Officials on Monday identified Jerad and Amanda Miller, a young married couple from Indiana who acquaintances said grew increasingly disillusioned with police and government officials, as the shooters in the rampage that left two police officers and a Wal-Mart shopper dead.
The couple, who police said attacked the two officers Sunday at a pizza restaurant, stayed with a friend until about 5:45 a.m. that day, when Jerad Miller brought out swastikas and an Army insignia and said: “I’m going to put one of those on every cop we kill,” neighbor Kelly Fielder told the Los Angeles Times on Monday. “I’m thinking ‘Right. They’re not going to do that.’”
“I should have called the cops,” Fielder said, “I feel I have the deaths of five people on my shoulders. The signs were there.”
Officers Alyn Beck, 41, and Igor Soldo, 31, were killed as they sat eating lunch at CiCi’s Pizza at about 11:20 a.m. Sunday. Officials said the suspects entered through the rear of the restaurant and opened fire.
Jerad Miller, 31, then covered the officers with a Gadsden flag -- a yellow banner with a coiled snake above the words, “Don’t Tread on Me” -- and placed a manifesto with a swastika symbol on one officer’s body, according to police officials speaking at a morning news conference. The flag, which dates from the American Revolution, has been adopted by a string of ultra-conservative and libertarian groups.
After the shooting, the suspects went to a nearby Wal-Mart store, where they were confronted by an armed shopper, who was shot by Amanda Miller, authorities said. The Clark County coroner’s office identified the dead man as Joseph Robert Wilcox, 31, a Las Vegas resident. A formal cause of death was still pending, a spokeswoman for the coroner told The Times.
The Millers apparently moved to Las Vegas from a small town in Indiana about four months ago, according to Larry Burnette, a neighbor at the Oak Tree Apartments where they all lived.
When the Millers learned of the standoff between the federal officials and Nevada cattle rancher Cliven Bundy, an incident that became a lightning rod for armed libertarians, the couple traveled to the site, Burnette said.
“At first he was OK, then the Bundy Ranch thing happened and things changed,” Burnette said. “Him and his wife went out there carrying guns. I tried to tell them not to go, but they were so against the police. They wanted the cops to go away and leave the Bundys alone.”
Fielder, who also lived in the downtown apartment complex, said the Millers moved in with her about three weeks before the rampage “because they said they wanted the government to find their apartment intact.”
She said the Millers stayed until Sunday morning, when they said they had to leave immediately.
Fielder, 42, said she met the couple when she moved into the apartment complex in April. “They were my next-door neighbors,” she said, adding that she took to Amanda Miller, whom she called a “beautiful young girl from the countryside. Her grandmother owned horses.”
She said Jarad Miller was hateful, especially toward people with liberal politics.
“He was angry at the government. He was hellaciously mad at Obama and anyone who was on food stamps. She was a good girl who would do anything to make her man happy. But he was not a nice person. No, not at all.”
She said she considered kicking them out, but that she liked Amanda: “What am I going to do? They were friends of mine.”
During the few months she lived in Las Vegas, Amanda, 22, worked for a Hobby Lobby store, the company confirmed Monday.
“We are dismayed by this senseless and horrific act of violence; our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by this terrible tragedy,” the company said in a statement.
During the standoff at the Bundy ranch, the trio drove to Bunkerville for three days, Fielder said. “I slept in the front of their trucks and they slept in the back. After a few days, I said I had to go home. I had my own drama in my own life.”
She said the couple dropped her off in Las Vegas and returned to the ranch, but that were back at the apartment complex a few days later.
“He got kicked off because he was a felon,” Fielder said. “Jerad was really upset. They said he was a felon and couldn’t own guns. He told me he was on-call as a militiaman there.”
She said she recalled them walking out of her apartment Sunday morning at first light.
Richard Serrano contributed from the Washington bureau.