One dead, one wounded in Bundy shootout with police in Oregon
Local, state, and federal authorities engaged in a shootout on a remote Oregon road with Ammon and Ryan Bundy, along with several of their followers, who are occupying a wildlife refiuge in a remote area of the state.
After an exchange of gunfire that left one man dead and another injured, the two brothers who orchestrated the armed occupation of a remote central Oregon wildlife refuge were taken into custody along with six of their followers Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the Oregonian reported that police had set up roadblocks around the occupied refuge and were urging those inside to leave. It appeared that few took up the offer, the Oregon paper reported: as of midnight Pacific Time, the lights were still on and several people remained inside.
The Oregonian said that a convoy of police rigs, passenger cars and armored vehicles was seen driving south on Oregon 205, past the turn-off for the refuge. Other convoys were also reported in the area.
The Tuesday encounter with police on a frozen stretch of highway north of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, where a small cast of gun-toting, cowboy hat and camouflage-wearing anti-government activists had been camped out for weeks, was a dramatic break in the the tense, three-week standoff with local and federal authorities — at least, for leaders Ammon and Ryan Bundy.
Other participants in the siege remained at the refuge, even as they received word that their de facto spokesperson, LaVoy Finicum, had been killed in the confrontation with police and that eight other occupiers were either arrested or turned themselves in. Authorities did not release the names of man killed or the person wounded, reported by the Oregonian to be Ryan Bundy.
Gary Hunt, a board member of a militia network known as Operation Mutual Defense who arrived Sunday from California to support the occupiers, toldthe Oregonian that those still in the compound “have decided they’re going to hold their ground.” But there is some confusion about who is leading the occupation now that Ammon Bundy is under arrest, he added.
The standoff in Oregon has aroused passion and controversy across the country, in part because the government took little action to stop it, reportedly fearing a repeat of the heavy loss of life when federal agents broke up a siege at a Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Tex., in 1993, resulting in the deaths of four federal officers and 82 civilians.
A man is dead because the feds decided it was time to throw their weight around and the "occupiers" decided to shoot it out rather than surrender peacefully. Idiocy all around and entirely predictable.
The actions taken by authorities was wide ranging and apparently part of a carefully planned operation.
The initial arrests, around 4:25 local time, seemed to set off a chain reaction. About an hour and a half after the first encounter, Oregon State Police apprehended Joseph Donald O’Shaughnessy, a 45-year-old occupier from Cottonwood, Ariz. known as “Captain,” during a separate event in Burns. Soon after that, Peter Santilli — a 50-year-old from Cincinnati known for his live streams of refuge events — was also arrested in Burns, which is the Harney County seat.
Meanwhile in Peoria, Ariz., Jon Eric Ritzheimer, 32, turned himself into the local police department. Ritzheimer, an outspoken participant in the takeover, was also wanted on a federal conspiracy charge.
Why now? Just like the massacre at the Branch Davidian compound, the feds proved to be impatient, incompetent, and poorly led. The confrontation on the highway was guaranteed to erupt into violence. Perhaps that's what the feds wanted; an opporunity to take down the leaders of the occupation.
As for the Bundys, what possessed these clowns to believe they could come and go from the refuge with impunity? You're either occupying a government building or you're not. The Bundys, who were going to be arrested when the seige ended anyway, may have been trying to provoke the feds into a free for all by traveling to a town 100 miles away to give a speech at a community meeting.
There was absolutely no reason to force a showdown at this time. All it has done is put steel in the spine of those left occupying the refuge, making a peaceful ending to this incident even less likely.