark Pitcavage, director of investigative research for the Anti-Defamation League, which monitors hate groups, said the Millers appeared to be “right-wing anti-government extremists of the ‘Patriot’ movement variety, believing in all the common militia-type conspiracy theories.”