If recent reports are true, the standoff between Cliven Bundy and the Bureau of Land Management may have a connection to the murder/ambush of two police officers in Las Vegas over the weekend. The two police offiers were ambushed Sunday while eating lunch. The two suspects then shot a civilian at a nearby Wal-Mart before committing suicide. Two stories released today from the Las Vegas Sun and Las Vegas Review-Journal now show an apparent connection the Bundy ranch standoff.
Update (2:29 pm EST): At a press conference Las Vegas police officials just confirmed that a Gadsden flag was placed on the body of one of the officers after he was shot by the shooters. The officials have identified the assailants as Jerad and Amanda Miller. The officials confirmed that they are investigating whether the couple ever stayed at the Bundy ranch. The officials stated that the evidence indicates that the assailants acted independently but that they were operating from a "anti-government" philosophy. The officials also stated that they believe the assailants were kicked off the Bundy ranch because of the felon status of Jerad Miller.
According to the Las Vegas Sun report, residents of the apartment complex where the two suspects lived said they "had a reputation for spouting racist, anti-government views, bragging about their gun collection and boasting that they'd spent time at Cliven Bundy's ranch during the recent standoff there between armed militia members and federal agents."
The neighbors also claimed that the suspects were handing out white-power propaganda and talking about "doing the next Columbine."
The Associated Press reports that the two suspects left a "manifesto" among their belongings before going on the killing spree which contains extreme views toward law enforcement. The AP report also suggests that that the bodies of the policemen were draped in "Gadsden" flags.
The Gadsden flag features a coiled snake with the words 'Don't Tread on Me" printed beneath. The flag originated during the Revolutionary War, and has recently seen a rebirth among anti-government groups in the United States. Multiple Gadsden flags were on display during the Bundy ranch standoff.
According to Mediate, Carol Bundy, the wife of Clivien Bundy, has denied any connection between the two Las Vegas shooting suspects and the standoff which took place at the Bundy ranch.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal also states that the bodies of two police officers were draped in the Gadsden flag. In addition, the Review-Journal quotes a neighbor as saying the two suspects constantly spoke of conspiracy theories, and that they had been "kicked off Cliven Bundy's ranch 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas while people throughout the U.S. gathered there in protest of a Bureau of Land Management roundup of Bundy's cattle."
Cliven Bundy gained national fame when he refused to pay grazing fees to the Bureau of Land Management. Bundy claimed the BLM did not have a right to charge the fees even, and even denied the authority of the federal government in any sense. When the BLM later seized Bundy's cattle to collect the grazing fees and fines a number of armed militia members and anti-government groups came to Bundy's defense leading to tense standoff between federal agents. The BLM eventually released Bundy's cattle, but vowed to pursue the case through other means in the future.
Bundy later became infamous for his remarks on African-Americans when he suggested that the "negro" might be "better of as slaves" then living on government assistance.