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Law & Justice

Authorities Make Arrests In Oregon Standoff, One Dead

burns_checkpoint_malhuer.jpg
Bradley Parks
/
OPB

 

The latest on an armed group that took over buildings at a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon (all times local):

12:49 p.m. Wednesday

A rancher who was killed during a traffic stop while in Oregon for an armed standoff at a wildlife refuge recently vowed he would die before going to prison.

Fifty-five-year-old LaVoy Finicum of Cain Beds, Arizona, died after law enforcement officers initiated the stop Tuesday night near the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

It's unclear what happened in the moments before the shooting, or if Finicum or others exchanged gunfire with officers. Authorities wouldn't say how many shots were fired.

On Jan. 5, Finicum told reporters at the refuge that he learned there was a warrant for his arrest. With rifle in hand, he said he would die before spending the last of his days in a cell.

The traffic stop happened as group leader Ammon Bundy and his followers drove to a community meeting in the town of John Day. Bundy and seven other occupiers were arrested.

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11:40 a.m.

A local sheriff got emotional as he urged the armed activists still occupying a national wildlife preserve in Oregon to move on, saying the standoff "has been tearing our community apart."

Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward, who polices the region where the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is located, said at a news conference Wednesday that "there doesn't have to be bloodshed in our community."

A traffic stop outside the refuge Tuesday night ended with eight arrests and the death of one man.

He says law enforcement worked hard to create a plan to peacefully end the occupation of more than three weeks. The group is protesting federal land policy.

Ward says the death didn't have to happen. He called on people to work through appropriate channels to air their grievances, saying, "We don't arm up and rebel."

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11:25 a.m.

Authorities say the armed group occupying the national wildlife preserve in Oregon was given "ample opportunity" to leave peacefully.

Greg Bretzing, the FBI's Portland special agent in charge, said at a news conference Wednesday that authorities took a deliberate and measured response to those who took over Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on Jan. 2. He says they're working to safely remove those who are still occupying the site.

Bretzing says authorities tried to conduct a traffic stop safely and away from local residents Tuesday night, which ended with eight arrests and the death of one man.

He wouldn't release specifics about the death, saying only that the man died as authorities tried to take him into custody.

Bretzing says the activists "have chosen to threaten and intimidate the America they profess to love."

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10:45 a.m.

Some witnesses say a man killed by police had charged at authorities during the arrests of armed activists occupying an Oregon wildlife refuge and others say he complied with orders.

Authorities say a man died when officers opened fire during a traffic stop Tuesday. The daughter of Robert "LaVoy" Finicum tells the Oregonian it was the Arizona rancher.

Police have not detailed what led to the shooting or if Finicum or any of the other ranchers exchanged gunfire with officers.

Mark McConnell says he drove one of the vehicles stopped by authorities and that Finicum was in another and "charged" at officers.

McConnell said in a video posted to Facebook that the rancher took off and authorities pursued.

He says he didn't see the shooting, but others in the group said he charged after law enforcement.

A message was left Wednesday at a phone number believed to belong to McConnell.

Briana Bundy, group leader Ammon Bundy's sister-in-law, said Finicum and others "did everything they asked, and they murdered him."

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7:35 a.m. Wednesday

The FBI has established checkpoints around a national wildlife preserve in Oregon where some armed activists still are believed to be holed up, saying the decision came out of "an abundance of caution."

Authorities arrested the leaders of the small group that has been occupying Malheur National Wildlife Refuge for more than three weeks during a traffic stop where gunfire erupted and one man was killed late Tuesday.

Jason Patrick, a new leader of the occupation, told Oregon Public Broadcasting that five or six members of the group agreed to continue the standoff.

The FBI said early Wednesday that anyone leaving the refuge will have to show identification and submit to a vehicle search. Only ranchers who live in the area surrounding the preserve will be allowed to pass the checkpoints.

 

10:10 p.m. Tuesday

The Oregonian reports that an Arizona rancher was killed when authorities arrested leaders of an armed group that has been occupying a national wildlife refuge.

Authorities did not identify the person killed, saying only that it was an adult male who died in an "officer involved shooting" during law officers' confrontation with Ammon Bundy and his followers during a traffic stop outside Burns, Oregon.

However Arianna Finicum Brown told the Portland, Oregon, newspaper that the man killed was her father, 55-year-old Robert "LaVoy" Finicum of Cane Beds, Arizona. LaVoyFinicum was a frequent and public presence at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, often speaking for the group at news conferences.

9:15 p.m.

The FBI says one of the occupiers of the wildlife refuge in Oregon has surrendered to police in Arizona, raising the total number of arrests to eight.

FBI said Jon Eric Ritzheimer turned himself in Tuesday night at the police department in Peoria, Arizona.

Like the others who were arrested, Ritzheimer faces a felony charge of conspiracy to impede federal officials in their official duties through the use of force, intimidation or threats.

The 32-year-old Ritzheimer was among the most visible of the occupiers at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

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8:40 p.m.

Authorities say the person who died in law officers' confrontation with Ammon Bundy and his followers is an adult male.

The Harney County Sheriff's Office gave no other information on the deceased.

The FBI had earlier said an individual "who was a subject of a federal probable cause arrest is deceased."

The FBI meanwhile said a defendant who had been injured during the Tuesday confrontation was treated at a hospital and was released into FBI custody. The person was not identified.

The Harney County Sheriff's Office said no law enforcement personnel were injured.

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8 p.m.

The FBI has announced another arrest in the confrontation with Ammon Bundy and his followers, bringing the total number of those arrested to seven.

The FBI said 50-year-old Peter Santilli of Cincinnati, Ohio was arrested at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in Burns.

Santilli has been operating an online talk-radio show during the occupation of the wildlife refuge.

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7:50 p.m.

The FBI says Ammon Bundy and the others who were arrested face felony charges of conspiracy to impede the duties of federal officials through the use of "force, intimidation, or threats."

The FBI also said it continues to work with the Harney County sheriff, Oregon State Police and the U.S. Attorney's office to address any other issues.

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6:55 p.m.

Authorities say shots were fired during the arrest of members of an armed group that has occupied a national wildlife refuge in Oregon for more than three weeks.

In a statement Tuesday, the FBI said one individual "who was a subject of a federal probable cause arrest is deceased." No other information about the deceased was immediately released.

The FBI said authorities arrested Ammon Bundy, 40, his brother Ryan Bundy, 43, Brian Cavalier, 44, Shawna Cox, 59, and Ryan Payne, 32, during a traffic stop Tuesday afternoon on U.S. Highway 395. Authorities said another person, Joseph Donald O'Shaughnessy, 45, was arrested in Burns.

Bundy's group, which has included people from as far away as Arizona and Michigan, seized the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on Jan. 2 as part of a long-running dispute over public lands in the West.

Bundy is the son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who was involved in a high-profile 2014 standoff with the government over grazing rights.

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6:40 p.m.

A more than 50-mile stretch of highway in Oregon has been closed near where an armed group has been occupying a national wildlife refuge.

The Oregon Department of Transportation reported on its website that U.S. 395 was closed between the towns of Burns and John Day on Tuesday evening. The Oregonian reports that there had been a meeting scheduled between some members of the group and local residents in John Day on Tuesday night.

Federal and state law enforcement did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

A group led by Ammon Bundy seized the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge south of Burns on Jan. 2 as part of a long-running dispute over public lands in the West.

Bundy is the son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who was involved in a high-profile 2014 standoff with the government over grazing rights.