The alleged killers liked Ron Paul, the FreedomWorks Tea Party, they listened to far right propagandist Alex Jones, and supported a third party candidate for Governor. They were deeply embedded in the far right, and their entire story needs to be told. Here is a beginning.
“The dawn of a new day. May all of our coming sacrifices be worth it,” wrote 31-year-old Jerad Miller on his Facebook page at 4am on June 7. The next day, Jerad and his wife, 22-year-old Amanda Miller, left the apartment of a friend where they were staying at about 4:30am. The two headed off with a shotgun, pistols, and two bags filled with hundreds of rounds of ammunition and survivalist gear.
At around 11:30am, the couple walked up to two police officers having lunch at a Las Vegas strip mall pizza buffet. One of them shouted "This is a revolution!” as Jerad Miller walked past and shot one of the officers in the back of the head with a handgun. The officer died instantaneously. The other officer tried to return fire, but both Jerad and Amanda turned on him, shooting him several times and killing him.
The shooters then took the weapons and ammunition off of the dead officers. Over the body of the officers they draped the Gadsden flag – the iconic Revolutionary War symbol made ubiquitous in recent years by the Tea Party movement, and a swastika. On the body of one of the officers they pinned a mini-manifesto that declared, “This is the beginning of a revolution.”
From there, the couple made their way across the street to a Wal-Mart, entering through the front door. Jerad Miller raised a handgun into the air, fired a round and told the people to “Get out. This is a revolution. The police are on the way.”
Over at the checkout area, Joseph Robert Wilcox, was waiting in line when the pandemonium broke out. Wilcox had a conceal-carry permit and was armed. He confronted Jerad Miller but was gunned down from behind by Amanda Miller, who was pushing a shopping cart and “lying in wait.”
Chaos erupted and people started rushing for the exits. One of the shooters shouted “we’re freedom fighters!" as the two headed to the back of the store. Minutes later, SWAT units arrived on the scene, and engaged the shooters, wounding Amanda Miller.
When finally surrounded by police, in an apparent suicide pact, Amanda Miller shot her husband multiple times, killing him, then pointed her pistol to her own head and fired.
How does a couple go from getting married in an Indiana cornfield to lying dead on the floor of a Wal-Mart in under two years? Though the full story is still being pieced together as more evidence becomes available, an initial Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights investigation into the horrific incident found that the “revolution” Jerad and Amanda Miller hoped to ignite by killing police officers was animated by the drumbeat of far-right Tea Party ideology and informed by previous run-ins with law enforcement.
After Rejection By Cliven Bundy: The Revolution
In the months before the shootings, Jerad Miller took to the internet to publicize his building rage. "We can hope for peace. We must, however, prepare for war," Miller wrote on June 2. "To stop this oppression, I fear, can only be accomplished through bloodshed." That same day, he declared that in order to restore “freedom” to the United States, the “best men” would strike for “a free and just world with our blood, sweat and tears as pavement,” he said on June 2. “There is no greater cause to die for than liberty,” he wrote on May 2. “I will willingly die for liberty.” On March 25, he wrote: “I stand firm in my convictions and stand prepared to die for them. … Come for me, free me from your slavery. Give me the death a hero deserves.”
The fact that “patriots” and militia members pointed their guns at Bureau of Land Management officials during the standoff with far-right rancher Cliven Bundy may have been enough to convince the Miller’s that the “revolution” they wanted was at hand.
"Ranch war almost under way," Jerad Miller posted to Facebook on April 9. "[W]e need to watch this closely, could be the next Waco and start of revolution.” Later the same day, Miller posted I will be supporting Clive Bundy and his family from Federal Government slaughter. This is the next Waco! His ranch is under siege right now! The federal gov is stealing his cattle! Arresting his family and beating on them! We must do something. I will be doing something.” The next day, he noted that the two of them had been to Bunkerville to engage in the standoff.
Not long after the couple made their pilgrimage to Bundy’s ranch, Miller noted on Facebook that he and his wife were asked to leave because of his criminal past. “I was out there but they told me and my wife to leave because I am a felon. They don’t seem to understand that they are all felons now for intimidating law enforcement with deadly weapons. So don’t tell you that they need people. We sold everything we had to buy supplies and quit our jobs to be there 24/7. How dare you ask for help and shun us dedicated patriots.”
Steeped in Tea Party Ideas
From the plethora of online postings, it appears that Jerad Miller’s introduction into the far-right began with Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign. In fact, nearly all of the videos posted that he liked on his YouTube account for more than a year were videos about Ron Paul. In total, more than 50 of the 303 videos he liked were about the Paul campaign. He later added Senator Rand Paul, and several candidates running on the far-right Independent American Party to his Facebook likes.
