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

  • City costs for Vancouver 4-20 marijuana protest more than $245,000

    Canada News CTV News
    VANCOUVER -- This year's 4-20 marijuana day of protest in Vancouver cost the city more than $245,000. The city says estimates 40,000 people were at Sunset Beach Park and the Vancouver Art Gallery during the April 20 protest. Source
  • FBI investigating Kushner's meetings with Russians: report

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- The chairman of the House oversight committee asked the FBI on Thursday to turn over more documents about former FBI Director James Comey's interactions with the White House and Justice Department, including materials dating back nearly four years to the Obama administration. Source
  • Forklift driver tried to save Manchester attack victim

    World News Toronto Sun
    TALES OF HEROISM AND HEARTACHE On Monday, Manchester saw the utter worst of humanity - and some of the best. Seconds after the bomb exploded, forklift driver Paul Reid selflessly raced back into the building and tried to save the attack’s youngest victim: Saffie Rose Roussos, who was eight and had been separated from her mother. Source
  • Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner now a focus of Russia probe

    World News Toronto Sun
    Investigators are focusing on a series of meetings held by Jared Kushner, U.S. President Donald Trump's son-in-law and an influential White House adviser, as part of their probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and related matters, according to people familiar with the investigation. Source
  • N.S. premier accused of broken promises at debate in Halifax

    Canada News CTV News
    HALIFAX -- Tory Leader Jamie Baillie cast himself Thursday night as the only man who can beat Stephen McNeil, while the Liberal premier implored voters to ignore campaign "negativity" and give him a second mandate. Source
  • 'Terrorist' in body armour crashed stolen tractor-trailer into Bunny Ranch, owner says [Photos]

    World News Toronto Sun
    LAS VEGAS — A man wearing body armour and a mask backed a tractor-trailer through the gate of the Moonlite Bunny Ranch and crashed it into the front door of the famed Nevada brothel featured in the CatHouse reality television show, according to authorities and the brothel’s owner. Source
  • Spry woman jumps on hood of SUV to thwart carjacking

    World News Toronto Sun
    What would you do if someone tried to steal your vehicle right in front of you? For one Wisconsin resident, the answer is simple: Go all Martin Riggs and jump on its hood. Melissa Smith was the victim of an attempted carjacking while filling up at a gas station in downtown Milwaukee Tuesday afternoon. Source
  • Accused Yahoo hacker appealing detention order [Photos]

    World News Toronto Sun
    Accused proxy hacker Karim Baratov will be seeking his freedom at Ontario’s highest court on June 5. Baratov’s lawyers Ravin Pillay and Amedeo DiCarlo filed notice at the Ontario Court of Appeal to rescind the detention order imposed by Justice Alan Whitten last month. Source
  • After Trump pushes him aside, Montenegro's PM calls it 'harmless'

    World News CTV News
    BRUSSELS -- President Donald Trump's push to get in front of the pack at a NATO summit generated indignation in the Balkans and garnered attention on social media -- but the man he shoved aside took it in stride. Source
  • Trudeau suggests defence review will invest more in troops than weaponry

    Canada News CBC News
    When most people envision a defence policy, they think bullets, bombs and battleships, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal government appears set to deliver something decidedly different early next month. Much of the advance publicity for the government's long-anticipated statement of military priorities is being run through the soft-focus filter of social issues and supporting troops. Source