2014 Las Vegas shootings

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2014 Las Vegas shootings
Location Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Date June 8, 2014 (2014-06-08)
11:22 a.m.[1] (PDT)
Target Police officers
Attack type
Murder–suicide, spree shooting, shootout, domestic terrorism[2]
Weapons M&P 9mm pistol
Ruger .38 revolver[3][4]
Two stolen handguns[5]
Winchester 1300 shotgun[4][6]
Knives[5]
Deaths 5 (including both perpetrators)
Perpetrators Jerad and Amanda Miller
Motive Anti-government beliefs

The 2014 Las Vegas shootings occurred on June 8, 2014 in northeastern Las Vegas, Nevada, when a married couple, Jerad and Amanda Miller, committed a shooting spree in which five people died, including themselves. The couple, who espoused extreme anti-government views, first killed two Las Vegas police officers at a restaurant before fleeing into a Walmart, where they killed an intervening armed civilian. The couple died after engaging responding officers in a shootout; police shot and killed Jerad, while Amanda committed suicide after being wounded.[7][8][9][4]

Shootings[edit]

On June 8, 2014, the Millers first went to a CiCi's Pizza restaurant on foot at 11:22 a.m.,[1] finding Las Vegas police officers Igor Soldo and Alyn Beck, who were eating at the restaurant on their lunch break. Prior to the shooting, they had observed the restaurant. Jerad Miller fatally shot Soldo in the back of the head with a handgun, then shot Beck in the throat. Both Millers then killed Beck by shooting him multiple times after he attempted to fire back.[10] Afterwards, they dragged the officers' bodies out of their booth and covered Beck with a yellow Gadsden flag and a swastika. They also pinned a note on Soldo's body, which read: "This is the beginning of the revolution." They also stole both officers' guns and ammunition. Also, during the restaurant shooting, the Millers loudly declared to other patrons that it was the start of "a revolution".[10]

The two then fled to a nearby Walmart, where Jerad fired a shot at the ceiling and ordered shoppers to leave. Joseph Wilcox, who was carrying a concealed weapon, drew his weapon and confronted Jerad,[11] but passed Amanda as he did so, not realizing that she was armed and Jerad's accomplice; Amanda shot and killed Wilcox.[10] Police later responded to 9-1-1 calls and arrived at the Walmart, engaging the Millers in a gunfight, during which Amanda was wounded.[1] The Millers moved toward the back of the store, where they tried to protect themselves from gunfire using several items from the store as a barricade. Police eventually shot and killed Jerad, while Amanda shot and critically wounded herself in the head.[4][8][9] She was taken to the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada, where she died. Initial reports inaccurately indicated that Amanda shot Jerad repeatedly in the chest after he had "laid down" in front of her, killing him, before committing suicide.

An investigation later recovered a 9mm Smith & Wesson M&P handgun, a .38-caliber Ruger revolver, the two handguns stolen from Officers Soldo and Beck, a Winchester 1300 shotgun, 200 rounds of ammunition, knives, and survival items from both Millers' backpacks. During a search at the Millers' apartment, papers that detailed plans to "take over a courthouse and execute public officials" were found.[4][5][6][10][12][13][14]

Victims[edit]

  • Officer Igor Soldo, 31
  • Officer Alyn Beck, 41
  • Joseph Robert Wilcox, 31[10][13]

Perpetrators[edit]

Jerad Miller[edit]

Jerad Miller
Born Jerad Dwain Miller[15]
January 3, 1983[6]
Kennewick, Washington[16]
Died June 8, 2014(2014-06-08) (aged 31)
Las Vegas, Nevada
Cause of death Gunshot wounds to the chest
Nationality American

Jerad Dwain Miller (January 3, 1983 – June 8, 2014) was born in Pasco, Washington.[16] He was arrested for multiple offenses in Indiana and Washington, starting in 2001.[15] In 2007, he was sentenced to a diversion program after pleading guilty to a felony criminal recklessness charge. In 2009, Jerad was arrested and charged with battery, but was acquitted later that year. In 2011, he was sentenced to two years of probation and drug counseling after pleading guilty to felony drug charges.[17] That same year, he met Amanda Woodruff, with whom he applied for a marriage license in Tippecanoe County, Indiana in August. They later married on September 22.[15][18] Prior to the shooting, he worked as a street performer.[14]

In February 2014, Jerad threatened the Bureau of Motor Vehicles office in Indiana, claiming that he would start killing anyone who showed up to arrest him for having a suspended driver's license.[16] He was described as often talking about conspiracy theories, dressing in camouflage, and espousing his hatred of the federal government and President Barack Obama.[6][19] He was also a fan of the decentralized police accountability group Cop Block and would share online videos of police brutality, as well as posts of conspiracy theories and anti-government rhetoric.[20]

Prior to the shooting, Jerad had accounts on Facebook and YouTube, where he made ranting posts and videos.[21] He once posted on June 2:

We can hope for peace. We must, however, prepare for war. We face an enemy that is not only well funded, but who believe they fight for freedom and justice. Those of us who know the truth and dare speak it, know that the enemy we face are indeed our brothers. ... To stop this oppression, I fear, can ... only be accomplished with bloodshed.[17]

