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NW Life | News | An Occupation In Eastern Oregon

Trapped Inside Malheur Refuge, Militants Desperate For Way Out


David Fry, a 27-year-old from Ohio, was one of the last remaining occupiers at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. He surrendered Feb. 11.

David Fry, a 27-year-old from Ohio, was one of the last remaining occupiers at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. He surrendered Feb. 11.

Amanda Peacher/OPB

OPB’s Think Out Loud talked Thursday with David Fry and Sandy Anderson, two of the remaining militants inside the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

They offered an inside account of the negotiations taking place with the FBI, and the growing anxiety among the militants as tension mounts to make their next step.

“The option is you go out there and they get you and it’s a felony crime and it’s a prison sentence,” Fry told Think Out Loud host Dave Miller. “A lot of us are scared of that option.”

Fry estimates that there are 20 guns in the refuge, left behind during the chaos of militants fleeing. 

“We’re not planning on using any guns. Like I said, we [want] to go home,” he said. “But if they want to attack us then we got to defend ourselves.”

Fry said if the FBI tried to arrest him, he would see it as an attack. 

“If they come in to arrest then they’re going to throw us behind bars where weird shit would happen,” Fry said. 

Fry said the FBI has specifically said they would only arrest occupier Sean Anderson if the remaining people inside surrendered. Fry said he viewed that as unacceptable.

Both Fry and militant Sandy Anderson said they would rather die by some means than go to prison.

“I feel that, instead of killing people, it’s better to somehow die,” Fry said.

“I don’t really want to kill people,” he told Dave Miller. “But I don’t want to be put in prison. And if I have to make it to where I have to die somehow, I’ll do that. But you don’t know if I’m gonna pull that trigger, you know?”

But Fry and Anderson maintain they did not start the occupation and were essentially just following orders. They emphasized that they’re not the militant leaders. Rather, they see themselves as scared foot soldiers. 

Now that all the leaders of the group have been arrested “all the chiefs left and they left us little Indians (behind),” said Anderson.  

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