Todd Woodruff said he will always think of his daughter Amanda as a young girl, baby teeth glistening in a hopeful ear-to-ear smile. It was that girl who grew into a kind teenager who once made him drive to a neighboring town to get help for an injured bird.
On Monday the image of the child was supplanted by a more recent picture of Amanda Miller -- born Amanda Woodruff -- on her Facebook page, heavily made up as a cartoonish vamp.
Amanda, 22, and her husband, Jerad Miller, 31, have been identified by police as the couple behind the shooting rampage in Las Vegas on Sunday that left two police officers and a shopper dead.
“She was my sunshine and now she's gone, and I just don't think that I'll be able to get over it,” said Todd Woodruff, 48, of Lafayette. “That son of a bitch took my sunshine. He ought to be glad he's dead or else I'm chasing him down.”
It was Amanda, police said, who shot several times at the officers, killed the Wal-Mart shopper and finally, under fire from police, shot her husband and then herself, bringing the day’s death toll to five.
Authorities are still looking for a motive, but believed the pair shared an ideology with “militia and white supremacists,” including the belief that law enforcement was the “oppressor.”
A 2011 Facebook page revealed a darker side of Amanda, in which she warned that "the people of the world" are "lucky I can’t kill you now but remember one day I will get you because one day all hell will break loose and I’ll be standing in the middle of it with a shotgun in one hand and a pistol in the other.”
But as far as her father is concerned, the problem was all Jerad Miller’s. Woodruff said he begged his daughter not to marry the man who was obsessed with far right-wing movements like Patriot Nation.
“She just said, 'I love him, Dad,'“ Woodruff said, speaking on the patio out front of a modest house in Lafayette, where his daughter was raised. “I told her, 'If you really love him that much, I'll try to put up with him. But if I ever see a mark on you from him, I'll kill him.”
Amanda, who grew up in Lafayette, was a good student at Jefferson High School where she played the violin. Woodruff said Amanda met Jerad on a visit to a flea market where he worked as a cashier.
Woodruff minced no words about the wedding.
“I didn’t even want to be there,” he said. “The only reason I was there was because I wanted to walk my daughter down the aisle for the first time. But I puked my head off in the bathroom beforehand because I so didn’t want her to marry him.”
Nor did he want her to move to Las Vegas. At the time, the couple was staying with the Woodruffs after giving up their apartment. Amanda was working at Hobby Lobby and was going to transfer to the Las Vegas store, he said.
“She said there was something out there, some movement she wanted to be a part of,” Woodruff said.
Woodruff said he thought she might have been getting involved in politics. He said he learned on Monday from the FBI that she had lost her job at Hobby Lobby after she did not show up for work because she and her husband had traveled to be part of the standoff between rancher Cliven Bundy and the Bureau of Land Management.
“I begged her not to marry him, I begged her not to move to Las Vegas,” Woodruff said “He was into all this Patriot Nation and conspiracy theory stuff, and the next thing I know her phone was getting shut off and she was getting isolated from us.”
“The whole world was against him and he was just, he was just nuts. He got kicked out of his family’s house, they wouldn’t talk to him, it was just that far out,” Woodruff said.
Woodruff said he last spoke to his daughter on Friday, after an exchange of online messages.
“I talked to her Friday for the first time in about a month and she seemed happy and fine and everything,” he said. “And then the police show up at 7 o’clock this morning and told us what happened.”
“Even though I’ve seen the pictures and I’ve seen everything else I still don’t believe it. It wasn’t her. I just don’t know what kind of hold he had on her.”
Woodruff said what happened in Las Vegas makes no sense to him.
“It wasn’t her, I just don’t know what the hell happened, especially after I talked to her Friday,” he said. “She was asking about the cats, asking about the dogs, wondered how everything was going with my neck because I had neck surgery in December just before they left. Asking about the neighbors, asking about this and that.”
“We talked about a half hour, that was the last time I talked to her,” Woodruff said. “We talked about flying out there for a few days, maybe a week, in August, and that was it.”
Connie Kennedy of Lafayette said the Millers lived in the house across the street from her for about a year and a half.
"She was nice, I mean, she was a really sweet girl," Kennedy said. "He was kind of out there, but nothing-oh my gosh-nothing that would make it seem like he do something like this."
Kennedy said that she was on her way home late last year when she turned onto her street and saw a police officer with his gun drawn and pointed toward the Miller's home.
The next day, she asked Amanda what had happened.
"She said, ‘Oh they’re after him. He always thinks they’re after him,' " Kennedy said. "She just kind of rolled her eyes.”
"He was different. He would, like, come outside and take pictures of planes or the sky, and he'd say stuff like, ‘See how they're polluting our air with all that junk in the sky,' and he'd go on and on about the environment."
Kennedy said she could have envisioned Jerad Miller being involved “'in some weird crap, but not her. He must have brainwashed her or something."
Walberg reported from Indiana, Muskal from Los Angeles
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