From there, it appears that Jerad Miller dug deeper. He found the Tea Party. Jerad Miller’s “likes” included the national Tea Party group FreedomWorks, and Tea Party-aligned groups Americans for Prosperity and the Heritage Foundation.
He also liked militant Tea Party off-shoots like Three Percenter Nation and Operation American Spring. He expressed an affinity for gun groups, including the NRA, Nevada Firearms PAC, and the National Association for Gun Rights. On February 8, he even posted a photo of himself standing alongside former Sheriff Richard Mack, who promotes the Posse Comitatus idea that county sheriffs represent the supreme law of the land.
Jerad Miller shared, reposted, commented on, and added a multitude of far right issues, everything from conspiracies about gun confiscation, Benghazi conspiracies, Islamophobia, Climate Change denial, birther racism, and much more.
Though much less material has been uncovered from Amanda Miller, she also “liked” Ron Paul, and Freedom Works, in addition to various paranormal groups, Stop Amnesty, and Drudge Report. She used her YouTube channel to show support for videos with titles like “Citizens Can Shoot Police,” “Shooting Cops,” and “When Is It Okay To Shoot a Cop?”
On YouTube, Jerad Miller subscribed to video channels from the racist Birther Report, far-right figure Alex Jones, David Loy VanDerBeek.
Alex Jones and the Millers
A constant source of inspiration for the Miller’s was far right media mogul Alex Jones. Over the years, in addition to promoting a slew of outlandish conspiracy theories, Jones has indulged in vicious racist anti-immigrant rhetoric, promoted anti-Semitic con artists, defended Holocaust deniers, and attacked civil rights leaders. He is an equal opportunity bigot.
Beyond sharing material from the Alex Jones InfoWars website on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter, and sharing many different Alex Jones videos on YouTube, both Millers were registered on the InfoWars website. Jerad Miller once promoted the site to his friends by saying, “get informed or get stupid.”
On May 28, 2012 Jerad Miller posted to the InfoWars website another warning of murderous acts to follow. In the article, “The Police (To Kill Or Not to Kill?)” he explained that he was on probation for selling marijuana. He refused to go back to jail, “I would rather die than be labeled as a criminal. Let them call me a terrorist. Let them label me as a fanatic, some nut job. I know the truth, and so does God. I’m sure our founding fathers were labeled as such. Call me a radical, i will wear that badge with pride. Because America is a radical idea! Brought up upon radical thinking. That each man has constitutional rights that are God given and cannot be taken away no matter what. I refuse to stand by and let them dictate my life… So, do I kill cops and make a stand when they come to get me? I would prefer to die than sit in their jail, when I have done nothing to hurt anyone.”
After the names of the attackers were revealed on Monday and Millers’ reverence for Alex Jones revealed, Jones went ballistic. On his Monday radio show, Jones denounced the shooting a “false flag” operation by the U.S. government. Jones said that his “mind exploded with hundreds of data points” proving that the incident was staged when he first read about it on Sunday. “Tens of millions of people are flooding here, hundreds of thousands a month, pouring over the borders, being given driver licenses in California to pull the lever to ban guns,” Jones warned. “We are in the middle of a globalist revolution against this country right now. And my gut tells me that the cold-blood degenerate evil killing of two police officers and a citizen in Las Vegas yesterday is absolutely staged.”
The Millers and David VanDerBeek
Another source of inspiration for the Millers was Nevada far right activist David Lory VanDerBeek.
In March 2013, Jerad Miller “Liked” the video “The Next American Revolution” by David Lory VanDerBeek, a Nevada gubernatorial candidate for the Independent American Party of Nevada (the Nevada branch of the Constitution Party) and frequent speaker at local Tea Party and other far rightist events.
In that video, VanDerBeek ran through a slew of conspiracy theories, 9/11 Trutherism, birther racism, and much more. He even called President Obama “The supreme Uncle Tom of all time… He’s absolutely a tool of the New World Order.” VanDerBeek also declared “The unfortunate truth is that if the police really buy in to the New World Order, and into the illusion of their power, then I guess they will go back to following the Constitution when enough of them are dead.”
That same week, Jerad Miller posted to twitter that “Police confiscated my wife’s guns without a receipt and without a warrant” and on YouTube described how police visited their home after Amanda Miller purchased the guns, due to it being a violation of Jerad’s parole to have them in their apartment.
Jerad also tried to make the case that though he was a felon on parole, he should be allowed to own guns. “If you are not behind bars, you have the God given right to own and carry a gun, anyone who tells you different is a criminal and wishes to violate your God-given right and wishes to assert their power over you,” he posted to YouTube.
