A married couple who shot dead two Las Vegas police officers over the weekend had attended a protest on the property of renegade Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy but were asked to leave because of the husband's aggressive nature and volatility, the Bundy family said on Tuesday.
Police say the couple held anti-government and white supremacist views, and that after killing the policemen at a pizza restaurant they shot and killed a man in a nearby store who tried to stop them. Amanda Miller, 22, then killed husband Jerad, 31, before taking her own life. [ID:nL2N0OQ12T]
They are believed to have acted alone on Sunday, but investigators are looking into any ties to right-wing extremist groups as well as any links to the Bunkerville ranch belonging to Bundy that in April became a magnet for anti-government militiamen.
The Bundy family said in a statement the Millers were at the protest site for a few days but were asked to leave and given a few hundred dollars by one militia leader after other demonstrators expressed concerns about Jerad's "aggressive nature and volatility."
"The money was given because the Millers said they had sold everything and had nothing to live on. The Bundy family was unaware of any of these actions until this week," the statement said.
"The horrific acts of these two individuals must be in no way condoned or repeated. ... No detail can ever explain why the Millers did what they did."
Bundy has resisted efforts by federal agents to seize his cattle grazing without permits on public land.
Investigators believe the Millers, who married in 2012 in Indiana, equated law enforcement with the Nazi movement and saw police as oppressors, even as they appeared to subscribe to white supremacist ideology themselves.
After ambushing the policemen as they ate lunch, the couple placed a swastika and a Revolutionary War-era banner bearing an image of a coiled snake and the slogan "Don't Tread on Me" onto the body of one of the officers, authorities said.
They also pinned a note to the other officer's corpse saying that the attack was "the beginning of the revolution."
(Reporting by Jennifer Dobner; Writing by Daniel Wallis; Editing by Will Dunham)