'Go home and hug your families,' Oregon militia leader Ammon Bundy says

BURNS, Ore. -- Three members of an armed group occupying an Oregon wildlife refuge surrendered to authorities, officials said, hours after their jailed leader urged the remaining occupiers to go home.

See Full Article

The three arrests Wednesday came a day after the arrests of leader Ammon Bundy and seven others and the death of another occupier in a confrontation with law enforcement.

The 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. They want federal lands turned over to local authorities.

The FBI and Oregon State Police said that 45-year-old Duane Leo Ehmer of Irrigon, Oregon, and 34-year-old Dylan Wade Anderson of Provo, Utah, turned themselves in around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday. And 43-year-old Jason S. Patrick of Bonaire, Georgia, did the same a few hours later.

After Bundy made his first court appearance in Portland on Wednesday, his attorney, Mike Arnold, read this statement from his client: "Please stand down. Go home and hug your families. This fight is now in the courts."

It was unclear whether the rest of Bundy's followers still holed up at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge south of Burns were ready to heed his advice. It was believed perhaps a half-dozen remained late Wednesday.

Meanwhile, details began to emerge about the confrontation Tuesday on a remote highway that resulted in the death of Robert Finicum.

Bundy followers gave conflicting accounts of how Finicum died. One said Finicum charged at FBI agents, who then shot him. A member of the Bundy family said Finicum did nothing to provoke the agents.

An Oregon man who says he witnessed the shootout says he heard about a half-dozen shots but didn't see anyone get hit, and that the shooting happened quickly -- over maybe 12 or 15 seconds. Raymond Doherty told Portland TV station KOIN-TV that he was about 100 feet back and couldn't see who specifically was shooting. But, he added, "I saw them shooting at each other."

Authorities refused to release any details about the encounter or even to verify that it was Finicum who was killed.

FBI agent Greg Bretzing defended the FBI-led operation. "I will say that the armed occupiers were given ample opportunities to leave peacefully," he said.

Also on Wednesday, a federal judge in Portland unsealed a criminal complaint that said the armed group had explosives and night-vision goggles and that they were prepared to fight at the refuge or in the nearby town of Burns.

Someone told authorities about the equipment on Jan. 2, the day the group took over Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, according to the document.

Bundy and the seven others are charged with felony counts of "conspiracy to impede officers of the United States from their official duties through the use of force, intimidation, or threats."

The criminal complaint says the refuge's 16 employees have been prevented from reporting to work because of threats of violence.

Federal law officials and Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward held a news conference on Wednesday in which they called on the rest of the occupiers to go home. There is a huge law enforcement presence in the region, and the FBI has now set up checkpoints outside the refuge.

Bundy followers took to social media to offer conflicting accounts of Finicum's final moments.

In a video posted to Facebook, Mark McConnell said he was driving a vehicle carrying Ammon Bundy when he and a truck driven by Finicum were stopped by agents in heavy-duty trucks.

When agents approached the truck driven by Finicum, he drove off with officers in pursuit. McConnell said he did not see what happened next, but he heard from others who were in that vehicle that they encountered a roadblock.

The truck got stuck in a snowbank, and Finicum got out and "charged them. He went after them," McConnell said.

Relatives of Ammon Bundy offered similar accounts, but they said Finicum did nothing to provoke FBI agents.

Briana Bundy, a sister of Ammon Bundy, said he called his wife after his arrest.

She said people in the two vehicles complied with instructions to get out with their hands up.

"LaVoy shouted, 'Don't shoot. We're unarmed,"' Briana Bundy told The Associated Press. "They began to fire on them. Ammon said it happened real fast."

"Ammon said, 'They murdered him in cold blood,"' she added.

McConnell had a different perspective.

"Any time someone takes off with a vehicle away from law enforcement after they've exercised a stop, it's typically considered an act of aggression, and foolish," he said in the Facebook video.

Ammon and Ryan Bundy 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 they led 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.

In nearby Burns, 80-year-old Bev Schaff said the occupation has "split this town."

