COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on Monday highlighted news reports that said two apparent white supremacists who shot and killed three people in Las Vegas on Sunday may have joined militiamen from around the country at Cliven Bundy’s ranch earlier this year.
Asked by reporters at the Western Governors Association’s annual meeting here about the Interior Department’s approach to Bundy, Jewell said two police officers in Las Vegas were “gunned down by people that news reports say were also at the Bundy ranch.”
On Sunday, Jerad and Amanda Miller simultaneously executed two Las Vegas police officers in a pizza restaurant as the officers ate lunch, police officials told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Jerad Miller covered the dead officers with a Gadsden flag and put a manifesto with a swastika on one of the officers’ bodies.
The Millers went to Bundy’s ranch, about 80 miles outside of Las Vegas, in April, they said on social media sites. But the militiamen shunned the couple because Jerad Miller had prior felony convictions in Washington State. Jerad Miller’s last note, posted on a social media site about seven hours before the shooting, read: “The dawn of a new day. May all our coming sacrifice be worth it.”
Bundy called in militiamen after Bureau of Land Management officials and law enforcement officers began rounding up Bundy’s cattle on April 5, under court order. Bundy has not paid grazing fees for more than two decades and owes more than $1 million to the federal government. The BLM decided to release Bundy’s cattle a week later, after militiamen pointed weapons at federal agents.
“It’s very important to bring lawbreakers to justice. There’s no question that my colleagues back here, the governors of Western states, do not want people riding roughshod over the landscape,” Jewell said Monday. “[Bundy] put our people in grave danger by calling in armed civilians from around the country, and that’s not okay.”
Bundy’s wife Carol told the Review-Journal on Sunday that the shooting and the standoff were not linked. “I have not seen or heard anything from the militia and others who have came to our ranch that would, in any way, make me think they had an intent to kill or harm anyone,” Carol Bundy told a reporter.
BLM and other federal agencies continue to attempt to collect Bundy’s grazing fees. Jewell said Monday the Nevada rancher owes the government more than the combined outstanding payments of every one of the 16,000 other cattle ranchers who use federal lands to feed their stock; earlier this month, Interior officials said 458 of those 16,000 ranchers had outstanding grazing bills totaling about $237,000 — a quarter of what Bundy owes.