Things to know about the #OregonStandoff at Malheur Natl. Wildlife Refuge
BURNS, Ore. (AP) The FBI has arrested the leaders of an armed group that has occupied a national wildlife refuge in Oregon for more than three weeks. Here is a rundown of how the arrests and their aftermath:
Militant leader Ammon Bundy and his followers were reportedly heading to a community meeting Tuesday in a small community near the wildlife refuge to explain to local residents their views on federal management of public lands. In a statement, the FBI and Oregon State Police said police arrested Ammon Bundy, his brother, Ryan, and three others during a traffic stop north of Burns.
LaVoy Finicum, an outspoken member of the armed group who would often speak at news conferences in place of Bundy, was shot and killed during the confrontation. Ryan Bundy suffered a non-life threatening injury in the shooting.
CNN is reporting it's unclear who fired first.
LaVoy Finicum was a frequent and public presence at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, often speaking at press conferences with Ammon Bundy.
WHY DID AUTHORITIES TAKE ACTION NOW?
The FBI didn't say Tuesday, although federal officials had come under increasing pressure from Oregon's governor and local leaders to do something. Bundy's group had been free to come and go. They'd held frequent news conferences at the site, traveled to meet with sympathizers and others to espouse their views and some even attended a community meeting last week, where local residents shouted at them to leave. Bundy had been in contact with an FBI negotiator and local law enforcement.
HOW DID THIS BEGIN?
The group took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on Jan. 2 after a peaceful protest in nearby Burns, Oregon, over the conviction of two local ranchers on arson charges. Dwight Hammond, 73, and his son Steven Hammond, 46, said they lit fires on federal land in 2001 and 2006 to reduce the growth of invasive plants and protect their property from wildfires. The two were convicted three years ago. But in October, a federal judge ruled their terms were too short under U.S. law and ordered them back to prison for about four years each. Among the demands by the Bundy group is for the Hammonds to be released.
WHAT CHARGES DO THOSE ARRESTED FACE?
The FBI said the people arrested 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.
WHAT'S HAPPENING AT THE REFUGE NOW?
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.
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.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown asked for "patience as officials continue pursuit of a swift and peaceful resolution."