'Dead Cowboy,' Arrests Leave Oregon Standoff in Disarray

Protest spokesman LaVoy Finicum is dead
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 27, 2016 4:09 AM CST
Updated Jan 27, 2016 7:09 AM CST
Occupation in Disarray After Shooting, 8 Arrests
LaVoy Finicum speaks to the media earlier this month.   (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Occupation over? Eight people were arrested after an anti-government protester was shot dead Tuesday evening, and it's no longer clear who—if anybody—is now leading the occupation of an Oregon wildlife refuge. The man killed after FBI and state police stopped vehicles on Highway 395 has been identified as Robert "LaVoy" Finicum, 55, a spokesman for the occupation and one of its most visible members, the Oregonian reports. "He would never ever want to hurt somebody, but he does believe in defending freedom and he knew the risks involved," one of the Arizona rancher's 11 children tells the paper. In other developments:

  • The FBI and Oregon State Police say group leader Ammon Bundy and his brother Ryan were among five people arrested after the highway incident, Oregon Public Broadcasting reports. Two men were arrested in the nearby town of Burns, and another suspect was arrested in Arizona.

  • Authorities say Ryan Bundy, 43, suffered a gunshot wound during the incident and was treated in a hospital before being released to FBI custody.
  • It isn't clear how many people remain at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, which the protesters seized in early January. Bundy supporter Brand Thornton says he left on Monday. "The entire leadership is gone," he tells the AP. "I wouldn't blame any of them for leaving."
  • There are conflicting accounts of the highway shooting. Nevada lawmaker Michele Fiore says Ammon Bundy called his wife and told her that Finicum was cooperating with authorities when he was shot, but sources tell the Oregonian that he resisted arrest and ignored an order to surrender.
  • Raw Story reports that one of the two men arrested in Arizona is Jon Ritzheimer, another high-profile occupier. In a Facebook post, he says he came home to see his daughters before turning himself in, and he asks for donations to help with legal fees.
  • The FBI says all eight people arrested will 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 threat," per the AP.
  • "I am pleased that the FBI has listened to the concerns of the local community and responded to the illegal activity occurring in Harney County by outside extremists," Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley said in a statement. "I hope that the remaining individuals occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge will peacefully surrender."
  • One occupier still at the refuge tells the New York Times that the plan now is to wait for sunlight "and see what's up." Jason Patrick says the mood is "prepared but calm," but he believes the FBI is "hellbent on war." "They said 'peaceful resolution,' but now there is a dead cowboy," he says.
(Read more Ammon Bundy stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.