One month prior to the shooting, Jerad asked several other Facebook users to send him "a rifle to help stand against tyranny".[14] On the day prior to the shooting, Jerad posted a message on his account that forewarned the attack:

The dawn of a new day. May all of our coming sacrifices be worth it.[17]

Amanda Miller[edit]

Amanda Miller
Born Amanda Woodruff[15]
c. 1992[6]
Indiana[14]
Died June 8, 2014 (aged 21–22)
Las Vegas, Nevada
Cause of death Suicide by gunshot wound to the head
Nationality American

Amanda Miller (née Woodruff, c. 1992 – June 8, 2014) was born in Indiana.[14][15] She did not have a criminal record preceding the shootings.[5] In 2011, she met Jerad Miller, with whom she applied for a marriage license in Tippecanoe County, Indiana in August 2012. They married on September 22.[15][18] Like Jerad, she had a Facebook account, in which she made multiple posts, including numerous photos depicting the Millers dressed as supervillains. In one such photo, Amanda and Jerad were dressed up as Batman villains Harley Quinn and the Joker, respectively; according to a neighbor, the Millers particularly liked to dress up as the characters. In one of her Facebook posts, which was dated May 23, 2011, she wrote:

[T]o the people in the world...your lucky i can't kill you now but remember one day one day i will get you because one day all hell will break lose and i'll be standing in the middle of it with a shot gun in one hand and a pistol in the other. [sic][5]

On January 2014, the Millers moved from Lafayette, Indiana to Las Vegas, Nevada, which Amanda recorded.[17] Prior to the shooting, she worked at a Hobby Lobby arts and crafts store, but wasn't employed there at the time of the shooting.[19]

Presence at Bundy standoff[edit]

During the April 2014 Bundy standoff, in which the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) attempted to round up cattle belonging to rancher Cliven Bundy, who refused to vacate public land,[22] Jerad Miller was said to have been among the armed protesters who joined Bundy during the incident. According to Bundy's son, Ammon Bundy, the Millers were present during the standoff for a few days, but had been instructed by a militia member to leave due to "their radical beliefs", which did not align with the protest's main issues.[17][23] They were also instructed to leave because Jerad Miller was a felon in possession of a firearm.[16] Carol Bundy later commented, "I have not seen or heard anything from the militia and others who have came to our ranch that would, in any way, make me think they had an intent to kill or harm anyone."[24]

During the standoff, Jerad Miller had made interviews with other protesters at the ranch,[25][26] and was also interviewed by CNN, NBC News affiliate KRNV-DT, and other news stations, during which he said:

I feel sorry for any federal agents that want to come in here and try to push us around or anything like that. I really don't want violence toward them, but if they're going to come bring violence to us, well, if that's the language they want to speak, we'll learn it.[17][27]

Motives[edit]

Jerad Miller posted several online videos in which he was dressed as the Joker. In one video, he expressed a strong hatred for law enforcement and police officers in general, warning in an online video that they "cannot be trusted". In another, he denounced the U.S. government as being oppressive, especially criticizing their measures at gun control, surveillance, and their treatment of Cliven Bundy during the April 2014 standoff.[2] Friends of the Millers reported that they idolized Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the two perpetrators of the 1999 Columbine High School massacre, and wanted to follow in their footsteps. The Millers' ideology about the government has been described as "along the lines of militia and white supremacists" by a police official.[6] During the shooting, the Millers placed a swastika on the body of slain officer Alyn Beck; police officials remarked that this act didn't signify the Millers were white supremacists, but instead was intended to associate police officers with Nazism.[10]

The Millers supported the Patriot movement, a collection of various groups with a shared ideology for limited federal government. According to Mark Potok, a spokesperson for the Southern Poverty Law Center, there was no evidence that they belonged in a specific group, but that they considered the outcome of the standoff between Cliven Bundy and the BLM as "a huge victory against the federal government", which reportedly motivated them to commit the shooting spree.[17]

Reactions[edit]

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell made a statement on the day following the shootings and commented about the Millers' presence on the Bundy ranch. She said, "It's very important to bring lawbreakers to justice. There's no question that my colleagues back here, the governors of Western states, do not want people riding roughshod over the landscape ... [Bundy] had put our people in grave danger by calling in armed citizens from around the country."[6][24] U.S. Senator Harry Reid, who had a staff member related to one of the victims, said "All of Nevada mourns the tragic loss of our neighbors, our friends, and in the case of Officers Alyn Beck and Igor Soldo, our protectors" and called for universal background checks in the purchases of firearms.[18] Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman called the shootings "a cruel act" and also praised the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department for "dedicating their lives to protecting all of us in our community".[28] Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval released a statement, saying that he was saddened by the murders and called the shootings "an act of senseless violence". CiCi's Pizza and Walmart also gave their condolences to the victims, with the latter also stating that it would cooperate with police during the investigation.[19]

