Robery LaVoy Finicum was killed and Ryan Bundy was wounded as FBI agents stopped militia leaders driving to a meeting at a community center north of Burns, Oregon.
Oregon standoff spokesman Robert “LaVoy” Finicum was killed and other leaders of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation were arrested Tuesday after the FBI and state police stopped vehicles about 20 miles north of Burns.
Authorities did not release the name of the person who died at the highway stop, but Finicum’s daughter confirmed it was Finicum, 55, of Cane Beds, Arizona, one of the cowboy-hat wearing faces of the takeover.
“My dad was such a good good man, through and through,” said Arianna Finicum Brown, 26, one of Finicum’s 11 children. “He would never ever want to hurt somebody, but he does believe in defending freedom and he knew the risks involved.”
Ryan Bundy, 43, of Bunkerville, Nev., suffered a minor gunshot wound in the confrontation about 4:30 p.m. along U.S. 395. He was treated and released from a local hospital and was in FBI custody, authorities said.
Also arrested during the stop were his brother, Ammon Bundy, 40, of Emmett, Idaho, Ryan W. Payne, 32, of Anaconda, Mont., Brian Cavalier, 44, of Bunkerville, Nevada, and Shawna J. Cox, 59, of Kanab, Utah. They were charged with conspiracy to impede federal officers, a felony.
There are currently competing stories on whether the militiamen were arrested in a traffic stop or at a roadblock, and we can’t pretend to know which version of events is more accurate.
Likewise, there are competing narratives as to the circumstance surrounding the shooting itself. The militiamen said that the FBI opened fire on Finicum as he attempted to surrender, while the government claims that Finicum and Bundy were shot while resisting arrest.
After the shootings and arrests, Oregon state police and federal agents set up roadblocks leading into the occupied Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. They told those protesters inside the refuge complex that they were free to go, but it appears that most of the roughly 40 people inside the refuge headquarters complex have decided to hold their position for now.
Those inside the complex include women and children. Ammon Bundy’s wife, Lisa Bundy remains inside the compound and spoke brief to her husband after his arrest. Blaine Cooper and Jason Patrick appear to be the two militia leaders from the original occupation still remaining in the complex, but it remains to be seen what the remaining militiamen will do with their primary leaders in custody.
In addition to the arrests on the highway, FBI agents arrested militiaman Joseph D. O’Shaughnessy in Burns, along with Pete Santilli, an independent YouTube-based broadcaster. Santilli, from Cincinnati, was arrested shortly after a livestream in which he broke the story of the arrests.
It’s unclear at this time why Santilli was hit with federal conspiracy charges.
In addition to those arrested in the traffic stop and in Burns, Jon Ritzheimer turned himself in to police in Arizona on the same conspiracy charge.
The militiamen has peacefully taken over the unoccupied Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on January 2 to protest the conviction of two Harney County ranchers arrested and convicted under very questionable federal terrorism charges for a small grass fire that they themselves contained and extinguished.
Harney County was once filled with private ranches that made it one of the wealthiest counties in the state of Oregon, but locals allege that aggressive federal government actions to take over and expand their control of lands in western states has driven most ranchers out of business, and have ruined the local economy, as the Bureau of Land Management has mismanaged most of the lands they control in western states.
Most of the nation was unaware of the mismanagement of federalized western lands until the Bundy Ranch standoff in 2014, which stemmed from a 20-year legal battle over grazing fees.