Standoff update: Three more people arrested; Bundy tells holdouts to leave
BURNS — Here's the latest on an armed group that took over buildings at a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon.
The FBI and Oregon State Police say they've arrested three more people connected to the armed occupation of a federal wildlife refuge in a remote Oregon area.
A statement said they arrested 45-year-old Duane Leo Ehmer of Irrigon, Oregon, and 34-year-old Dylan Wade Anderson of Provo, Utah, around 3:30 p.m. A few hours later, 43-year-old Jason S. Patrick of Bonaire, Georgia, was arrested.
The FBI says the men turned themselves in to agents at a checkpoint on a road near the refuge.
As with the eight others arrested a day earlier, officials say these men will face one federal felony count of conspiracy to impede officers of the United States from discharging their official duties through the use of force, intimidation, or threats.
FBI officials say they are working around the clock to empty the refuge of armed occupiers in the safest way possible.
The attorney for the leader of an armed group occupying an Oregon wildlife refuge says the man wants those remaining at the refuge to "please stand down" and go home.
Ammon Bundy and seven others were arrested Tuesday. Bundy made an initial appearance in federal court in Portland, Oregon, on Wednesday.
Mike Arnold, Bundy's attorney, read a statement afterward in which Bundy urged those still at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge to leave.
In the statement, Bundy asked the federal government to allow the people remaining at the refuge to depart without being prosecuted. Addressing those still holding out, Bundy's statement said: "Please stand down. Go home and hug your families. This fight is now in the courts. Please go home."
Federal agents have surrounded the refuge where the remnants of Bundy's group were still refusing to give up on the occupation that began Jan. 2 to protest federal land policies.
A local sheriff got emotional as he urged the armed activists still occupying a national wildlife preserve in Oregon to move on, saying the standoff "has been tearing our community apart."
Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward, who polices the region where the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is located, said at a news conference Wednesday that "there doesn't have to be bloodshed in our community."
A traffic stop outside the refuge Tuesday night ended with eight arrests and the death of one man.
He says law enforcement worked hard to create a plan to peacefully end the occupation of more than three weeks. The group is protesting federal land policy.
Ward says the death didn't have to happen. He called on people to work through appropriate channels to air their grievances, saying, "We don't arm up and rebel."
Authorities say the armed group occupying the national wildlife preserve in Oregon was given "ample opportunity" to leave peacefully.
Greg Bretzing, the FBI's Portland special agent in charge, said at a news conference Wednesday that authorities took a deliberate and measured response to those who took over Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on Jan. 2. He says they're working to safely remove those who are still occupying the site.
Bretzing says authorities tried to conduct a traffic stop safely and away from local residents Tuesday night, which ended with eight arrests and the death of one man.
He wouldn't release specifics about the death, saying only that the man died as authorities tried to take him into custody.
Bretzing says the activists "have chosen to threaten and intimidate the America they profess to love."
Some witnesses say a man killed by police had charged at authorities during the arrests of armed activists occupying an Oregon wildlife refuge and others say he complied with orders.
Authorities say a man died when officers opened fire during a traffic stop Tuesday. The daughter of Robert "LaVoy" Finicum tells the Oregonian it was the Arizona rancher.
Police have not detailed what led to the shooting or if Finicum or any of the other ranchers exchanged gunfire with officers.
Mark McConnell says he drove one of the vehicles stopped by authorities and that Finicum was in another and "charged" at officers.
McConnell said in a video posted to Facebook that the rancher took off and authorities pursued.
He says he didn't see the shooting, but others in the group said he charged after law enforcement.
A message was left Wednesday at a phone number believed to belong to McConnell.
Briana Bundy, group leader Ammon Bundy's sister-in-law, said Finicum and others "did everything they asked, and they murdered him."
The FBI has established checkpoints around a national wildlife preserve in Oregon where some armed activists still are believed to be holed up, saying the decision came out of "an abundance of caution."
Authorities arrested the leaders of the small group that has been occupying Malheur National Wildlife Refuge for more than three weeks during a traffic stop where gunfire erupted and one man was killed late Tuesday.
Jason Patrick, a new leader of the occupation, told Oregon Public Broadcasting (http://bit.ly/1nxZD08 ) that five or six members of the group agreed to continue the standoff.
The FBI said early Wednesday that anyone leaving the refuge will have to show identification and submit to a vehicle search. Only ranchers who live in the area surrounding the preserve will be allowed to pass the checkpoints.