- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Federal and state agents set up a perimeter around the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge early Wednesday in an effort to flush out remaining militants after making eight arrests and capturing the group’s leaders in a highway stop that left one dead.

The FBI said the refuge had been contained to “better ensure the safety of community members” near Burns, Oregon, where several dozen militants have occupied a refuge headquarters building since Jan. 2 in a protest against federal public-lands authority.

It remains unclear how many people remain at the building. Eight men have been arrested, including protest leaders Ammon and Ryan Bundy, after the FBI and Oregon State Police intercepted their vehicles at 4:25 p.m. Tuesday on U.S. 395 as they headed to a nearby community meeting.

In a statement, the FBI said that “there were shots fired,” leaving one person dead. While the agency has not identified the victim, a Nevada state legislator and others have said that the man killed was 55-year-old Robert “LaVoy” Finicum of Canes Bed, Arizona.

The FBI and Oregon State Police are scheduled to hold a press conference Wednesday afternoon at the wildlife refuge.



“The entire leadership is gone,” Brand Thornton, a Bundy supporter who left the refuge Monday, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. “I wouldn’t blame any of them for leaving.”

Ryan Bundy suffered a minor gunshot wound during the arrest. The Nevada-based Bundy family has a history of challenging federal public-lands authority, notably a 2014 stand-off with federal agents at their ranch over a grazing-fee dispute.

So far eight people have been arrested. In addition to the Bundy brothers, the following were arrested at the highway stop: Ryan W. Payne, 32, of Anaconda, Montana; Brian Cavalier, 44, of Bunkerville, Nevada; and Shawna J. Cox, 59, of Kanab, Utah.

Two others, Joseph Donald O’Shaughnessy, 45, of Cottonwood, Arizona; and Peter Santilli, 50, of Cincinnati, Ohio, were arrested separately in Burns.

Jon Eric Ritzheimer, 32, turned himself in late Tuesday to police in Peoria, Arizona.

“One individual who was a subject of a federal probable cause arrest is deceased,” the FBI statement said. “We will not be releasing any information about that person pending identification by the medical examiner’s office.”

Nevada state Assemblywoman Michele Fiore said in a Tuesday night Twitter post that the person killed was LaVoy Finicum, a frequent spokesman for the group, which went by the name Citizens for Constitutional Freedom.

Mr. Finicum was interviewed Jan. 6 by MSNBC as he sat outside under a blue tarp with a rifle in his lap, earning the hashtag #Tarpman.

“My heart & [prayers] go out to LaVoy Finicum’s family he was just murdered with his hands up in Burns OR. Ryan Bundy has been shot in the arm,” Ms. Fiore tweeted.

The militants, who had held frequent press conferences and traveled back and forth from the refuge, had called for the release of the two Harney County ranchers after they were sentenced to five years’ prison each for a fire on their property that spread to federal land.

The group had also called for the Obama administration to relinquish control of federal lands to localities.

• The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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