Leaders of occupation at refuge in Oregon arrested; 1 killed, another wounded in highway confrontation

In a  dramatic development in the 25-day armed occupation of a central Oregon wildlife refuge, eight people, including occupation leaders Ammon and Ryan Bundy, were arrested Tuesday. One person was injured. Three others were held in separate incidents.

The FBI and Oregon State Police on Tuesday arrested the leaders of an armed group that has occupied a national wildlife refuge for the past three weeks, conducting a traffic stop that prompted gunfire — and one death — along a highway through the frozen high country.

The FBI said authorities arrested Bundy, 40, his brother Ryan Bundy, 43, Brian Cavalier, 44, Shawna Cox, 59, and Ryan Payne, 32, during a traffic stop on U.S. Highway 395 Tuesday afternoon. Authorities said another person, Joseph Donald O’Shaughnessy, 45, was arrested in Burns, as was 50-year-old Peter Santilli of Cincinnati, Ohio; Santilli has been operating an online talk-radio show during the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Militant leader Ammon Bundy and his followers were reportedly heading to a community meeting at the senior centre in John Day, a Grant County town about 110 kilometres north of Burns, to address local residents to discuss their views on federal management of public lands.

The Oregonian newspaper reported several hundred people had gathered at the John Day Senior Center on Tuesday evening and were told the “guest speakers” would not be appearing.

Authorities did not release the name of the person who died at the highway stop, but Finicum’s daughter confirmed it was Finicum, 55, of Cane Beds, Arizona, one of the cowboy-hat wearing faces of the takeover.

“My dad was such a good good man, through and through,” said Arianna Finicum Brown, 26, one of Finicum’s 11 children. “He would never ever want to hurt somebody, but he does believe in defending freedom and he knew the risks involved.”

Ryan Bundy, 43, of Bunkerville, Nev., suffered a minor gunshot wound in the confrontation about 4:30 p.m. along U.S. 395. He was treated and released from a local hospital and was in FBI custody, authorities said.

Also arrested during the stop were his brother, Ammon Bundy, 40, of Emmett, Idaho, Ryan W. Payne, 32, of Anaconda, Mont., Brian Cavalier, 44, of Bunkerville, Nevada, and Shawna J. Cox, 59, of Kanab, Utah. They were charged with conspiracy to impede federal officers, a felony.

Nevada Assemblywoman Michele Fiore said that Ammon Bundy called his wife, Lisa Bundy, from the back of a police car on Tuesday night.