The story of Ammon Bundy and his not so merry band of Federal Wildlife Refuge occupiers is about to come to its end.
Following the overnight arrest of the Oregon militia leader and six of his associates by the FBI, as well as deadly shooting during a confrontation with federal authorities of Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, spokesperson for the militiamen occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, moments ago Portland’s KATU reported that Ammon Bundy, through his attorney, asked the remaining armed occupiers at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge to stand down and go home.
Bundy and the others were taken to Portland and booked into the Multnomah County Jail and made their first appearance in federal court on felony charges.
It was here that Bundy decided to stand down.
“I’m asking the federal government to allow the people at the refuge to go home without being prosecuted,” Bundy said through his attorney Mike Arnold, who stood outside court to read Bundy’s statement. “To those remaining at the refuge, I love you. Let us take this fight from here. Please stand down. Please stand down. Go home and hug your families. This fight is ours for now in the courts. Please go home.”
Earlier, the handful of remaining armed occupiers tried to convince more people to join them via a YouTube livestream and told any would-be occupiers that if the federal authorities “stop you from getting here, KILL THEM!”
The occupiers took over the refuge Jan. 2.
In addition to Bundy, those arrested were Ryan Bundy, Brian Cavalier, Shawna Cox and Ryan W. Payne. They were taken into custody during a traffic stop. Joseph Donald O’Shaughnessy and online talk-show radio host Peter Santilli were arrested in Burns. Jon Ritzheimer was arrested after surrendering to authorities in his home state of Arizona.
Top row from left are Ammon Bundy, Ryan Bundy, Brian Cavalier and Shawna Cox. Bottom row from left are Joseph Donald O’Shaughnessy, Ryan Payne, Jon Eric Ritzheimer and Peter Santilli. (Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office/Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office via AP)
KATU adds that a federal judge ordered the seven defendants in Portland to stay in federal custody. The judge ruled there’s a risk they wouldn’t show up in court, and those under arrest pose a danger to the community because the occupation at the wildlife refuge continues.
Defense attorneys argued that none of those under arrest have significant criminal records, but the judge agreed with prosecutors that all should remain in custody until a detention hearing scheduled for Friday.
None of the seven defendants entered any plea on the charge of impeding federal wildlife officers from doing their job, although the outcome of the legal process at this point is virtually assured: prison, of the Federal kind.