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

  • Snow arrives to southern B.C. but weather agency downplays earlier predictions

    Canada News CTV News
    VANCOUVER -- British Columbia's south coast is known for its temperate weather and mild winters, but that norm is being turned on its head this year as temperatures dip and the region is blanketed in snow for the second time in less than a week. Source
  • Encounter with a cop 'made' boy's day after rough year

    Canada News CTV News
    After a difficult year, Nicholas Tyrrell walked into his elementary school classroom Friday, with a newfound spring in his step. After all, the six-year-old student had just received an official patch from a Toronto police officer on duty outside his northwest Toronto school. Source
  • Prince Andrew to press: End false stories about daughters

    World News CTV News
    LONDON -- Britain's Prince Andrew is asking the media to cease "speculation and innuendo" about his daughters, and denies he's feuding with elder brother Prince Charles. Andrew, the third of Queen Elizabeth II's four children, released a strongly worded statement Friday slamming recent newspaper stories "that have no basis in fact. Source
  • Liberals have to 'work very hard' on refugee file in new global context: McCallum

    Canada News CBC News
    The man tasked with bringing thousands of Syrian refugees to Canada says that while most Canadians were quick to embrace them, his government still "has to work very hard" to convince some people to embrace these new arrivals. Source
  • No more Tims for man who says mouse found in cup

    Canada News CTV News
    STEWIACKE, N.S. - A man who says he pulled a dead mouse from a cup of Tim Hortons coffee is asking for an apology from the restaurant chain. Jim Elliott says he bought two take-out coffees two weeks ago from the outlet in Stewiacke, N.S. Source
  • Man acquitted of raping woman in front of husband in 1995

    Canada News CBC News
    Jack Kramer has been found guilty of break and enter and possession of a weapon, but not guilty of the more serious charges of forcible confinement and sexual assault related to a 1995 attack on a woman in her home. Source
  • Boy, 16, arrested following threat against central Ontario schools

    Canada News CTV News
    BRACEBRIDGE, Ont. - Provincial police have arrested a 16-year-old boy after a threat was made via Twitter on Friday morning involving the Trillium Lakelands District School Board in central Ontario. As a result, all Trillium Lakelands schools -- both elementary and secondary -- in Kawartha Lakes, Haliburton County, and Muskoka were put into a hold and secure. Source
  • Women sue groom, event company after being hit by drone

    World News Toronto Sun
    BRENTWOOD, N.H. — Two women are suing a groom and the event company that ran his wedding reception after they allege he flew a drone that hit them in the head at the New Hampshire event. Kneena Ellis, of Seabrook, and Kelly Eaton of Peabody, Massachusetts, claim in their Dec. Source
  • Firefighter: Warehouse missing from fire-inspection records

    World News Toronto Sun
    SAN FRANCISCO — The illegally occupied Oakland warehouse where dozens of partygoers perished in a blaze does not appear in a database fire inspectors use to schedule inspections and may never have been checked for fire hazards, a firefighter with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press. Source
  • Obama orders review of election campaign hacking

    World News CBC News
    A White House official says the president has ordered a review of the email hacking that rattled the presidential campaign. U.S. President Barack Obama's counterterrorism adviser Lisa Monaco says intelligence and national security officials were told to report their findings to the president before he leaves office on Jan. Source