Authorities surround nature preserve after arrests, shooting

BURNS, Ore. -- The Oregon nature preserve being occupied by an armed anti-government group was surrounded by law-enforcement agents Wednesday, a day after one of the occupiers was killed by officers during a traffic stop and eight others, including the group's leader Ammon Bundy, were arrested.

See Full Article

The confrontation came amid increasing calls for authorities to take action against Bundy for the illegal occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, which was seized by the group on Jan. 2 in a bid to force the government to turn federal lands over to local officials.

Details of the fatal encounter were sparse. It happened as Bundy and his followers were heading to a community meeting late Tuesday afternoon in the town of John Day, about 70 miles north of Burns.

Arianna Finicum Brown confirmed that her father, Arizona rancher Robert "LaVoy" Finicum, was the man killed, the Oregonian reported. The 55-year-old was a frequent and public presence at the refuge, often speaking for the group at news conferences.

It was unclear what led to the shooting, or if Finicum or any of the other ranchers exchanged gunfire with officers. Authorities would not say how many shots were fired.

"This is where I'm going to breathe my last breath, whether I'm 90, 95 or 55," Finicum told The Associated Press on Jan. 5. " ... I'm going to not spend my days in a cell."

The FBI and Oregon State Police would say only that the dead man had been wanted by federal authorities. They said no more information would be released pending formal identification by the medical examiner.

Jason Patrick, one of the leaders of the occupation, told Oregon Public Broadcasting that five or six group members remained inside the refuge.

For weeks, law-enforcement vehicles have been noticeably absent from the roads around the refuge. On Wednesday, however, marked law-enforcement cars were parked throughout the region. The FBI and state police said they were setting up checkpoints and only allowing ranchers who own property in specific areas to pass.

About 13 miles from the refuge headquarters, a sign warned drivers to turn around because a roadblock is ahead. Reporters and others who approached the vehicles blocking the road were met by FBI agents wearing camouflage body armour and helmets and carrying assault rifles. A spike strip, designed to puncture tires, was laid across the pavement just beyond the roadblock.

Police and news media have converged on the nearby town of Burns, where most hotels are booked to capacity.

Brand Thornton, one of Bundy's supporters, said he left the refuge Monday and was not sure what those remaining would do.

"The entire leadership is gone," he told the AP in a telephone interview. "I wouldn't blame any of them for leaving."

Thornton called the arrests "a dirty trick" by law enforcement.

In addition to Ammon Bundy, those arrested were: his brother Ryan Bundy, 43; Brian Cavalier, 44; Shawna Cox, 59; and Ryan Payne, 32 - apprehended during the traffic stop on U.S. Highway 395 Tuesday afternoon. Authorities said two others -- Joseph Donald O'Shaughnessy, 45, and Peter Santilli, 50 -- were arrested separately in Burns, while FBI agents in Arizona arrested another, Jon Eric Ritzheimer, 32.

Each will face a federal felony charge of conspiracy to impede officers of the United States from discharging their official duties through the use of force, intimidation or threats, authorities said.

Law enforcement previously had taken a hands-off approach, reflecting lessons learned during bloody standoffs at Waco, Texas, and Ruby Ridge, Idaho, during the 1990s.

Many residents of Harney County, where the refuge is located, have been among those demanding that Bundy leave. Many sympathize with his criticism of federal land management policies but opposed the refuge takeover.

"I am pleased that the FBI has listened to the concerns of the local community and responded to the illegal activity occurring in Harney County by outside extremists," Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley said in a statement.

The Bundys are the sons of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who was involved in a high-profile 2014 standoff with the government over grazing rights.

The group, which has included people from as far away as Michigan, calls itself Citizens for constitutional Freedom. It came to the frozen high desert of eastern Oregon to decry what it calls onerous federal land restrictions and to object to the prison sentences of two local ranchers convicted of setting fires.

Associated Press writers Rebecca Boone in Boise, Idaho, Gene Johnson and Lisa Baumann in Seattle and Terrence Petty and Kristena Hansen in Portland, Oregon, contributed to this report



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Justin Trudeau news conference LIVE

    Canada News CBC News
    Hurricane Maria blasts through Puerto Rico Widespread damage to structures, vegetation Source
  • Trudeau tells UN of Canada's shame over Indigenous Peoples

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    UNITED NATIONS, N.Y. — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau used a speech to the United Nations on Thursday to probe a source of national shame: the historic struggles of Canada’s Indigenous peoples. He spoke of forced migration and forced family separation in residential schools, which he said left a devastating legacy on reserves to this day. Source
  • Trump vows more sanctions over North Korea's nuclear buildup

    World News CTV News
    NEW YORK -- U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday aiming to tighten an economic noose around North Korea, days after he threatened to "totally destroy" the country if forced to defend the United States or its allies. Source
  • 'Not the ending that we wanted': Family relieved body of missing man in Quebec Amber Alert case found

    Canada News CBC News
    Friends and family of Yvon Lacasse, the 71-year-old man who went missing last week while an Amber Alert was in place for a six-year-old Quebec boy, are taking solace after his body was located Wednesday. "It feels very sad . Source
  • Police searching for man who allegedly caused crash while impersonating officer

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO - Police in Toronto are looking for a man who allegedly caused a collision while impersonating an officer. They say witnesses reported that a man dressed in a police officer's uniform was directing traffic while dancing in a west-end intersection last Saturday. Source
  • Montreal-born James Campbell Clouston recognized for efforts at Dunkirk

    Canada News CTV News
    MONTREAL - The Montreal-born Second World War hero whose efforts at Dunkirk in 1940 saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of soldiers is being recognized today in his hometown. Cmdr. James Campbell Clouston's exploits were portrayed in Christopher Nolan's blockbuster movie, "Dunkirk," released earlier this year. Source
  • Canada is 'work in progress,' Justin Trudeau tells UN General Assembly

    Canada News CBC News
    Describing Canada as a "work in progress," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the UN Thursday about the country's failures and mistakes in its historical relationship with Indigenous people and his hope to right the wrongs of the past. Source
  • Google is linking secret, court-protected names - including victim IDs - to online coverage [Video]

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    Google’s powerful search engine is defeating some court-ordered publication bans in Canada and undermining efforts to protect young offenders and victims. Computer experts believe it’s an unintended, “mind-boggling” consequence of Google search algorithms. In six high-profile cases documented by the Citizen, searching the name of a young offender or victim online pointed to media coverage of their court cases, even though their names do not appear anywhere in the news articles themselves. Source
  • 'Clint Eastwood' fires warning shot, gets stolen beer back

    World News Toronto Sun
    COCOA, Fla. — Police say a Florida gas station owner chased a man and fired a warning shot, forcing him to return some stolen beer. Orlando television station WESH reports it was the fourth time store owner Sowann Suy used his gun in defence of his store in the Atlantic coast community of Cocoa. Source
  • Arkansas high school teacher accused of having sex with four students – including two in the same day

    World News Toronto Sun
    A married high school teacher has been arrested for allegedly having sex with four of her students. Jessie Lorene Goline , 25, is accused of sleeping with two of the boys in the same day. The former teacher worked at Mark Tree High School in Arkansas. Source