BURNS, Ore. — Oregon militia leader Ammon Bundy is urging his followers at a wildlife refuge near Burns, Ore., to leave, according to a statement released by his attorney.Still more.
Bundy's lawyer, Mike Arnold, read a statement by Bundy, arrested Tuesday, on the steps of a courthouse in Portland.
"Right now, 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."
The statement also paid tribute to Lavoy Finnicum, the protester who died on Tuesday, as federal and state authorities arrested Bundy and seven more at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Bundy and the protesters had holed up there since Jan. 2. Authorities said the arrests came after futile efforts to end the standoff peacefully for 25 days.
Bundy's reported request came after mounting pressure from authorities for the protesters to abandon the site.
"They have chosen to threaten and intimidate the America they profess to love and through their criminal actions bring these consequences upon themselves," said Greg Bretzing, FBI special agent in charge, said earlier Wednesday.
In a particularly emotional statement before reporters, Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward spoke directly to the remaining half-dozen holdouts at the refuge.
"It is time for everybody in this illegal occupation to move on," Ward said, stopping periodically to regain his composure. "There doesn't have to be bloodshed in our community. (When) we have issues with the way things are in our government, we have a responsibility as citizens to act on them in an appropriate manner. We don't arm up, we don't rebel. We work through the appropriate channels. This can't happen anymore, this can't happen in America, and it can't happen in Harney County."
The brief statements by the FBI, sheriff and federal prosecutor came one day after law enforcement officers stopped a group of the protesters at a roadblock about 20 miles north of the refuge.
Arizona resident Robert "LaVoy" Finicum, 56, the soft-spoken but defiant co-leader of the protest group victim, was shot and killed. Officials refused to provide details, but his identity was confirmed by his family and reported by The Oregonian and NBC News.
Meanwhile, several members of a self-styled militia continued to defy authorities and maintain their occupation of the federal facility...
And at the Portland Oregonian, "Ammon Bundy, via attorney, tells refuge militants to go home."