Las Vegas official arrested in connection with murder of investigative journalist, newspaper says | New
Anger erupts in a Las Vegas newsroom – and questions swirl far beyond the freedom of the press in America – after a a county elected official was arrested Wednesday, in connection with the murder of a veteran journalist who had reported on the official’s alleged wrongdoing, according to his newspaper.
Clark County Public Administrator Robert Telles — the the subject of investigation reports by the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Jeff German — was arrested, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo told the Review-Journaldays after German was found stabbed to death outside his home.
“We are … outraged that a colleague appears to have been killed for reporting on an elected official. Journalists cannot do the important work that our communities need if they fear that a presentation of the facts result in violent reprisals,” the newspaper wrote. editor-in-chief Glenn Cook said in a statement on Wednesday.
Telles is suspected of murder and is scheduled to appear in court Thursday afternoon, according to Clark County Jail online records. Telles has not been publicly linked by police to German’s death; CNN has contacted the Las Vegas Metro Police Department and Telles’ office and is working to determine his legal representation.
“Las Vegas police acted quickly in identifying and arresting a suspect in the fatal assault of Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Jeff German,” said Carlos Martínez de la Serna, program director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, said in a statement Thursday. “Authorities must ensure that everyone involved in this terrible crime is identified and held accountable, and must make it clear that those who target journalists will be brought to justice.
Police are expected to provide further updates on their investigation on Thursday.
Uniformed officers and police vehicles were seen outside Telles’ home on Wednesday, according to local media. Las Vegas police confirmed that officers had issued search warrants for German’s death, but did not immediately provide additional information.
German had been working on a story on Telles the week he was killed, according to the Review-Journal. Earlier this year, Telles was the subject of articles detailing his surveillance of his office, and German reported Telles created a hostile work environment and had an inappropriate relationship with a staff member.
Telles denied the reports, the Review-Journal said. First elected to the position in 2018, Telles lost his re-election bid in a Democratic primary in June.
“The arrest of Robert Telles is both a huge relief and an outrage to the Review-Journal newsroom,” Cook, the publisher, said on Wednesday.
“We thank the Las Vegas police for their urgency and hard work and for immediately recognizing the terrible significance of Jeff’s murder. Now hopefully the Review-Journal, the German family and Jeff’s many friends can begin the process of grieving and honoring a great man and a brave journalist Godspeed, Jeff.
Killings of journalists are rare in the United States, and killings of journalists in retaliation for their work even rarer, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. Eight journalists have been murdered in the US since 1992 when the nonprofit started tracking, including four in a 2018 mass shooting in the newsroom of the Capital Gazette newspaper in Maryland, he said.
Police asked for the public’s help
German was discovered outside his home on Saturday morning, and police suspect the murder may have taken place earlier. Authorities have asked residents of the area to review all outdoor surveillance cameras Friday between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. to possibly better see a person who could have been involved in the murder.
According to Las Vegas police, a potential suspect “was potentially locking down the area for further crimes before the homicide occurred.” Surveillance footage of someone wearing a bright orange shirt and wide-brimmed hat has been released, along with a photo of what appears to be a brown GMC SUV.
Colleagues of German examining Google Maps noticed a brown SUV similar to the photo released by authorities in Telles’ driveway, said Arthur Kane, a Review-Journal reporter who had worked with German.
“Police came down and cordoned off the area, started searching his house,” Kane told CNN’s Erin Burnett on Wednesday. The SUV was registered to Telles’ wife, Kane said, and the vehicle was taken away by investigators.
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CNN’s Amir Vera, Jamiel Lynch, Nick Watt, Chuck Johnston, Elizabeth Joseph, Hannah Sarisohn and Satyam Kaswala contributed to this report.