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Las Vegas cop killer had ties to eastern Washington, newspaper says

Police stood by Sunday at the scene of a shooting in Las Vegas that claimed the lives of two police officers and an armed citizen, all three gunned down by a man and wife who killed themselves.
Police stood by Sunday at the scene of a shooting in Las Vegas that claimed the lives of two police officers and an armed citizen, all three gunned down by a man and wife who killed themselves.
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The man who, along with his wife, allegedly fatally shot two Las Vegas police officers yesterday, before she shot a legally-armed private citizen who tried to intervene, apparently has a criminal history in Benton County dating back to 2000-2002, the Las Vegas Review Journal is reporting today.

Jerad Dwain Miller and his wife, Amanda, simultaneously gunned down officers Alyn Beck and Igor Soldo in a pizza restaurant in Las Vegas. The couple then went across the parking lot into a Walmart where Jerad was confronted by 31-year-old Joseph Robert Wilcox, who was legally armed.

Wilcox was apparently shot from behind by Amanda Miller after Wilcox confronted her husband. The newspaper reported that Amanda was “pushing a shopping cart” as she entered a Wal-Mart near where the Millers had just fatally shot both officers on their lunch break in a pizza restaurant. The Las Vegas Review Journal reported that Wilcox was described by an unidentified police official as “a hero” who “was trying to stop an active shooter.”

The emerging profile of both suspects is that they were anti-government extremists who had, according to accounts on Fox News and ABC had talked about their plans to kill police officers. They reportedly also had problems in Indiana before moving to Nevada to participate in the Bundy Ranch standoff earlier this year. They had “strong anti-government views” and had reportedly been interviewed by federal officers after threatening to shoot up an office of the Indiana Department of Motor Vehicles.

But it is Jerad Miller’s misadventures with the law in Benton County that suggest as far back as his late teens, he was a troublemaker. The newspaper is reporting that Benton County court records show convictions in 2000 for third-degree malicious mischief, in February 2001 for third-degree theft, and in June 2001 for third-degree malicious mischief.

Also in 2001, the newspaper reported, he was convicted of “taking a motor vehicle without permission,” and harassment. This was in Benton County Superior Court. In April 2002, he was reportedly convicted of assault, and in August of that year, he was convicted of obstructing a public officer and DUI.

But his troubles didn’t stop there. According to today’s Lafayette, Ind., Journal & Courier. That newspaper quoted Tippecanoe County jail records to reveal that in June 2007, Jerad Miller was booked on preliminary charges that included possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. In October he was arrested, apparently on a bail violation and taken to jail, and the following month he pleaded guilty to criminal recklessness, which is a Class D felony in Indiana. He pulled a suspended sentence and went for counseling.

The counseling didn’t take, apparently. In March 2009 he was arrested and subsequently charged with misdemeanor battery, the Journal & Courier reported, but he was acquitted by a jury the following September.

In late November 2010, he was arrested for allegedly dealing and possessing marijuana, and the following February he was in jail, allegedly for “strangulation battery.” In March of last year, he was arrested on a warrant in Dearborn County, the newspaper added.

Amanda Miller, on the other hand, apparently has no criminal record. She will not be facing charges for yesterday’s events because both she and Jerad are dead, apparently by their own hands. Wilcox apparently did not get off a shot at Miller before he was gunned down.

The Millers headed west in January after having apparently sold all of their belongings to make the trip. But, the Las Vegas newspaper noted, when they tried to hook up with other activists at the Bundy Ranch standoff, “he was shunned…for being a felon.” Felons cannot own or possess firearms.

When they killed the two officers yesterday, the Millers reportedly took their sidearms and spare ammunition. This is the kind of “transfer” that does not involve a "universal background check" because it occurred in the course of a felony crime.

As more details emerge about the shooting, there appears little doubt the suspects were well coordinated in their attacks. What is clear is that Wilcox unselfishly placed himself in harm’s way, perhaps in an attempt to protect other customers in the store, not unlike the hero in last week’s Seattle Pacific University attack, but with an unsuccessful outcome.