A Democrat county official in Nevada, Rob Telles, was arrested on suspicion of murder on Wednesday in the grisly Friday slaying of Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Jeff German. Telles had once written to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) “There are folks on the other side that really want us at each other’s throats.”
After police searched his house and seized his vehicles (one resembling that driven by the suspected killer), Telles reportedly went into his garage dressed in what appeared to be a white hazmat suit and shut the door. When he refused to answer to police, a Las Vegas Police Department SWAT team was dispatched, which then made the arrest. Telles was taken out of his house on a stretcher.
Clark County Public Administrator Robert Telles, an advocate for gun control and an avid Warren supporter, is said to have lost his primary election in June to fellow Democrat Rita Reid, partly as a result of the victim’s investigative reporting.
Reid told the Daily Beast that German “was willing to speak truth to power and it cost him his life.”
In a series of articles investigating allegations of misconduct and unethical behavior, German had detailed hostilities, inappropriate relations, and “turmoil” inside Telles’ county office, citing “allegations of emotional stress, bullying and favoritism leading to secret videotaping of the boss and a co-worker outside the office.”
Telles had repeatedly denied the allegations and took to Twitter to repudiate German.
German’s body was found outside his home on Saturday, six miles away from Telles’ house. The Clark County coroner ruled German’s death a homicide resulting from “multiple sharp force injuries.”
On September 5, the Las Vegas Metro Police Department released images of the suspect and his vehicle, noting they had “been working non-stop to identify and apprehend” the person responsible for German’s killing. The images showed an individual in a reflective orange shirt and a broad-brimmed straw hat carrying a bag. The vehicle depicted was a maroon GMC Yukon Denali.
An investigation into German’s murder prompted Las Vegas police to execute a search warrant at the home of Telles Wednesday morning. When conducting their search, police also shut down nearby roads.
At the Telles residence, police found and towed two vehicles, one of which was similar to the murder suspect’s GMC. During their search, police also determined German’s killing might have been related to the journalist’s work exposing “public wrongdoing.” German was reportedly planning a post-election follow-up story about Telles before he was cut down.
Telles arrived home at 2:20 p.m., hours after police had searched his house and towed his vehicle. Ignoring reporters’ questions, he shut himself inside his garage wearing “a white hazmat suit.” When an LVMPD police officer knocked on the front door, Telles refused to answer.
Las Vegas SWAT police soon arrived on the scene in armored vehicles. Footage of Telles being carried out of his house and into an ambulance circulated ahead of Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo’s announcement d 6:30 p.m. that Telles had been arrested.
The LVMPD tweeted at 9:45 p.m. that the “suspect in the homicide that occurred on September 2, 2022, has been taken into custody.”
The executive editor of German’s paper, Glenn Cook, said, “The arrest of Robert Telles is at once an enormous relief and an outrage. … We are relieved Telles is in custody and outraged that a colleague appears to have been killed for reporting on an elected official.”
Cook noted further, “Journalists can’t do the important work our communities require if they are afraid a presentation of facts could lead to violent retribution.” After thanking Las Vegas police for taking swift action, Cook indicated “the German family and Jeff’s many friends can begin the process of mourning and honoring a great man and a brave reporter.”
German reported on courts, politics, government, and organized crime at the Review-Journal since 2010. He had previously worked for over twenty years at the Las Vegas Sun.