BURNS, OR -- Leaders of the group occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge were arrested during a traffic stop Tuesday afternoon. They were traveling on Highway 395 from Burns to a planned meeting in John Day. During the arrest, shots were fired and "Lavoy" Finicum was killed. Ryan Bundy was shot in the arm. Those arrested are now being held at the Multnomah County Jail, in Portland.
Ammon Bundy's sister-in-law Briana Bundy tells ABC News, "Ammon said that he doesn’t know why they shot him. It was completely unprovoked, there was no reason for it, it was uncalled for and they were complying. And, nobody had a weapon." Cliven Bundy, Ammon and Ryan's father, reacted after the shooting, "I feel like my sons are on good nations doing good things, helping people. They weren’t threatening nobody." Deschutes County's Major Incident team, Oregon State Police and the Harney County District Attorney's Office are investigating the officer-involved shooting.
Robert "Lavoy" Finicum was an outspoken member of the occupation, often appearing with Ammon Bundy at press conferences and granting interviews with reporters and bloggers sympathetic to their cause. He spoke with The Oregonian about Tuesday's planned meeting in Grant County. "They reached out to us, and they're fed up. They're sick and tired of what's been happening to them. So, they want us to come and have us explain to them - most of the time we spend is teaching. And, they're considering taking the same steps that have been taken in Utah, here and what looks like is going to happen this Friday in Malheur County. What you're seeing is the citizens themselves saying, 'We're done. We're through.'" Finicum was a rancher from Arizona and he and his wife cared for several foster children who were taken away after the standoff began.
Top: Brian Cavalier, Ammon Edward Bundy, Joseph O'Shaughnessy, Peter Santilli
Bottom: Ryan Bundy, Ryan Payne, Shawna Cox, Jon Ritzheimer
The FBI has now set up checkpoints around the refuge to stop anyone from entering the property. Those coming out of the refuge will have their identity confirmed and vehicle searched. FBI, Special Agent in Charge Greg Bretzing, U.S. Attorney Bill Williams and Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward are scheduled to hold a press conference in Burns at 10:30 a.m., Wednesday.
** UPDATE ** Wednesday's press conference has been postponed to 11 a.m.
Despite previous reports to the contrary, St. Charles Medical Center officials say the Bend hospital did not receive any patients from Harney County, although it remained in lockdown until 5:30 Wednesday morning, as a security precaution.
Harney County Judge Steve Grasty issued a statement Tuesday evening: "I am relieved this situation is coming to an end, however, I am saddened by the loss of life. I hope and pray that those who remain at the Refuge will stand down peacefully."
Governor Kate Brown released the following statement shortly after news broke of the shootout. "The situation in Harney County continues to be the subject of a federal investigation that is in progress. My highest priority is the safety of all Oregonians and their communities. I ask for patience as officials continue pursuit of a swift and peaceful resolution."
Congressman Greg Walden (R-Hood River) released a statement Wednesday morning, saying, “I've been in close contact with local and federal officials throughout this long standoff, and we had all hoped for a peaceful conclusion to the situation in Harney County. Sadly, our hopes were shattered with the shooting that occurred during last night's arrest. While we wait to learn more details and next steps, we must keep the people of Harney County in our hearts as they are a strong community and have endured a great deal. Once again, I urge those who remain at the refuge to go home before anyone else gets hurt. And when this done and the cameras' glare turns away from rural Oregon, the healing process will be a long one. Widespread frustration will continue until people in rural American feel like they are being heard and meaningful changes are made to federal land management policy.”