An Occupation In Eastern Oregon

Standoff At The Malheur Refuge: Day 26 Updates

By OPB Staff (OPB)
Jan. 27, 2016 7:25 p.m.

UPDATE (11:42 p.m.)  Three additional people were arrested Wednesday outside the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon, after they chose to turn themselves into police, the FBI said in a release.

Duane Leo Ehmer of Irrigon, Oregon, Dylan Wade Anderson of Provo, Utah, and Jason Patrick of Bonaire, Georgia, were all arrested, police said.


All were in contact with law enforcement prior to their arrests and face felony charges, according to the FBI.

Law enforcement set up checkpoint blocking the roads in and out of the refuge early Wednesday.

Since the FBI established its checkpoints, eight people have left the refuge, police said. Of those, the FBI released five people and arrested the others.

UPDATE: (4:30 p.m.) In a statement released through a law firm representing Ammon Bundy, the leader of the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge asked the federal government to allow the occupiers who remain at the refuge to be allowed to go home without prosecution.

Related: Militants Appear In Federal Court, Bundy Calls For End To Standoff

"I am asking the federal government to allow the people at the refuge to go home without being prosecuted," the statement read. "To those remaining at the refuge, I love you. Let us take this fight from here.  Please stand down. Go home and hug your families. This fight is ours for now in the courts. Please go home.

"Being in the system, we are going to take this opportunity to answer the questions on Art. 1, Section 8, Cause 17 of the United States Constitution regarding rights of statehood and the limits on federal property ownership.  Thank you and god bless America."

Bundy was arrested along with seven others on Tuesday. He was arraigned in federal court in Portland on Wednesday.

Bundy also expressed sympathy for deceased occupier LaVoy Finicum, who died Tuesday in an incident with law enforcement.

"LaVoy is one of the greatest men and greatest patriots I have ever seen. His love for this country ran deep through the blood he gave yesterday. And I mourn for him and his family. I’m praying for you fervently in every prayer."

This is a developing story. We’ll update with new information as it comes in. Read all of the related coverage from the armed occupation in Eastern Oregon.

UPDATE: (3:50 p.m.) Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said Harney County will need some time to heal from the wounds caused by the ongoing armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. In an interview with OPB's Chris Lehman, Brown praised local officials for their leadership during the troubling time, but said their work won't be over soon.

“I would encourage them to speak with folks in the community and figure out what is the best way for the community to move forward,” Brown said. “But clearly this community is going to need time to heal.”

In a separate interview with OPB's Jeff Mapes, Oregon Rep. Cliff Bentz, R-Ontario, whose district includes Harney County, said "people don't know what to do because they haven't heard the facts yet," in reference to Tuesday's event. He did praise law enforcement officials for doing what they could to minimize bloodshed, though.

UPDATE: (3 p.m.) OPB obtained the criminal complaint filed in federal court Wednesday against the eight militants charged in relation to the armed occupation of the Malheur Natonal Wildlife Refuge. The documents outline the government's case against the militants in detail.

UPDATE: (1:20 p.m.) The FBI arrested an eighth person in connection with the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Arizona Tuesday, but he will not be arraigned Wednesday in Portland with the seven arrested in Oregon. Jon Ritzheimer, 32, turned himself into local authorities in Arizona and also faces a felony charge related to the occupation.

Ritheimer is being held in the 4th Avenue Jail in Maricopa County, Arizona.

UPDATE: (1:02 p.m.) The FBI and Oregon State Police have shut down large portions of Highway 205 in Harney County, Oregon, around the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. As OPB's John Sepulvado reports, heavily armed FBI agents are stopping cars.

"Once the cars are stopped, agents who look dressed for Baghdad, not Burns, Oregon, order all occupants out one by one," Sepulvado said.

"FBI snipers atop armored cars point their scopes and tell travelers to raise their hands. Then Oregon State Police run background checks on the people trying to leave the refuge area. Meanwhile, FBI agents take control of these travelers' vehicles to drive about 500 meters. There, another group of guards have the people wait.

How We Got Here: Malheur Occupation Reference Guide

"Once everything is clear, the cars are released back to the driver – and are free to go. But not return."

Listen to Sepulvado's reporting:

UPDATE: (12:20 p.m.) Oregon Gov. Kate Brown released a new statement following Wednesday's law enforcement press conference. In it, the governor stated she is doing everything in her power to resolve the ongoing occupation in Harney County and bring about justice.

Related: Harney County Residents Relieved But Still On Edge

“As the federal investigation continues in Harney County, I want to acknowledge the forbearance of residents, including members of the Burns-Paiute Tribe, who have been subjected to significant disruption throughout this ordeal," Brown said. "I hear your concerns about safety and potential damage to tribal lands and artifacts, and over the course of the occupation, I have repeatedly conveyed them to our highest levels of government. Please know I am doing everything in my power to restore normal life to Harney County. My office will continue collaborating with law enforcement partners to resolve the situation quickly and safely and hold wrongdoers accountable.”

Prior to Tuesday's arrests, Brown had been vocally critical of the FBI's management of the situation.

