The husband-and-wife team that shot and killed two Las Vegas police officers, then killed a third person at a nearby Wal-Mart before taking their own lives, had an extensive history of far-right, anti-government beliefs and were obsessed with conspiracy theories and the idea of killing cops. All of this is well-documented and can be seen for yourself simply by combing through the couple's varioussocial media accounts.
The Vegas PD hasn't officially released the names of the killers, but according to several outlets a neighbor identified them as "Jared and Amanda." Their full names, confirmed by the Southern Poverty Law Center, are Jerad and Amanda Miller and they moved from Lafayette, Indiana to Las Vegas at the beginning of the year. Jerad worked as a street performer in downtown Vegas and Amanda apparently joined him occasionally, with the two dressing up as the Joker and Harley Quinn and posing for pictures with tourists for tips.
The Millers ambushed officers Alyn Beck, 41, and Igor Soldo, 31, as they ate lunch at a CiCi's pizza in eastern Las Vegas on Sunday morning. According to police, Jared Miller shot officer Soldo point blank in the back of the head as he was sitting in a booth eating, then fired on officer Beck as he drew on him. Amanda Miller also opened fire on Beck. One of the two killers then shouted, “This is the start of a revolution,” and together they stripped both cops of their guns and ammo and draped their victims with American Revolution-era Gadsden flags, better known as the "Don't Tread on Me" flags that have become so ubiquitous among Tea Partiers and within the anti-government movement over the past several years. The couple then went across the street to the Wal-Mart, shot and killed another man with a concealed carry permit who tried to stop them, 31-year-old Joseph Wilcox, then barricaded themselves in the rear of the store and eventually killed themselves as the police approached. Amanda Miller reportedly shot her husband first, then turned the gun on herself.
You're allowed to believe whatever you want in this country and certainly just because someone holds extremist views it doesn't mean that he or she will wind up going on a shooting rampage, but Jerad and Amanda Miller left a pretty clear indication on their Facebook pages that something bad was coming.
This was Jerad Miller's final Facebook status update on Saturday:
But that was merely the last stop on a crazy train that was always barreling full-speed ahead. Jerad was a poster boy for the conspiracy theorist movement and often voiced his fears of the New World Order, chemtrails, and the rise of a militaristic police state. He believed that violent revolution was a necessity, and his Facebook "likes" included the ill-fated Operation American Spring, the NRA, The Heritage Foundation, Three Percenter Nation, and Ron and Rand Paul.
Amanda, meanwhile, used her YouTube channel to show support for videos with titles like "Citizens Can Shoot Police," "Shooting Cops," and "When Is It Okay To Shoot a Cop?" She also documented the couple's trip to the Bundy Ranch two months ago. They made a pilgrimage there to support Cliven Bundy in his armed standoff with federal agents but were apparently asked to leave once it was revealed that Jerad Miller had an extensive criminal record. He complained about this on his Google Plus page, writing on April 19th, "I was out there but they told me and my wife to leave because I am a felon. They don’t seem to understand that they are all felons now for intimidating law enforcement with deadly weapons. So don’t tell you that they need people. We sold everything we had to buy supplies and quit our jobs to be there 24/7. How dare you ask for help and shun us dedicated patriots!”
Jerad and Amanda Miller claim to have moved to Nevada to show support for David Lory VanDerBeek, the Independent American Party candidate for Nevada governor. Jerad's Facebook page has quite a few references to VanDerBeek, including a reposting of his status update immediately following last month's UC Santa Barbara shooting spree. VanDerBeek believes that the shooting was a government-engineered "false flag" operation aimed at clamping down on gun rights.
He echoed his support for VanDerBeek in the comment section of the "Free Patriot" website.
The neighbor who first named "Jared and Amanda" as the suspects said that they were meth-heads, and it's certainly tough to look at a video Jerad Miller made in 2013 and not think he's on something. Among his many arrests dating back to 2007 is one for dealing and possessing marijuana, but this clip in which he professes his love for Amanda just before he's about to begin a brief jail stint makes him look like an extra on Breaking Bad. The line where he tells his wife, his partner-in-crime figuratively and literally, that she can bring a smile to his face "no matter how crabby of a mood I'm in because of the New World Order and shit," is really something special.
There are three people who mattered far more in life and matter far more in death than Jerad and Amanda Miller. Officers Alyn Beck and Igor Soldo were both family men and good, dedicated cops. Beck was a 13-year LVMPD veteran and he leaves behind a wife and three children. Soldo also had a wife and baby. By all accounts these were decent guys and they absolutely didn't deserve to go out the way they did: as the culmination of a paranoid anti-government revenge fantasy, the final act of two people who'd screwed their own lives up in every single way possible. The same can likely be said for the innocent victim in the Wal-Mart, Joseph Wilcox, who a friend described as seeming "invincible."
The fact that these people are dead is a tragedy. The fact that they're dead at the hand of a couple of conspiracist dead-enders like Jerad and Amanda Miller is a travesty.
(This story has been updated to reflect new information on the shootings provided by police.)