Occupiers at Oregon refuge say they'll turn themselves in

BURNS, Ore. - The last four armed occupiers of a national wildlife refuge in eastern Oregon said they would turn themselves in Thursday morning after the FBI surrounded them and they yelled at law enforcement officers in armoured vehicles to back off and prayed with supporters over an open phone line.

See Full Article

The tense standoff between law enforcement officers and the four occupiers played out on the Internet beginning Wednesday night via a phone line being livestreamed by an acquaintance of occupier David Fry.

Fry, 27, of Blanchester, Ohio, sounded increasingly unraveled as he continually yelled, at times hysterically, at what he said was an FBI negotiator. "You're going to hell. Kill me. Get it over with," he said. "We're innocent people camping at a public facility, and you're going to murder us."

"The only way we're leaving here is dead or without charges," Fry said, who told the FBI to "get the hell out of Oregon."

Fry and the three others are the last remnants of a group that seized the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on Jan. 2 to oppose federal land-use policies. The three others are Jeff Banta, 46, of Elko, Nevada; and married couple Sean Anderson, 48, and Sandy Anderson, 47, of Riggins, Idaho

Fry said Wednesday the group was surrounded by armoured vehicles.

A Nevada legislator, Michele Fiore, called in to try to get the occupiers to calm down. Fiore said she could help them only if they stayed alive.

"I need you guys alive," said the Republican member of the Nevada Assembly who was in Portland earlier in the day to show support for Ammon Bundy, the jailed leader of the occupation. Fiore told occupiers Wednesday night she was driving to the refuge to try to help negotiate their exit from the refuge. The occupiers prayed with Fiore and others as the situation dragged on for hours Wednesday night.

Sean Anderson said late Wednesday he spoke with the FBI and that he and the three other holdouts would turn themselves in at a nearby FBI checkpoint at 8 a.m. Thursday.

Anderson relayed the news to Fiore.

"We're not surrendering, we're turning ourselves in. It's going against everything we believe in," he said.

Greg Bretzing, special agent in charge of the FBI in Oregon, said in a statement the situation had reached a point where it "became necessary to take action" to ensure the safety of all involved.

Bretzing said one of the occupiers rode an ATV outside "the barricades established by the militia" at the refuge. When FBI agents tried to approach the driver, Fry said he returned to the camp at a "high rate of speed."

The FBI placed agents at barricades ahead of and behind the occupier's camp, Bretzing said.

"It has never been the FBI's desire to engage these armed occupiers in any way other than through dialogue, and to that end, the FBI has negotiated with patience and restraint in an effort to resolve the situation peacefully," he said in a statement.

Authorities had for weeks allowed the occupiers to come and go freely from the remote refuge, leading to criticism from local and state officials that law enforcement wasn't doing enough to end the situation.

Group leader Ammon Bundy and others were arrested Jan. 26 on a remote road outside the refuge, but the four holdouts remained.

On Wednesday night Sandy Anderson said after the group was surrounded: "They're threatening us. They're getting closer. I pray that there's a revolution if we die here tonight."

Her husband, Sean Anderson, said in the livestream: "We will not fire until fired upon. We haven't broken any laws, came here to recognize our constitutional rights."

The occupiers said they saw snipers on a hill and a drone.

The standoff was occurring on the 40th day of the occupation, launched by Bundy and his followers to protest prison terms for two local ranchers on arson charges and federal management of public lands.

Bundy was arrested last month as he and other main figures of the occupation were travelling to the town of John Day. Four others were also arrested in that confrontation, which resulted in the shooting death of the group's spokesman, Robert "LaVoy" Finicum. The FBI said Finicum was reaching for a gun.

Most of the occupiers fled the refuge after that. Authorities then surrounded the property and later got the holdouts added to an indictment charging 16 people with conspiracy to interfere with federal workers.

At first, Bundy urged the last holdouts to go home. But in response to the grand jury indictment, he took a more defiant tone from jail.

-----

Associated Press Writer Terrence Petty contributed from Portland, Oregon.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • North Korea reported to have fired missile, possibly landing in sea off Japan

    World News CBC News
    Japan's prime minister says North Korea has fired what is believed to be a missile and it may have landed in the sea off Japan. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters that officials are analyzing the apparent launch and that he has called a meeting of the National Security Council. Source
  • Canada's longest-standing First Nations boil water advisory will end in 2018, Liberals say

    Canada News CBC News
    The Liberal government says it will spend nearly $9 million to upgrade, renovate and improve the water plant in Neskantaga First Nation, a northern Ontario community that has been without safe tap water since 1995. Indigenous Affairs and Northern Affairs provided the financial details of the plan on Thursday. Source
  • Tennessee judge pulls vasectomy for reduced jail time offer after backlash

    World News Toronto Sun
    A judge in central Tennessee has withdrawn a controversial order offering reduced jail time to inmates who volunteer for sterilization procedures after the plan drew a wave of criticism from health officials, prosecutors and civil rights attorneys. Source
  • Man imprisoned for 36 years rewarded new trial by high court

    World News Toronto Sun
    BOSTON — A Massachusetts man who won a new trial after spending 36 years in prison for a murder he says he did not commit has earned another legal victory. In a decision released Thursday, the state’s highest court rejected a request by prosecutors to reinstate Frederick Weichel’s conviction. Source
  • Ex-Nazi squad member stripped of citizenship again

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- A lawyer for a former Nazi death squad member says the Canadian government has once again stripped the 93-year-old man of his citizenship. Ronald Poulton says it is the fourth time the government has taken the step against Helmut Oberlander, and the Waterloo, Ont. Source
  • Seniors separated after decades of marriage 'desperate' to live together again

    Canada News CTV News
    Lorraine and Joe Papp have been married for 62 years, but for nearly the past two years they’ve been living under different roofs. Three years ago, the pair from Maple Ridge, B.C. moved into the assisted living facility Royal Crescent Gardens. Source
  • 5th border crosser this week dies crossing Rio Grande

    World News Toronto Sun
    EL PASO, Texas — A fifth person has died this week in the El Paso area after being pulled from the Rio Grande while attempting to cross from Mexico. U.S. Border Patrol agents were conducting a river patrol Thursday with Mexican law enforcement officials when the body of a man believed to be in his 30s was found. Source
  • Man says wife 'would not stop laughing' at him before allegedly killing her

    World News Toronto Sun
    Murder is no laughing matter. Witnesses aboard an Alaskan cruise ship said a man told them his wife “would not stop laughing at me” before he dragged her lifeless body towards the vessel's balcony to throw her overboard. Source
  • 83-year-old woman and 63-year-old son charged in murder-for-hire plot

    World News Toronto Sun
    PLAINFIELD, N.H. — An 83-year-old New Hampshire woman and her 63-year-old son have been charged in a murder-for-hire plot. Pauline Chase and Maurice Temple were arrested Thursday and charged with conspiracy to commit murder, solicitation to commit murder and attempt to commit murder. Source
  • Woman attacked husband with axe as children fled: Cops

    World News Toronto Sun
    KITTANNING, Pa. — Police say a Pennsylvania woman attacked her husband with an axe as their terrified children fled their home and called for help. Manor Township police say 41-year-old Melanie Sue Snyder was calm and emotionless as they found her walking up the street with a blood-stained T-shirt that read, “Nope, not today,” shortly after the attack Thursday night. Source