Just weeks before, VanDerBeek published a YouTube rant entitled “IF OBAMA SENDS POLICE TO TAKE YOUR GUNS, EXECUTE THEM.” Those words sound eerily similar to the writings of Jerad Miller in the days before the shooting. In the video, VanDerBeek posited a conspiracy that Obamacare was being used to go after gun owners, and that the time was approaching to start shooting law enforcement officers.
“The time has come for me to give you direct executive advice: lie to the doctors, lie to the teachers, lie to the police, lie to the judges, lie to the IRS. You’re at war. The government has declared war on good Americans. Stop cooperating with them. Obama and Congress have declared war on you, and Obama has declared the US a battlefield. Obama considers gun owners to be enemy insurgents. So you need to stop cooperating with their tyranny,” he declared.
VanDerBeek further threatened law enforcement officials, “if you die violating the rights of innocent citizens, you have received your just rewards. You police, you federal agents, you DHS, you TSA, you who serve this Obama, this tyrant, knowing that you’re breaking the law to get a paycheck and fat benefits and retirement, you will eventually begin to die and I will have no compassion for you. I will not feel sorry for you or your families. Your execution by the people will be your final paycheck. So if you want this fight, suck it up, soak it up, and bring it on.”
On May 13, 2013 Jerad Miller wrote a post telling VanDerBeek that he and Amanda were coming to Nevada to join the fight, “I will see you soon, I will be in touch. My wife and I are planning to move to Nevada soon to help you in your resistance to tyranny. This is proof you are making an impact. Do not quit, my wife and I under your authority to receive training to protect you at all costs. We will take bullets to protect you to the best of our ability. We love you brother and all those who seek liberty.”
Those plans were put on hold temporarily when Jerad Miller was forced to return to jail in late July for seven weeks after violating his home detention.
At the beginning of January 2014, Jerad and Amanda Miller packed up their truck and drove across the country to move to Las Vegas. That month, the couple was interviewed by federal law enforcement officers after they threatened to “shoot up” a DMV office.
Days before the Bundy standoff kicked into high-gear, Jerad again noted on Google+ that they “just moved to Nevada to support David Lory Vanderbeek for governor.”
On May 7, Jerad Miller wrote on the Free Patriot website, “David Lorry Vanderbeek the Independent party candidate will win the election for Governor. We the people of Nevada are fed up! Time to secede from the criminal federal government. Its time to invoke the declaration of independence and restore our rights to life, liberty and happiness.”
After the Las Vegas shootings, VanDerBeek told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that he met the Miller’s several times during his campaign events, including when he spoke at the Bundy ranch. He described the couple as “polite and friendly” and noted that the Millers did not seem to display signs of being violent or desperate. VanDerBeek also attempted to distance himself from his own violent rhetoric, claiming that “he has emphasized that violence would not be tolerated.”
Comparisons to Other Recent Shooters
The Millers shared several things in common with Dennis Marx, the Georgia “sovereign citizen” who was killed in a clash with law enforcement on June 6.
- Both Marx and Jerad Miller faced legal problems over marijuana distribution. Marx was headed for jail, Jerad Miller had recently been released.
- Marx and the Millers were big gun supporters.
- They all targeted law enforcement and the judicial system.
- Marx and the Millers all planned elaborate assaults on courthouse buildings. Neither succeeded.
While the Millers may have picked up much of their far right ideology online, Marx appears to have come across his the old-fashioned way, at gun shows and local events.
Jerad Miller’s Criminal History
Problems in Washington State
- In 2001, he was convicted of taking a motor vehicle without permission and harassment.
- In February 2001 he was convicted of third-degree theft.
- In June 2001, he was convicted of third-degree malicious mischief.
- In April 2002, he was found guilty of assault with intent to cause injury.
- In August 2002, he was convicted of obstructing a public officer and DUI.
After moving to Indiana, Jerad Miller’s trouble with the law continued
- On June 16, 2007, Jerad was formally charged with preliminary charges of criminal recklessness, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.
- In November 2007, he pleaded guilty to criminal recklessness, a Class D felony. He received suspended sentences, receiving credit for time served. He also took the court’s suggestion and went to Wabash Valley for counseling and education, according to court records.
- On Oct. 10, 2007, his bond was revoked and he was returned to jail.
- On March 15, 2009, he was arrested and later charged with misdemeanor battery. A jury found him not guilty after a one-day trial in September 2009, according to court records.
- On Nov. 26, 2010, police arrested him on allegations of dealing marijuana, possession of marijuana and possession of a controlled substance.
- On Feb. 7, 2011, he was booked into the jail accused of strangulation battery.
- On March 1, 2013, he was arrested on a warrant in Dearborn County. He was twice accused of violating his in-house arrest in 2013, according to jail records.