Las Vegas shooting suspects had Indiana connection
Two suspects in a shooting spree that killed two Las Vegas police officers and a civilian that tried to stop them recently moved west from Indiana.
Jerad and Amanda Miller died after a gun battle with police in a Walmart store Sunday, shortly after they gunned down two officers who were on their lunch break at a Las Vegas restaurant. The shootings happened about five miles from the Las Vegas strip.
The officers were shot at point-blank range. One of the suspects was heard to shout "This is a revolution!" One of the officers was able to fire back, but it is not clear if his gunfire hit either suspect.
The couple fled across the street to a Walmart, where a customer was gunned down just inside the floor. Police say the customer, 31-year-old Joseph Wilcox, was in line checking out when he told a friend he was going to confront Jerad Miller. Amanda Miller shot Wilcox in the rib area. He collapsed and died at the scene.
After a standoff with police inside the store, Jerad Miller laid down in front of his wife, who shot him before turning the gun on herself.
Police say the case is complex because there are so many witnesses. They still are unsure of the couple's motive.
A neighbor told NBC News the couple left their apartment with a shopping cart full of weapons. Jerad Miller reportedly told the woman, "We gotta do what we gotta do," while his wife hugged the neighbor, saying "I am so sorry."
Another neighbor said he had heard anti-government statements from the Millers before, that they wanted to overthrow the government and President Barack Obama and kill police officers.
Assistant Sheriff Kevin McMahill said Monday the suspects had ideology that was along the lines of "militia and white supremacists." He said they put a "Don't Tread On Me" flag and a swastika on one of the officers they shot at the restaurant.
Police records in Tippecanoe County show a list of arrests for Jerad Miller, dating back to 2007. Those offenses include criminal recklessness, pointing a firearm, possession and dealing marijuana and battery. Police in Las Vegas say he was also convicted of felony charges for vehicle offenses in Washington state.
Amanda Miller's best friend in Lafayette, Jessica Bernard, says it's still hard to believe her friend could have gone on a killing spree.
"She was just like my sister," Bernard told Eyewitness News Monday.
She says Amanda fell in love with Jerad, even with his checkered past.
"I took her to see him when he was in jail for...I don't know what he was charged with, but I took her to see him and I let her stay with me for about a month before going to Nevada," Bernard said.
Bernard and Amanda Miller graduated together from Jefferson High School in Lafayette. She recalled Monday how Jerad Miller frequently talked about the government.
"Jerad would always talk about the government and how he thought they were watching him all the time," Bernard said.
She said Amanda was happy, but was becoming increasingly paranoid.
"The only thing I can think of is, she kept saying something about the government was watching her every move," Bernard said.
She says she suspected something in the beginning of Amanda and Jerad's relationship, but nothing like what happened Sunday.
"I was skeptical of Jerad when I first met him, but I was there for her, because I know she loved him. I tried to see through everything," Bernard said.
When Bernard visited Amanda's family home in Lafayette Monday, she was greeted with a big hug from one of her best friend's family members.
Jerad Miller's final Facebook post, written the day before the shooting, reads, "The dawn of a new day. May all of our coming sacrifices be worth it."
The couple also visited the ranch of Cliven Bundy this spring, where anti-government protestors faced down federal agents.
Bundy's son, Ammon, told the Associated Press the Millers were asked to leave the ranch after a few days. He said details are sketchy, but the couple's conduct was the problem.
Ammon Bundy called the couple "very radical" and says they didn't "align themselves" with the protest's main issues. They were told to leave by members of a militia that also had come to the ranch in support of Bundy.
(The Associated Press contributed to this story.)