Ammon Bundy, other protesters arrested in Oregon; LaVoy Finicum killed
Ammon Bundy, leader of the armed protesters who took over a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon, was arrested and one of his followers killed in a highway traffic stop Tuesday.
A law enforcement official told CNN that authorities pulled over two vehicles. Everyone obeyed orders to surrender except two people: LaVoy Finicum and Bundy’s brother, Ryan Bundy, the official said.
Shots were fired, but it’s not known who fired first, the official said. Ryan Bundy was injured, but Finicum died, the official added.
Finicum was among the most outspoken of the occupiers who took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns on January 2 to protest federal land policies.
Earlier this month, he said he’d rather be killed than arrested.
“Absolutely … I have no intention of spending any of my days in a concrete box,” he told NBC News. “There are things more important than your life and freedom is one of them,” he said. “I’m prepared to defend freedom.”
All together, police arrested seven people: five in the traffic stop on Highway 395 with Ammon Bundy; and two others in Burns.
All seven arrested face a federal felony charge relating to their occupation of the refuge: conspiracy to impede officers of the United States from discharging their official duties through the use of force, intimidation or threats, authorities said.
“It appears that America was fired upon by our government. One of liberty’s finest patriots is fallen. He will not go silent into eternity,” the occupiers said on the Bundy Ranch Facebook page.
Those arrested are: Ammon Bundy, Ryan Bundy, Brian Cavalier, Shawna Cox and Ryan Waylen Payne.
The other two are: Joseph Donald O’Shaughnessy and Peter Santilli.
“I have some sons and other people there trying to protect our rights and liberties and freedoms, and now we’ve got one killed, and all I can say is, he’s sacrificed for a good purpose,” Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy told the Los Angeles Times when informed of his sons’ arrests.
Ammon Bundy, son of controversial Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, and others started out protesting the sentencing of Dwight Hammond and his son Steven, ranchers convicted of arson on federal lands in Oregon.
But a march supporting the Hammonds led to the armed occupation of the refuge, with occupiers decrying what they call government overreach when it comes to federal lands.
Last week, Oregon’s governor said that she’d had enough of the protest at the refuge in Harney County, in the southeastern corner of her state.
“The residents of Harney County have been overlooked and underserved by federal officials’ response thus far,” Gov. Kate Brown said during a news conference. “This spectacle of lawlessness must end. And until Harney County is free of it I will not stop insisting that federal officials enforce the law.”
CNN’s Shane Deitert, Dave Alsup and Joshua Gaynor contributed to this report.
By Evan Perez, Holly Yan and Dana Ford