Las Vegas Sheriff Doug Gillespie described Joseph Wilcox as a hero, saying, "Joseph died attempting to protect others. His death is completely senseless." Wilcox's attempt at stopping Jerad Miller by using his concealed firearm also led to a debate over the necessity of concealed carry and its effectiveness during similar incidents.[11]

On social media, there has been some public praise by anti-government radicals for the killings of Soldo and Beck. As a result of aggressive anti-police posts on Facebook, there has been criticism of the site's lack of responsive action. Facebook commented through a spokesperson, "People come to Facebook to share experiences of the world around them and on occasion this may result in the sharing of content that some may find upsetting. We encourage anyone who sees content that violates our community standards to report it to us."[20]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 13, 2014. Retrieved October 14, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Noelle Swan (2014-06-10). "Las Vegas shooter Jerad Miller: petty criminal, 'Joker,' aspiring terrorist - CSMonitor.com". M.csmonitor.com. Retrieved 2016-05-05. 
  3. ^ "Sheriff Discusses Details of June 8, 2014 Officer Involved Shooting" (PDF). Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Office of Public Information. 23 June 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Lah, Kyung (2014-06-12). "Gunman in Las Vegas rampage was killed by police". CNN.com. Retrieved 2016-05-05. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Mike Blasky; Colton Lochhead (2014-06-09). "Indiana couple who killed Las Vegas police also had plans to attack courts". Las Vegas Review-Journal. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Berman, Mark (2014-06-09). "Las Vegas shooters had expressed anti-government views, prepared for 'lengthy gun battle'". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2016-05-05. 
  7. ^ Cynthia Johnston (2014-06-09). "Killers of Las Vegas cops harbored anti-government ideology". Reuters. 
  8. ^ a b Mike Blasky (2010-06-10). "Official: Police, not wife, killed Jerad Miller". Las Vegas Review-Journal. 
  9. ^ a b Shurmur, Alexia (2014-06-11). "Las Vegas gunman killed by police, not wife, authorities say". News.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2016-05-05. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f "'Anti-government' killers put swastika, flag on Metro Police officer's body - Las Vegas Sun News". Lasvegassun.com. Retrieved 2016-05-05. 
  11. ^ a b Freedman, Dan (June 12, 2014). "Vegas conceal carry permit holder: Hero or victim?". San Francisco Chronicle. Hearst Newspapers. Retrieved 19 June 2014. 
  12. ^ Fantz, Ashley (2014-06-10). "Las Vegas shooting victim's friend: 'You never expect it'". CNN.com. Retrieved 2016-05-05. 
  13. ^ a b Ford, Dana (2014-06-09). "'I'm proud to call him my brother,' says sister of Las Vegas victim". CNN.com. Retrieved 2016-05-05. 
  14. ^ a b c d e "Couple in Las Vegas Killings Embraced Anti Government Ideology". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-05-05. 
  15. ^ a b c d e f Caroline Bleakley. "Man, woman killed near child care center - Story | LasVegasNow". 8newsnow.com. Retrieved 2016-05-05. 
  16. ^ a b c d "Couple in Las Vegas shootings gave no indication of anti-police feelings, authorities say". Fox News. Retrieved 2016-05-05. 
  17. ^ a b c d e f g Shoichet, Catherine E. (2014-06-09). "Killer Las Vegas couple posted anti-government views online". CNN.com. Retrieved 2016-05-05. 
  18. ^ a b c John Bacon and William M. Welch, USA TODAY (2014-06-09). "Police release details of murderous Las Vegas rampage". Usatoday.com. Retrieved 2016-05-05. 
  19. ^ a b c "Police say couple who fatally shot 2 Vegas police officers and civilian believed law enforcement the 'oppressor'". Fox News. 2014-06-09. Retrieved 2016-05-05. 
  20. ^ a b Jason Sickles, Yahoo (2014-07-14). "Online rants, anti-government radicals fuel fear of U.S. cop killings". News.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2016-05-05. 
  21. ^ "Jerad Miller, Las Vegas shooter, decried U.S. government in online videos - World - CBC News". Cbc.ca. 2014-06-10. Retrieved 2016-05-05. 
  22. ^ "Shooters identified in slaying of Metro Police officers, bystander - Las Vegas Sun News". Lasvegassun.com. Retrieved 2016-05-05. 
  23. ^ Michelle Rindels; Martin Griffith (2014-06-09). "Bundy's Son: Las Vegas Shooters Kicked off Ranch". Associated Press via ABC News. 
  24. ^ a b Reid Wilson (2014-06-09). "Interior Secretary Jewell connects Las Vegas shooting to Bundy ranch". Washington Post. 
  25. ^ "Video Emerges of Vegas Cop Killer Jerad Miller Speaking at Bundy Ranch". Mediaite. 2014-06-09. 
  26. ^ David Corn; Dana Liebelson; Asawin Suebsaeng (2014-06-09). "The Chilling Anti-Government, Cliven Bundy-Loving Facebook Posts of the Alleged Las Vegas Shooters". Mother Jones. 
  27. ^ "Nevada rancher versus the federal government: Who's in the right?". Aljazeera America. 2014-04-22. 
  28. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 11, 2014. Retrieved June 11, 2014.