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Thu, 12 Jun 2014 13:25:43 +0000
(LAS VEGAS) -- The husband and wife lay on the floor, pointing pistols at each other, their revolution coming to a violent end.
Newly-released surveillance video shows Jerad and Amanda Miller holed up at a Walmart -- the final, fatal moments of Sunday’s rampage in Las Vegas.
The violence began at an adjacent pizza buffet where the Millers killed two police officers, Igor Soldo and Alyn Beck -- draping one of the victims with a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag, a swastika, and a note that said “The revolution has begun.”
The pair then stormed into the Walmart where Amanda Miller shot and killed customer Joseph Wilcox as Wilcox, who carried a gun, moved to confront her husband, authorities said.
Their crime spree came to an end in the store’s automotive section, with their last frantic actions caught on camera.
He points his gun at her. She aims her gun at him.
“It looks like they are shooting at each other,” an officer watching the video says in real-time, in a clip shared by authorities. “Looks like she just shot him.”
But the bullet that killed Jerad Miller didn’t come from his wife’s gun, authorities said Wednesday. It came from a police officer’s rifle.
“None of the rounds that she fired hit him,” Assistant Clark County Sheriff Kevin McMahill said at a news conference.
“The male was shot, in fact, by police fire just prior to this incident,” McMahill said.
As Jerad Miller lay mortally wounded, his wife turned her gun on herself, a scene authorities removed from the surveillance video clip released Wednesday.
Authorities had contact with the suspects on at least three occasions this year, McMahill said Wednesday. The first incident occurred in February, after Jerad Miller made threatening remarks to the Indiana Department of Motor Vehicles.
“He specifically said in that threat that he would shoot anyone who showed up to arrest him for a suspended driver’s license,” McMahill said.
But Miller later recanted those threats, and detectives declined to arrest Miller, with the case deemed closed.
The second interaction came April 10, part of a domestic violence investigation. Jerad and Amanda Miller provided voluntary statements to police, McMahill said.
“In going back and conducting interviews with those officers, we’ve determined that there was nothing that stood out that would have indicated to us that the suspects in this case were anti-police or had intended any harm to our police officers,” McMahill said.
A third interaction occurred May 31, just over a week before the attack, when the Millers gave statements for a sexual assault investigation involving a neighbor. Again, officers didn’t have any reason to suspect the impending attack, McMahill said.
“How you go from ideology to action, and murdering uniformed police officers is something that we all need to figure out as quickly as we possibly can,” McMahill said.
The attack concerns Homeland Security and FBI officials. The agencies issued a bulletin following the attack, warning police to be on the lookout for anti-government violence.
The Las Vegas attack came 72 hours after a self-styled “Sovereign Citizen” attacked a courthouse in Georgia, he too spewing anti-government rhetoric.
As authorities continue to investigate the rampage, mourners are preparing to lay the victims to rest.
A funeral for Soldo, 31, is set for Thursday, while a service for Beck, 41, is scheduled for Saturday. Relatives of Wilcox have not yet set a date for his memorial.
Soldo moved with his family from war-torn Bosnia when he was 13 and dreamed of becoming a police officer, working as a correctional officer in Nebraska before getting a job at the Las Vegas Police Department in 2006.
Soldo’s neighbor in Nebraska, Kathy Kapustka, noted the tragic irony in his death.
“Survived a war and then got killed here,” she said. “Their family came here to be safe.”
He leaves behind a wife and a son.
After Soldo was shot, Beck returned fire but was ultimately killed.
“He didn’t cower. He went to get his gun. That was bravery to the end,” said Tracy Smith, a friend.
Beck is survived by a wife and three children.
Wilcox also displayed heroism after the Millers fired a shot in the air at the Walmart store and ordered everyone to leave. Instead of fleeing, Wilcox, the proud new owner of a concealed weapon permit, lifted his shift to grab his gun and slinked along a wall in a tactical position as he approached the shooter.
“He totally surprised me,” said Wilcox’s best friend, Jeremy Tanner, who had accompanied him to the Walmart. “I expected him to leave with me.”
Police said Wilcox didn't realize Amanda Miller was part of the store invasion and walked past her. She shot and killed Wilcox, police said.
Tanner waited for hours outside the store, calling his friend, desperate for an answer that would never come.
It took more than 12 hours before authorities notified him that his best friend was the lone bystander dead inside.
The lives of Jerad Miller and Wilcox, both 31, overlapped in their enthusiasm for guns. Miller posted a YouTube video saying everyone should have a gun and calling all gun control laws illegal. Wilcox was known for “ranting about people who were anti-gun” on his Facebook page, Tanner said.
Wilcox, however, will be remembered as a “selfless hero,” Tanner said. “He put his life on the line for other people’s lives.”
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