LAFAYETTE – The father of a Lafayette woman who police say went on a shooting rampage with her husband in Las Vegas spoke to Fox59 about visiting the scene for the first time.
Police say Amanda and Jerad Miller opened fire inside a Las Vegas pizza restaurant on June 9, killing two police officers who were having lunch. Police said the Millers then ran to a nearby Walmart and killed a shopper at the store’s entrance. It was inside the store, that Amanda turned the gun on herself and Jerad was killed by police.
Amanda’s father, Todd Woodruff, said he remembered feeling something was wrong that day.
“I didn’t know what was going on, but I had a bad headache. And I had to come in and lay down and I stayed down all day,” he recalled. “I knew when (my wife) said the police was at the front door… I knew.”
Woodruff has tried to wrap his mind around why his daughter would do something so horrific. He remembers her as a completely different person, but knew her husband was not a good influence on her.
“I raised her the best we could. She was a great person until she left.”
Since the shooting, he’d often wanted to go to Las Vegas to pick up anything left behind by his daughter, but couldn’t afford it. Then an animal activist group contacted his family about Amanda’s two cats left behind. They wanted to help return them to Indiana.
Nevada Voters For Animals found the cats, Leo and Oreo, a foster home and then raised money on a crowd funding site to make arrangements for Woodruff to come pick them up. People are still donating here to help with their medical costs.
“It just exploded,” said Woodruff. “The next thing I know I’m on a plane to Vegas.”
On Friday, Woodruff landed in Nevada and began a grueling one day journey tracing the footsteps of his daughter. He visited the restaurant where the two officers died and placed flowers at the front door for the victims. He also went to the Wal-Mart where, police say, his daughter shot herself in the head.
“Feels like a lot of hurt,” he said.
When he left, he felt like he could hear Amanda’s voice.
“She apologized. She just said ‘I’m sorry, Dad. I didn’t mean to disappoint you.’”
It’s an apology Woodruff knows many won’t accept, but one he continues to make on his daughter’s behalf.
“I know the world won’t probably ever forgive her, but I have to. I’m her dad. I can’t get her back so I don’t have a choice,” he said. “I’m sure she left a scar on Vegas, but Vegas left a scar on me too.”
He returned to Indiana late Friday night with his daughter’s two cats. It’s where they belong, he said, a small piece of his Amanda that gives him some peace.
“That was the last thing we had of Amanda…” he said as he reflected on his trip. “It was very surreal out there; especially the cats. When I saw them, it was just happy.”