Wednesday, January 27, 2016

FBI, Militia Shootout -- 1 Dead

It was probably inevitable, but rancher Ammon Bundy and several of his militia followers were in FBI custody Tuesday night after a shootout that left one person dead.

Bundy, his brother Ryan and other ranchers turned militiamen were the ones who took over an abandoned government building at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge several weeks ago in protest of two ranchers being jailed a second time for arson.

Ammon and Ryan Bundy are two of the sons of rancher Cliven Bundy, who had his own confrontation with federal authorities who tried to impound his cattle in 2014.

According to authorities, the Bundy brothers and eight other activists were driving to a community meeting Tuesday afternoon in Burns when they were stopped by police officers and FBI agents.

It is unclear at this point why they were pulled over or who shot first, but the shootout that followed left one militia member dead and Ryan Bundy wounded. The Oregonian identified the slain man as Robert "LaVoy" Finicum.

"My dad was such a good good man, through and through," said his daughter Arianna Finicum Brown. "He would never ever want to hurt somebody, but he does believe in defending freedom and he knew the risks involved."

Nevada Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, a supporter of the Bundy family, said that Ammon Bundy told his wife that Finicum was cooperating with police when he was shot.

The Oregonian reported that their sources said Finicum and Ryan Bundy resisted arrest.

Those arrested include Ammon Bundy, Ryan Bundy, Ryan Payne, Brian Cavalier and Shawna Cox, according to the Daily Mail.

An FBI statement said, "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."

About an hour later in Burns, Oregon State Police also arrested Oregon State Police also arrested Joseph Donald O’Shaughnessy. The FBI said independent broadcaster Peter Santilli, who live streamed events at the wildlife refuge was also arrested later.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown last Wednesday had indicated her patience with the militia protesters was finished. "[Federal officials] must move quickly to end the occupation and hold all of the wrongdoers accountable," she said at a press conference. "The residents of Harney County have been overlooked and underserved by federal officials’ response thus far."

Many residents of Harney County had been represented in the media as not wanting the ranchers in their community, but the Bundy brothers and other militia members had been invited to speak to a community group and were on their way there when they were collected by the feds.

What remains to be seen yet is how the remaining militia members, not to mention members of other militia groups nationally, will respond. It might not be over yet.

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