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

  • Afghanistan looks to Canada for more training support

    Canada News CBC News
    One of the leading figures in Afghanistan's national government insists his war-torn country must be put back at the forefront of NATO's efforts to defeat terrorist groups in the Middle East and South Asia. Abdullah Abdullah, the government's chief executive and one of the featured speakers this weekend at the Halifax International Security Forum, says the new NATO focus on Iraq left his country vulnerable to greater terrorist activity. Source
  • Trump says he should have left UCLA players in Chinese jail

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump says he should have left three UCLA basketball players accused of shoplifting in China in jail. Trump's tweet Sunday comes after the father of player LiAngelo Ball minimized Trump's involvement in winning the players' release in comments to ESPN. Source
  • Argonauts reach Grey Cup after surviving epic Roughriders' comeback

    Canada News CBC News
    Cody Fajardo's one-yard TD run with 23 seconds remaining rallied the Toronto Argonauts to a wild 25-21 East Division final win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Sunday afternoon. Toronto returns to the Grey Cup for the first time since winning the historic 100th championship game in 2012 at Rogers Centre. Source
  • 'Talking will help': Edmonton man speaks out about recovery from childhood sexual abuse

    Canada News CBC News
    Neil Campbell was 12 years old and sitting in bed reading a comic book when he was suddenly crushed by a wave of fear, anger and confusion. Three years earlier, he was raped numerous times by a teenaged neighbour in a shed near his home. Source
  • Turkey bans LGBT events in capital, citing 'public security'

    World News CBC News
    Turkish officials have banned all events by lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex rights groups in the country's capital, in a move LGBT organizations call illegal and discriminatory.Istanbul police enforce ban on gay, transgender pride marchIN DEPTH | Being transgender in Turkey: Some say they live in 'empire of fear'The ban took effect Saturday for an "indefinite" period and applies to all LGBT film screenings, theatres, panels and exhibitions. Source
  • Argentina unsure if signals came from lost submarine

    World News CTV News
    BUENOS AIRES, Argentina -- Argentina's Navy could not confirm Sunday if seven brief satellite calls received a day prior were from a lost submarine with 44 crew members on board. "We do not have clear evidence that (the calls) have come from that unit," said Adm. Source
  • Ontario college strike ends as back-to-work legislation passed

    Canada News CBC News
    Hundreds of thousands of college students are expected to be back in class this week after the provincial government passed back-to-work legislation Sunday to end a five-week strike by Ontario college faculty.Wynne government to legislate striking Ontario college faculty back to workThe Liberals introduced the six-page page bill Friday after college faculty overwhelmingly rejected the college employer council's last offer by 86 per cent. Source
  • Syria: ISIS militants defeated in last major stronghold

    World News CTV News
    BEIRUT -- Pro-government forces defeated the Islamic State group in its last major stronghold in Syria, state media and a monitoring group reported on Sunday, leaving the militants to defend just strips of desert territory in the country and a besieged pocket outside the capital, Damascus. Source
  • 5-year-old girl allegedly attacked by German shepherd

    Canada News CTV News
    A little girl in Ontario continues to recover after an alleged dog attack by one of the neighbour’s pets. The family of five-year-old Madalyn Barclay says the little girl was attacked by a German shepherd mix while playing at a neighbour’s house in Bradford, Ont. Source
  • 5-year-old girl allegedly attacked by German shepherd mix

    Canada News CTV News
    A little girl in Ontario continues to recover after an alleged dog attack by one of the neighbour’s pets. The family of five-year-old Madalyn Barclay says the little girl was attacked by a German shepherd mix while playing at a neighbour’s house in Bradford, Ont. Source