“This is a terrible and jarring homicide that has deeply impacted Las Vegas. Every murder is tragic but the killing of a journalist is particularly troublesome,” Lombardo said in a news conference Thursday, offering his condolences to German’s family, friends and colleagues at the Review-Journal.
“We are … outraged that a colleague appears to have been killed for reporting on an elected official. Journalists can’t do the important work our communities require if they are afraid a presentation of facts could lead to violent retribution,” the newspaper’s executive editor, Glenn Cook, said Wednesday in a statement.
Telles has a court appearance scheduled for Thursday afternoon, online Clark County Jail records show. CNN has reached out to the Las Vegas Metro Police Department and to Telles’ office and is working to determine his legal representation.
German was discovered outside his home Saturday morning, though police believe the killing occurred a day prior.
According to LVMPD Homicide and Sex Crimes Bureau Captain Dori Koren, the suspect approached German’s home on Friday and went to the side of the house. German came outside soon after and went to the side of the home, where, Koren said Thursday, investigators believe an altercation occurred and German was stabbed multiple times.
Telles, who lost reelection in June, was identified as a person of interest early in the investigation, as authorities discovered neighborhood surveillance footage capturing a vehicle seen at Telles’ house before and after German’s killing, Koren said. The vehicle, registered to Telles’ wife, was also seen at German’s house at the time of his death.
“We ultimately developed video evidence to show that the vehicle, the GMC Denali parked in front of Telles’ home departed around 9 a.m. in the morning on the day of the murder, and returned around 12 p.m. just after the murder, which matched our timeline,” Koren said.
Surveillance footage released over the weekend showed a suspect wearing a straw hat and orange shirt, and investigators found a matching hat during a search of Telles’ home. The hat had been cut, Koren said, as if in an effort to conceal evidence.
Investigators also discovered blood on a pair of shoes that had been cut, “likely in a manner to try to destroy evidence,” Koren said. In addition, Telles’ DNA matched DNA found at the crime scene, he said.
Arrest is both a ‘relief’ and an ‘outrage’ for victim’s newsroom
Telles denied the reports, the Review-Journal said. First elected to the office in 2018, Telles lost his bid for reelection in a June Democratic primary.
Telles also stated that he sought legal counsel in an effort to seek legal action against the newspaper but ultimately came to the conclusion that “suing a newspaper, like the Las Vegas Review-Journal, is near impossible.”
Telles also posted several tweets regarding German and his reporting.
In his own statement Wednesday, Cook, the newspaper editor, said Telles’ arrest was “at once an enormous relief and an outrage or the Review-Journal newsroom.”
“We thank Las Vegas police for their urgency and hard work and for immediately recognizing the terrible significance of Jeff’s killing. Now, hopefully, the Review-Journal, the German family and Jeff’s many friends can begin the process of mourning and honoring a great man and a brave reporter. Godspeed, Jeff.”
Victim’s colleagues were instrumental in investigation
Early on, authorities were focused on making sure German’s death wasn’t linked to a burglary in addition to “looking at any work-related grievances or conflicts” related to his reporting, Koren said.
“We knew that as an investigative reporter he had written several articles and there were different allegations and statements about potential people that would be upset about it,” he said.
The Review-Journal was instrumental in providing information that helped investigators, Lombardo said Thursday, particularly in outlining what “cases” German “was working previously and currently.”
German’s death was “troublesome,” Lombardo said Thursday.
“We expect journalism to be open and transparent and watchdog for government. And when people take it upon themselves to create harm associated with that profession, I think it’s very important that we put all eyes on it and address the case appropriately,” he said, “such as we did in this case, with this expediency associated with it.”
Coworkers of German reviewing Google Maps noted in Telles’ driveway a maroon SUV similar in look to the photo released by authorities, said Arthur Kane, a reporter for the Review-Journal who’d worked with German.
“The police came down and roped off the area, started searching his house,” Kane told CNN’s Erin Burnett on Wednesday. The SUV was the one registered to Telles’ wife, Kane said, and the vehicle was taken away by investigators.
In the meantime, the investigation remains ongoing, Lombardo said Thursday, and authorities are still following up on “several leads” to “put to bed other allegations.”
CNN’s Paradise Afshar, Carroll Alvarado, Amir Vera, Jamiel Lynch, Nick Watt, Elizabeth Joseph, Hannah Sarisohn and Satyam Kaswala contributed to this report.