As police piece together information on the Las Vegas shooters following the deaths of two police officers and one bystander, details are emerging about what may have inspired the two shooters to open fire and kill three innocent people.
Reports are swirling that the Las Vegas shooters — a married couple new to the area in which the killings occurred — had far-right wing connections and even spent time at the Cliven Bundy ranch before the shootings.
At this juncture, details are sketchy, and only preliminary information without context is available about the shootings. However, the Las Vegas Review Journal reports that the shooters referenced a “revolution” and may have draped victims in a “Tea Party flag” during the deadly incident.
The paper explains:
“The shooters… stripped the officers of their weapons and ammunition and badges, according to a law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation. They then covered the officers with something that featured the Gadsden flag, a yellow banner with a coiled snake above the words, ‘don’t tread on me.’… The flag is named for Christopher Gadsden, a Revolutionary War general who designed it. It has recently come back in vogue as an adopted symbol of the American tea party movement.”
Neighbors of the unnamed couple suspected in the shootings say the pair were “weird,” and described them as “militant” and “obsessed with conspiracy theories.”
Sheriff Doug Gillespie confirms the two police officers shot to death were Alyn Beck, 41, and Igor Soldo, 31.
Gillespie said of the killings:
“They were ambushed… My officers were simply having lunch when the shooting started.”
The Sheriff also said:
“It’s a tragic day. But we will have a community to police, and we still have a community to protect. We will be out there doing it with our heads held high, but with an emptiness in our hearts.”
According to ThinkProgress, neighbors also say that the couple allegedly involved “had a reputation for spouting racist, anti-government views, bragging about their gun collection and boasting that they’d spent time at Cliven Bundy’s ranch during a recent standoff there between armed militia members and federal government agents.”
The site observes that this latest incident of violence in Las Vegas comes as the Department of Justice pledged to keep closer watch over domestic terror groups — with which the suspects may be linked.
Eric Holder said just days ago:
“We face an escalating danger from self-radicalized individuals within our own borders… Now — as the nature of the threat we face evolves to include the possibility of individual radicalization via the Internet — it is critical that we return our focus to potential extremists here at home.”
The Las Vegas shooters are believed to have taken their own lives after the Walmart shopper, who has not been identified in media reports, was shot.
[Image: Tea Party flag, CC]