Jerad and Amanda Miller came ready for a fight – a long one. Their goal was to ambush police officers at a Las Vegas Wal-Mart and take out as many as possible.
“The two suspects involved in this horrible event were well-armed and ready to kill as many cops as they could,” Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie said Monday at a news conference where he provided the most detailed account yet of the mass shooting on June 8.
He said the couple was carrying two handguns and a pistol-grip shotgun along with ammunition — including armor-piercing bullets – when they started their day of terror. They had packed food and water, and were wearing adult diapers.
The suspects “were prepared on that day to hunker down and stay in that Wal-Mart as long as they needed to,” Gillespie said.
First, the two entered a CiCi’s Pizza and killed officers Alyn Beck and Igor Soldo. They covered Beck’s body with a yellow “Don’t tread on me” flag and a swastika. They pinned a note to Soldo’s body that stated, “This is the beginning of the revolution.”
They stole two semi-automatic handguns and extra magazines from the slain officers, so that by the time they reached the Wal-Mart, they had a total of five weapons on them.
Minutes later, the Millers entered the Wal-Mart. Jerad Miller told shoppers to get out of the store, saying this was a “revolution.” He fired a single shot in the air and people fled, except for Joseph Wilcox, a customer who was carrying his own legal handgun.
Wilcox confronted Jerad Miller, unaware that Amanda Miller was close behind. She then shot Wilcox.
The first police officer who entered the Wal-Mart tried to track the couple by moving along a parallel aisle. What he didn’t know was that Amanda Miller was about to confront him as he turned a corner to move from one aisle to another. As she started to shoot, the officer backed away and went to get reinforcements.
While police were regrouping, Jerad Miller took a baseball bat, smashed open an ammunition case in the store and snatched more cartridges.
When reinforcements came, Jerad Miller told them to “stand down. I am in charge now.” A 15-minute gunfight ensured, during which the couple fired 36 shots, one of which wounded Amanda Miller. As she was lying on the floor, Jerad Miller moved shelves and carts around in an effort to “fortify” her from the police, Gillespie said.
Authorities said police then shot Jerad Miller. He fell. His wife appeared to say something to him and then shot herself in the side of the head.
Both were handcuffed, taken to a hospital and pronounced dead.
Wilcox, who tried to stop the couple, died. At his funeral this week, Gillespie said, “He was a man who was willing to be that person maybe some of us hope to be when danger looks us squarely in the eyes.”