Authorities have arrested Ammon Bundy and other anti-government protesters after a shooting in Eastern Oregon. Killed in the confrontation was Arizona rancher Robert “LeVoy” Finicum, who had acted as a group spokesman.
Officials on Wednesday morning set up checkpoints and closed routes into the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
Authorities have arrested Ammon Bundy, a leader in the anti-government occupation at an Oregon wildlife refuge, and other protesters after a shooting Tuesday, according to a statement from the FBI and Oregon State Police.
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The officers began an “enforcement action” around 4:25 p.m. along Highway 395 to bring the group into custody, according to a joint statement from the two agencies. During that arrest, shots were fired, though it’s unclear by whom.
Killed in the confrontation was Arizona rancher Robert “LeVoy” Finicum, who had acted as a spokesman for the group of self-styled defenders of the Constitution, Nevada state Assemblywoman Michele Fiore — who spoke with Ammon Bundy’s wife — told the Los Angeles Times.
Ammon Bundy’s brother, Ryan Bundy, 43, of Bunkerville, Nev., suffered a minor gunshot wound and was taken into custody after medical treatment, according to The Oregonian.
The protesters for weeks had occupied a building at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. The remote Eastern Oregon area is about 280 miles southeast of Portland.
Activists moved into the building on Jan. 2 after tension built over the case of Dwight Hammond, 73, and his son, Steven Hammond, 46, who said they set fires on federal land in 2001 and 2006 to reduce growth of invasive plants and protect their property from wildfires.
The two were convicted three years ago and served time — the father, three months; the son, one year. But in October, a federal judge in Oregon ruled their terms were too short under U.S. law and ordered them back to prison for about four years each.
The group says the Hammonds’ case is emblematic of onerous federal land-use policies that make it difficult for ranchers, loggers and others in the West. They have portrayed the refuge as a symbol of federal tyranny in the rural West, and demanded the land be placed under local control.
Besides the Bundys, those arrested Tuesday along Highway 395 outside of Burns include: Brian Cavalier, 44, of Bunkerville, Nev.; Shawna Cox, 59, of Kanab, Utah; and Ryan Waylen Payne, 32, of Anaconda, Mont.
Standoff in Oregon
In a separate incident in Burns, Harney County, around 5:50 p.m., police arrested Joseph Donald O’Shaughnessy, 45, of Cottonwood, Ariz. About an hour later, the FBI also arrested Peter Santilli, 50, of Cincinnati, Ohio.
After news of those arrests, the FBI said Jon Eric Ritzheimer, 32, turned himself in to police in Peoria, Ariz. He was among the most visible of the occupiers.
The Seattle Times usually does not name suspects unless they have been charged, but is doing so in this case because the suspects and their cause have been widely publicized.
Ammon Bundy and some of his group had been expected Tuesday night at a community meeting in John Day, Oregon, where he was to be the guest speaker.
The group was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to impede officers from “discharging their official duties through the use of force, intimidation or threats” and face federal felony charges, according to the statement.
After the arrests, federal law-enforcement officers converged on the refuge.