The leader of an armed occupation at a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon and others were arrested on Tuesday after shots were fired during a traffic stop, leaving one person dead and another wounded, the FBI said.
Protesters were still occupying the remote Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon after leader Ammon Bundy’s arrest and the Federal Bureau of Investigation was setting up a perimeter, a law enforcement official told Reuters.
The takeover at Malheur that started Jan. 2 is the latest flare-up in the so-called Sagebrush Rebellion, a decades-old conflict over the U.S. government’s control of millions acres of land in the West.
A total of seven people were arrested. Bundy and four leaders of the occupation were taken into custody following the confrontation along Highway 395 in northeast Oregon around 4:25 p.m. local time (0025 GMT), according to the FBI.
A sixth individual was arrested by the Oregon State Police in Burns, Oregon, about 1.5 hours later. The FBI said a seventh person was later arrested, 50-year-old Pete Santilli, an independent journalist who livestreamed events at the refuge.
The arrested individuals are expected to face charges of conspiracy to impede officers of the United States from discharging their official duties through the use of force, intimidation, or threats, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 372, the FBI statement revealed.
The newspaper said 43-year-old Ryan Bundy, Ammon’s brother, was injured in the arrest, suffering a minor gunshot wound. Authorities did not release the identity of the person killed, but added that he was the subject of a federal probable cause arrest. Additional sources suggest that the deceased was Lavoy Finicum, an active participant in the Oregon protest.
Lavoy Finicum, reportedly shot by FBI agents in relation to the Oregon standoff
Some 25 miles (40 km) of Highway 395 was shut down in both directions following the incident, a dispatcher for the state department of transportation said. The highway was expected to remain closed as authorities investigate the shooting.
The occupiers of the wildlife refuge said they were supporting two local ranchers who were returned to prison this month for setting fires that spread to federal land. The ranchers’ lawyer has said the occupiers do not speak for the family.
Burns Mayor Craig LaFollette told Reuters that while he had limited information about the night’s events, he hoped the stand-off would come to a peaceful end.
“I think my perception is that people’s patience was running thin and that the community as a whole was looking for some resolution and to have these people leave,” he said.
Law enforcement officials had largely kept their distance from the buildings at the refuge, 30 miles (48 km) south of the small town of Burns in rural southeast Oregon’s Harney County, in the hope of avoiding a violent confrontation.
Local residents have expressed a mixture of sympathy for the Hammond family, suspicion of the federal government’s motives and frustration with the occupation.
OFFICIAL FBI PRESS RELEASE
At approximately 4:25 p.m. (PST) on Tuesday, January 26, 2016, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Oregon State Police (OSP) began an enforcement action to bring into custody a number of individuals associated with the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. During that arrest, there were shots fired.
One individual who was a subject of a federal probable cause arrest is deceased. We will not be releasing any information about that person pending identification by the medical examiner’s office.
One individual suffered non-life threatening injuries and was transported to a local hospital for treatment. He was arrested and is currently in custody.
The arrested individuals include:
Ammon Edward Bundy, age 40, of Emmett, Idaho
Ryan C. Bundy, age 43, of Bunkerville, Nevada
Brian Cavalier, age 44, of Bunkerville, Nevada
Shawna Cox, age 59, Kanab, Utah
Ryan Waylen Payne, age 32, of Anaconda, Montana
These probable cause arrests occurred along Highway 235.
In a separate event in Burns, Oregon, at approximately 5:50 pm, Oregon State Police arrested the following individual:
Joseph Donald O’Shaughnessy, age 45, Cottonwood, Arizona
All of the named defendants face a federal felony charge of conspiracy to impede officers of the United States from discharging their official duties through the use of force, intimidation, or threats, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 372.
We continue to work with Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward and his deputies; Oregon State Police; and the United States Attorney’s Office to address any further outstanding issues. As the investigation is ongoing, we cannot comment further at this time.