Vegas roommates arraigned in alleged plot to kill Nevada police
LAS VEGAS -- Police here were continuing their investigation into what they termed “one of the major domestic terrorism threats in the United States today” after the arrest of two people accused of plotting to kidnap and kill law enforcement officers across Southern Nevada.
Roommates David Allen Brutsche, 42, and Devon Campbell Newman, 67, were arraigned Friday on charges that included conspiracy to commit murder and attempted kidnapping.
The two were arrested earlier this week inside their Las Vegas apartment after a months-long sting operation into an alleged plot by the anti-authority “sovereign citizen” movement that authorities say might lead to other arrests.
Police told the Los Angeles Times that they could not say how soon other arrests might be expected. “It’s an ongoing investigation so we don’t have much more to say right now,” a spokesman for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police said.
In a news conference Thursday, Lt Jim. Seebock, who heads the department’s counter-terrorism unit, said the two suspects came to the department’s attention when police observed that Brutsche had committed a series of crimes.
“When contacted by law enforcement, he espoused beliefs and ideology of the sovereign citizen movement, that he was not subject to the laws of Clark County or the United States,” Seebock told reporters.
He said the FBI has characterized the group as a major domestic terrorism threat.
Las Vegas SWAT team officers arrested the pair at their apartment and searched the premises, but police were not discussing the results.
Seebock said the two alleged extremists “were actively plotting to kidnap and kill at least one Southern Nevada police officer” and authorities believed they had plans to continue the random attacks, without singling out a particular officer or police agency.
At their arraignment Friday, Brutsche and Newman told Justice of the Peace Conrad Hafen they didn’t recognize his authority to keep them in jail.
“I object to the entire proceedings of this court. For the record,” Brutsche said.
Hafen named a lawyer to represent Newman and scheduled her bail hearing for Monday.
“I’ve hurt no one. I wish to be released on bail,” Newman said.
“So noted,” the judge responded. “Denied.”
He ordered both defendants to read the criminal complaints filed against them, then sent the suspects back to the Clark County jail here pending a Sept. 9 preliminary hearing.
A police report detailed the alleged terrorist plot, saying Brutsche and Newman found a vacant house and rigged it to bind captives to cross-beams during interrogation, and recorded videos to explain their actions and why officers had to die.
Brutsche, a convicted child sex offender from California, practiced stalking Newman, posing as a police officer and putting a gun to her head to take her into custody, the report said.
Federal authorities regard “sovereign citizen” extremists as domestic terrorists. Authorities have linked “sovereign citizen” groups with violent confrontations and police shootings in Louisiana and Arkansas.
Upon his arrest, Brutsche denied officers had the authority to hold him, police said.
Newman told a KLAS-TV reporter in a jailhouse interview Thursday that she didn’t really think Brutsche was serious about kidnapping and killing police, and said that officers overstepped their authority in arresting her.
Must-read stories from the L.A. Times
Get the day's top news with our Today's Headlines newsletter, sent every weekday morning.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.