"Some people are for it and some against it. But I think everyone is ready for it to be over," Schaff said.

Petty reported from Portland. Associated Press writers Ken Ritter in Las Vegas, Rebecca Boone in Boise, Idaho, and Martha Bellisle and Lisa Baumann in Seattle contributed to this report



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • France heads to the polls after unpredictable presidential campaign

    World News CBC News
    France goes to the polls on Sunday for the first round of a bitterly fought presidential election, crucial to the future of Europe and a closely-watched test of voters' anger with the political establishment. Nearly 47 million voters will decide, under tight security, whether to back a pro-EU centrist newcomer, a scandal-ridden veteran conservative who wants to slash public spending, a far-left eurosceptic admirer of Fidel Castro or appoint France's first woman president, to shut borders and…
  • Conservative candidates need to step up to the front

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    News flash! There is a leadership race underway within the Conservative Party of Canada. What? Really? How long has this been going on? Forever it seems, not that many have noticed amid the drama of the ruling Liberals’ marijuana legislation, its pandering Islamophobia motion, its leader’s questionable Aga Khan vacation destination, its outright lie about changing the federal voting system before the next election, and the tabling of an omnibus bill that they supposedly would never do. Source
  • Supply ship named for John Glenn arrives at space station

    World News Toronto Sun
    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A supply ship bearing John Glenn’s name arrived at the International Space Station on Saturday. Astronauts used the station’s big robot arm to grab the capsule, as the craft flew 400 kilometres above Germany. Source
  • Bank of Canada governor 'happy' to see plan for GTA housing market

    Canada News CBC News
    Measures to cool the housing market in the Greater Toronto Area have received a warm response from Canada's central banker, who said Saturday it should have some effect on runaway housing prices. "I'm happy there are measures," Stephen Poloz, the governor of the Bank of Canada, told reporters during financial meetings in Washington. Source
  • 'There's nothing we can do': Rigaud, Que. residents waiting out flood

    Canada News CTV News
    Firefighters and police officers made the rounds Saturday checking on people in Rigaud, Que. who decided to stay in their homes despite the recent flood. The small town, located west of Montreal near the Ontario border, declared a state of emergency Thursday after a combination of heavy rainfall and spring thaw flooded the region. Source
  • 'There's nothing we can do': Rigaud, Que. residents wait out flood

    Canada News CTV News
    Firefighters and police officers made the rounds Saturday checking on people in Rigaud, Que. who decided to stay in their homes despite the recent flood. The small town, located west of Montreal near the Ontario border, declared a state of emergency Thursday after a combination of heavy rainfall and spring thaw flooded the region. Source
  • Calgarian who joined ISIS added to U.S. most-wanted terrorist list

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    Once thought killed while fighting alongside ISIS forces in Iraq, a Calgarian is now one of the United States' most-wanted terrorists. In a decision by the U.S. State Department, Farah Mohamed Shirdon, 24, of Calgary, has been dubbed a "Specially Designated Global Terrorist. Source
  • Edmonton police seek 2 'people of interest' in dead toddler case

    Canada News CBC News
    Edmonton police are asking for more help from the public in identifying two people of interest regarding a dead toddler who was found Friday in the north end of the city. Police released a photo Saturday afternoon of a man and a woman. Source
  • 2 arrested in Edmonton dead toddler case

    Canada News CBC News
    Edmonton police are asking for more help from the public in identifying two people of interest regarding a dead toddler who was found Friday in the north end of the city. Police released a photo Saturday afternoon of a man and a woman. Source
  • Vibrator thief told sex shop clerk she had HIV before lunging at him with needle

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    A woman found guilty of two thefts and threatening with a needle will have her day of reckoning at the Sudbury Courthouse on May 2, whether she is physically in court or not. “There will be an order I'm not opposed to,” Shawana's lawyer, Denis Michel, told Ontario Court Justice Karen Lische Wednesday concerning his client Naomi Shawana, who has refused to attend court on numerous occasions in recent months for her sentencing involving two armed robberies in January, 2016. Source