Las Vegas investigative reporter found fatally stabbed outside home

LAS VEGAS, NEV. - MARCH 21: A view of the Las Vegas Strip, from the The Cosmopolitan Hotel on Thursday, March 21, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nev. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)
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Award-winning Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Jeff German was found fatally stabbed outside his home on Saturday morning, according to local media and police reports.

The Review-Journal reported that police responded to a 911 call around 10:30 a.m. Saturday and found German, 69, dead outside his home with stab wounds. Police believed German was in an altercation before the stabbing, and that it appeared to be an isolated incident.

Police were searching for a suspect Sunday, according to the Associated Press.

“It is shocking and incomprehensible for everyone in our newsroom. It’s a huge blow. Jeff was a beloved, looked-up-to, trusted and incredibly valuable person in our organization,” executive editor Glenn Cook said in an interview. “And it goes without saying that we are going to miss him terribly and it’s simply not going to be the same coming back into the newsroom and him not being a part of it.”

Cook said that German hadn’t communicated any concerns over his safety to the paper’s leadership team.

“It’s our hope that they find this person very quickly so that we can get answers to all the questions that we have as his colleagues and friends, as it relates to the work we all do,” he said.

German was previously a longtime columnist and reporter for the Las Vegas Sun, where he covered courts, politics, labor, government and organized crime, according to his biography. He joined the Review-Journal in 2010, where his investigative work spanned stories on organized crime, political corruption and government failures.

Cook said German’s “bread and butter” was “breaking big stories,” with many of his investigations leading to significant reforms.

“It is very difficult to imagine what Las Vegas would be like today if not for all of his accountability reporting over the last few decades,” he said. “Jeff was not one of these larger-than-life personalities in the newsroom. But you could tell he had almost this kind of grouchy streak and if he was walking around the newsroom with a furrow in his forehead, you knew something big was up and that he was close. That’s how you knew Jeff was about to break a big one.”

"We were saddened to hear of Jeff German’s death. Looking at the body of his work over the years, it’s clear he had a major impact on Las Vegas and Clark County," Diana R. Fuentes, executive director of Investigative Reporters and Editors, wrote in an email to The Times. "He was doing what all of us as journalists aspire to do: hold those in power accountable and give voice to the voiceless."

German was the author of a 2001 organized-crime book, "Murder in Sin City: The Death of a Las Vegas Casino Boss,” and was the writer and host for the second season of the Review-Journal's true-crime podcast “Mobbed Up: The Fight for Vegas."

In 2017, German broke news that the Mandalay Bay mass shooter targeted jet fuel tanks before spraying bullets from his hotel room on a country music festival crowd on the Las Vegas Strip, killing dozens of people, according to the Review-Journal.

"Shocked to learn of the death of longtime Las Vegas reporter Jeff German. This was a senseless act of violence. Loss of life in this manner is always shocking and must stop. We will be closely following the police investigation," Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman wrote on Twitter.

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak called German "tough but fair," and "a great mentor to young reporters."

Cook said German was unmarried and did not have children, but did have surviving siblings.

German’s colleagues will continue covering the story, Cook said, from the moment a suspect is arrested to the prosecution and adjudication of any case.

“We are going to be intensely reminded of his killing for a long time. And that’s hard,” Cook said, adding that the paper’s leadership is in the process of making grief counseling available to staff.

German's colleagues flooded social media to remember his work and presence in the newsroom. They characterized German as a dogged reporter with a passion for digging up the kind of stories that hold powerful people accountable and inspire changes in policy.

"Mourning my gifted friend and colleague," Rhonda Prast, the paper's assistant managing editor for investigations and engagement, wrote on Twitter. "So proud to have worked with you for the past 3 years on the I-team. A huge loss for me and #LasVegas."

“Jeff loved his job,” Cook said. “He loved being an investigative journalist. It’s all he wanted to do. And people like that are irreplaceable.”

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.