Photos from Multnomah County Sheriff's Office

UPDATE: (11:55 a.m.) The seven occupants arrested in Oregon Tuesday are scheduled to appear before Magistrate Judge Stacie F. Beckerman today at 1:30 p.m. in Portland. They will be indicted on felony charges related to the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.


The seven individuals are:

  • Ammon Edward Bundy, 40, of Emmett, Idaho
  • Ryan C. Bundy, 43, of Bunkerville, Nevada,
  • Brian Cavalier, 44, of Bunkerville, Nevada
  • Shawna Cox, 59, Kanab, Utah
  • Joseph Donald O'Shaughnessy, 45, of Cottonwood, Arizona
  • Ryan Waylen Payne, 32, of Anaconda, Montana
  • Peter Santilli, 50, of Cincinnati, Ohio

In a press release issued Tuesday, officials said they would be charged with 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."

Law enforcement officials involved in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation gave an update about events that occurred Tuesday and the ongoing standoff.

Law enforcement officials involved in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation gave an update about events that occurred Tuesday and the ongoing standoff.

Dave Blanchard / OPB

UPDATE: (11:35 a.m.) Law enforcement officials involved in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation gave an update about events that occurred Tuesday and the ongoing standoff. At a press conference Wednesday morning, U.S. District Attorney for Oregon Bill Williams said those arrested, including Ammon and Ryan Bundy, will be arraigned at 1:30 p.m. today in Portland, Oregon. 

FBI Special Agent in Charge Greg Bretzing said "the armed occupiers were given ample opportunities to leave peacefully ... They chose, instead, to threaten the very America they profess to love with violence, intimidation and criminal acts."
"If the people (still) at the refuge want to leave, they can do so through the checkpoints where they will be identified."
Referencing Tuesday's arrests and an officer-involved fatal shooting, an emotional Harney County Sheriff David Ward said, “We could have waited a lot longer, but this has been tearing our community apart."
Ward noted that his office has been working on a peaceful resolution to rising tensions since Nov. 5, nearly two months before the occupation began.
"They had ultimatums I couldn't meet. I'm disappointed the traffic stop ended badly. It didn’t have to happen. We all make choices in life. Sometimes those choices go bad," he said.

UPDATE: (10:54 a.m.) OPB's John Sepulvado is on the ground in Harney County outside the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. He told OPB's Dave Miller on Think Out Loud that the FBI has stepped up its security around the refuge. He said he had to undergo a background check and his vehicle was checked when he arrived near the refuge last night.

UPDATE: (10:30 a.m.) The law enforcement partners involved in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation will hold a press conference at 11 a.m. to provide updates on the ongoing situation. Harney County Sheriff David Ward, FBI Special Agent in Charge Greg Bretzing and U.S. Attorney Bill Williams are all expected to speak.

OPB Radio will air the press conference live. Think Out Loud will precede the press conference with live updates on the situation beginning at 10:36 this morning. You can listen live online. KGW will live stream a TV broadcast of the press conference.

UPDATE: (9:25 a.m.) In a statement released early Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Hood River, asked the occupiers who remain in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge after Tuesday night's events to "go home before anyone else gets hurt."

“I’ve been in close contact with local and federal officials throughout this long standoff, and we had all hoped for a peaceful conclusion to the situation in Harney County. Sadly, our hopes were shattered with the shooting that occurred during last night’s arrest.   While we wait to learn more details and next steps, we must keep the people of Harney County in our hearts as they are a strong community and have endured a great deal,” he said.

“And when this (is) done and the cameras’ glare turns away from rural Oregon, the healing process will be a long one. Widespread frustration will continue until people in rural American feel like they are being heard and meaningful changes are made to federal land management policy.”

OPB’s Conrad Wilson spoke with Morning Edition host Geoff Norcross about what happened Tuesday and what comes next.

UPDATE: (7:30 a.m.) FBI officials have established checkpoints around the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge as a handful of armed militants remain inside.

Related Content: Occupation To Standoff: FBI Surrounds Militants Still Inside Malheur Refuge

UPDATE: (5:00 a.m.)  OPB spoke with the new leaders inside the compound, which include militant Jason Patrick. He said the remaining group of militants are prepared to stay for the long run.

The children that OPB reported were inside the compound before the standoff are not in the building.

UPDATE (4:30 a.m.): FBI officials have established checkpoints around the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge as a handful of armed militants remain inside.

FBI officials say any vehicles approaching the checkpoints will be stopped and searched, and all occupants of the vehicles must present identification. Law enforcement officials said in a press release early Wednesday morning they will arrest anyone who is not compliant with the checkpoint procedure.

The only people allowed to pass the checkpoints will be local ranchers, according to the FBI.

“Anyone coming out of the refuge will have his or her identification confirmed and any associated vehicles searched,” a press release from the FBI stated.

How We Got Here: Malheur Occupation Reference Guide

UPDATE (4:00 a.m) The monthlong occupation of an Oregon wildlife refuge took a turn Tuesday night – with the death of one militant after an officer involved shooting. At least eight others were arrested, including the leader of the occupation Ammon Bundy.

Related Content: What happened last night.