A county official in Las Vegas was arrested on a murder charge on Wednesday, hours after the police searched his home in connection with the fatal stabbing of a reporter at The Las Vegas Review-Journal, the district attorney said.
The official, Robert Telles, the Clark County public administrator, was taken into custody in the killing of the reporter, Jeff German, according to the Clark County district attorney, Steven B. Wolfson.
Mr. Telles was wheeled out on a stretcher and loaded into an ambulance after the police returned to his home in tactical gear, The Review-Journal reported.
“The suspect in the homicide that occurred on September 2, 2022, has been taken into custody,” the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department wrote on Twitter on Wednesday night, without naming the person. The department said it planned to provide an update on the investigation at a news conference on Thursday morning.
Mr. Telles, a Democrat elected in 2018, lost a June primary after he was the focus of investigative stories by Mr. German, who detailed claims that Mr. Telles had presided over a hostile work environment and had engaged in an “inappropriate relationship” with a staff member. Mr. Telles and the staff member denied the accusations.
Mr. German, 69, was found fatally stabbed outside his home in Las Vegas on Saturday morning. The police believe he was killed after an altercation on Friday.
“The arrest of Robert Telles is at once an enormous relief and an outrage for the Review-Journal newsroom,” Glenn Cook, The Review-Journal’s executive editor, said in a statement on Wednesday night.
“We are relieved Robert Telles is in custody and outraged that a colleague appears to have been killed for reporting on an elected official,” Mr. Cook said. “Journalists can’t do the important work our communities require if they are afraid a presentation of facts could lead to violent retribution.”
He thanked the Las Vegas police for responding to the killing with urgency and hard work.
“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,” Mr. Cook said.
Mr. Telles did not respond earlier on Wednesday to phone messages, texts and emails, and it was unclear if he had a lawyer.
The Review-Journal reported that after his home was searched, Mr. Telles had returned at about 2:20 p.m. local time, wearing what appeared to be a white hazmat suit. He did not respond to reporters’ questions as he entered his garage and closed the door, the newspaper reported.
Earlier Wednesday, the police would not confirm that they were searching Mr. Telles’s home.
In a statement, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department would confirm only that it was serving search warrants related to the investigation into Mr. German’s death. “No further information will be provided at this time,” the statement said.
“They’ve been here all day, since about 7 a.m.,” David Zanella, a neighbor who lives two doors from Mr. Telles, said in a phone interview earlier on Wednesday. “They towed both of the cars from the house, and they’ve been in the house, taking things.”
On Tuesday, the Police Department released a video that it said showed the person who killed Mr. German wearing a wide-brimmed hat and a reflective orange jacket. The video also showed the person’s vehicle, which appeared to be a red or maroon GMC Yukon Denali, the police said.
The Review-Journal reported that a vehicle matching the description of the Yukon Denali had been towed from Mr. Telles’s property on Wednesday.
The police have not said whether they believe that Mr. German was targeted because of his reporting. At a news conference on Tuesday, Capt. Dori Koren of the Police Department said that investigators were evaluating every single lead and every theory.
“We are exploring all possibilities in this investigation,” Captain Koren said. “But at this time, we believe we have evidence that shows that the suspect was in the area prior to the homicide, and it appears that they were casing to commit other crimes.”
He asked the public for home security video or other information that could help identify the person responsible for killing Mr. German, whose career as a columnist and a senior investigative reporter spanned more than three decades.
Over that period, Mr. German broke stories on organized crime, politics, casinos and corruption for The Las Vegas Sun and then for The Review-Journal.
This year, Mr. German wrote investigative stories about Mr. Telles’s office, which secures the property of deceased people and administers estates in court.
In May, Mr. German reported that the office had been “mired in turmoil and internal dissension over the past two years, with allegations of emotional stress, bullying and favoritism leading to secret videotaping of the boss and a co-worker outside the office.”
The story, based on interviews with a half-dozen current and former employees, described a “hostile work environment” and accusations that Mr. Telles had engaged in an “inappropriate relationship” with a staff member.
In the story, Mr. Telles blamed “a handful of old-timers” for exaggerating the relationship and for falsely claiming that he had been mistreating them. “All my new employees are super happy, and everyone’s productive and doing well,” Mr. Telles was quoted as saying.
In another story in late May, Mr. German reported that Clark County managers had hired a former coroner to try to ease tensions in the office.
After the June primary, Mr. Telles posted a letter online criticizing The Review-Journal and rebutting claims made in Mr. German’s reporting. Mr. Telles also wrote about Mr. German on Twitter.
“Typical bully,” Mr. Telles wrote. “Can’t take a pound of critism after slinging 100 pounds of BS. Up to article #4 now. You’d think he’d have better things to do.” He included an emoji of a winking face with a tongue sticking out.
After Mr. German was killed, Mr. Cook told the paper that Mr. German had not communicated any concerns for his safety or any threats made against him.
“There are no words for a loss like this,” Mr. Cook wrote on Twitter on Sept. 4.
Sheelagh McNeill contributed research.