Oregon Militiaman Killed by Federal Agents.. 6 Arrested
Ammon Bundy, one of the sons of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, arrives for a news conference at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Ore., on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016. (Rick Bowmer/AP)
Six people involved in the armed occupation of a Central Ore. wildlife refuge were arrested after a traffic stop during which shots were fired. Another unnamed individual was killed during the confrontation, the FBI and Oregon State Police announced Tuesday.
Authorities said that shots were exchanged during a traffic stop along Highway 395 around 4:25 p.m. local time. Police were carrying out a federal probable cause arrest for a number of people involved in the armed standoff at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge, which has been occupied since Jan. 2.
Five people were arrested at that time, including occupation leaders Ammon and Ryan Bundy. One person was killed during the exchange of gunfire; police said information about that person will not be released until they can be identified by the medical examiner’s office. Another of the arrested individuals was injured and taken to a local hospital, but has since been arrested and taken into custody.
A sixth person involved in the occupation, Joseph Donald O’Shaughnessy of Cottonwood, Ariz., was arrested about an hour and a half after the initial confrontation.
All of people arrested face federal felony charges for impeding federal officers.
In addition to O’Shaughnessy and the Bundy brothers, the FBI statement said that Brian Cavalier, Shawna Cox and Ryan Waylen Payne were arrested.
St. Charles Health System in Bend told Oregon Public Broadcasting that a helicopter had been dispatched to Harney County and will be transporting patients to its level II trauma center. The Harney County Hospital is on lockdown, as well as a section of Highway 395 near Burns, Ore.
Anthony Bosworth a Yakima, Wash., resident who has been at the Malheur Refuge, told OPB that Ammon Bundy was headed to a meeting in John Day, Ore., Tuesday, about 100 miles from the occupied refuge. Bundy never showed up in the city.
The arrests come after a more than three-week long standoff between the Bundys and their followers and local and federal law enforcement. The armed group seized the Malheur Refuge on Jan. 2 after participating in a march protesting the imprisonment of Oregon ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond, who were convicted of committing arson on federal land.
After the march, Ammon Bundy urged rally-goers who wanted to “take a hard stand” to get in their trucks and follow him to the refuge, according to several people in attendance.
The occupiers say they aim to “take back” the federally-controlled land for the county and private use.
Ammon Bundy, 40, runs a business near Phoenix and describes his supporters as “militia men.” In 2014, his father Cliven Bundy spearheaded an armed standoff with federal agents in Nevada.
The occupation at the Malheur refuge has sparked a tense debate in this rural part of Oregon about land use and the power of the federal government.
Jason Patrick, a participant in the occupation who was at the Malheur refuge Tuesday night said that the arrests doesn’t change the occupiers’ demands. He wouldn’t say how many people remain at the refuge, or who else was with him.
“Right now, we’re doing fine,” he told one source by phone. “We’re just trying to figure out how a dead cowboy equals peaceful resolution.”