AFRICANGLOBE – The pair who fatally shot two Las Vegas police officers and one civilian before taking their own lives Sunday are believed to be a married couple who possessed White supremacist paraphernalia and spoke of targeting police officers.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported late Sunday that officers were searching a small apartment complex about four miles from the Cici’s Pizza restaurant where the officers were killed and the Walmart where the two killed one other person before executing an apparent suicide pact.
The identities of the suspects have not been officially released, but a law enforcement official close to the investigation told the Review-Journal that the suspects were married, in their 20s, and new to the area. The paper reported that investigators found swastika symbols during their search of the apartment. Several neighbors the paper spoke to said the man’s first name was Jared, while one person gave the women’s name as Amanda.
Neighbor Krista Koch described the couple as “militant,” saying they talked about planning to kill police officers, as well as “going underground” and not coming out until the time was right.
Another neighbor, Brandon Monroe, said the man who lived in the apartment often talked about conspiracy theories and often dressed in camouflage or as Peter Pan to work as a street performer. Monroe added that he thought the couple used methamphetamine.
Police were called to the restaurant about five miles northeast of the Las Vegas Strip at 11:22 a.m. local time Sunday. Sheriff Doug Gillespie identified the two officers as Alyn Beck, 41, and Igor Soldo, 31. He said one of the officers was able to fire back at the suspects before dying.
Sheree Burns told the Las Vegas Sun that she was eating at the restaurant, seated just behind the two officers.
A man came up to one of the officers and shot him in the head, Burns said. She said she ducked under her table but peeked up and saw the other officer being shot.
The suspects then grabbed the officers’ weapons and ammunition and stormed out of the pizzeria, Assistant Sheriff Kevin McMahill told KVVU Fox 5. The Review-Journal reported that the pair covered the officers with a cloth that featured the Gadsden flag, which features a coiled snake with the words “Don’t Tread on Me.” Both officers were pronounced dead at University Medical Center.
The suspects then fled to the Walmart across the street, where they shot and killed a person at the front door and then killed themselves in an apparent suicide pact, Hadfield said. The identity of the civilian was not released, but the Review-Journal reported that it was a woman.
Clark County Assistant Sheriff Kevin McMahill said at a news conference that the male suspect yelled “everyone get out” before shooting at Walmart. The man and woman then went to the back of the store.
Officers burst into the store and came in contact with the duo and exchanged gunfire, Gillespie said. After a brief lull in the gunfire, it appeared that the female shot the male suspect and then took her own life, he added.
One of the suspects yelled: “This is a revolution,” Hadfield said. A motive for the shooting remains under investigation, he said.
“I think in any case where people are ambushed and shot it’s upsetting to the public,” Hadfield told reporters. “We don’t know anything about the suspects yet and are trying to learn more.”
Gillespie said the events mark a “tragic” and “very difficult” day for the department, but his staff is determined to continue serving the community.
“We will be out there doing it with our heads held high but with emptiness in our hearts,” he said.
Beck had been with the department since 2001 and leaves behind a wife and three children. Soldo had been with the force since 2006 and is survived by a wife and baby, police said.
Soldo was described as a good father and a “great guy” by his sister-in-law, Colleen Soldo of Beatrice, Nebraska. She said he attended high school in Lincoln, Nebraska, and previously worked as a corrections officer.
“Today is a tragic day for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and our entire community, Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nevada, said in a statement. “My thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by today’s senseless shooting, especially the family and friends of the victims. I have offered my assistance to Sheriff Douglas Gillespie and will continue to be in close contact with the Las Vegas Police Department as the situation develops.”
The restaurant and Walmart remained closed as detectives processed evidence.
Walmart issued a statement saying it’s working with police on the investigation. Cici’s Pizza said in a statement the company was deeply saddened by the shooting and would keep the location closed until further notice.
“We express our deepest condolences to everyone who has been affected by this senseless act of violence,” Walmart spokesman Brooke Buchanan said.
Pauline Pacheco was shopping at Walmart when she saw the armed man and grabbed her father to escape, KLAS-TV reported.
“We saw when the man was walking, he was shouting, yelling bad words, and suddenly he had a gun,” she told the station. “It was terrible, it was terrible. That man was crazy.”
Gov. Brian Sandoval said in a statement he was devastated by the murders of the two officers and an innocent bystander in an “act of senseless violence.”
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman said in a statement that the “pain was evident and clear” among police gathered at University Medical Center.
“Their resolve was greater than ever to serve our community with loyalty, dedication and to honor the memory of their two comrades and friends,” she said.
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