By: Regina Wright ~Staff Writer~
After almost a month-long occupation at a federal wildlife refuge to protest government land policies, seven members of the Citizens for Constitutional Freedom in Oregon were arrested. Another member was shot and killed at a roadblock set in place by local law enforcement.
The occupiers were stopped by law enforcement on a desolated stretch of highway near the refuge Tuesday afternoon. LaVoy Finicum, one of the group’s most prominent leaders, was shot and killed after law enforcement said he reached toward his jacket where a loaded gun was located as they tried to arrest him.
After various versions of the shooting circulated, the FBI released a video of the shooting taken by an aircraft.
“We know there are various versions of what occurred during this event: most inaccurate, some inflammatory,” Greg Bretzing, the FBI’s special agent in charge in Oregon, said. “To that end, we want to do what we can to lay out an honest and unfiltered view of what happened and how it happened.”
The video shows Finicum running from his truck at the roadblock, trenching through the snow away from police officers – during which he reaches for his jacket two times. Law enforcement had intelligence that the members would be armed, and after his second movement towards his jacket he was shot and killed. It was later reported that he had a loaded 9mm semi-automatic handgun in the pocket he was reaching for.
Later on Tuesday night, the groups’ leader, Ammon Bundy, his brother, Ryan Bundy, along with Brian Cavalier, Shawna Cox and Ryan Payne were arrested. Two other members were arrested 30 miles away from the refuge that night.
Four more members were arrested on Wednesday, three in Oregon and one in Arizona. The FBI said the Wednesday arrests were made without incident after the members turned themselves in.
Four members of the group are still in the refuge. In a YouTube video posted on Friday, one of the four said they would not leave until all the members were given full pardons.
Ammon Bundy appeared in court and was questioned as to why he and the other members took over the refuge. Judge Stacie Beckerman denied bond to Ammon Bundy, Ryan Bundy, Payne, Dylan Anderson and Jason Patrick. She granted bond to Joseph O’Shaughnessy and Shawna Cox, but prosecutors filed an appeal. Another hearing was set for Feb. 1.