The sheriff of the county at the heart of a militia dispute in Oregon is asking armed protesters who came to the aid of two ranchers to turn back and go home.
“The Hammonds have turned themselves in today at 1:37PM ET in accordance with the law, and are currently in custody in a federal correctional institution in California,” Harney County Sheriff David Ward said at a press conference earlier today.
“This incident originally started out when people from outside of the area and state arrived in an attempt to prevent the Hammonds from returning to prison.”
“This began as a peaceful protest. It took an unfortunate turn when some of those folks broke off and began an armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.”
“I want to talk directly to the people at the wildlife refuge: You said you were here to help the citizens of Harney County. That help ended when a peaceful protest became an armed occupation.”
“The Hammonds have turned themselves in. It’s time for you to leave our community, go home to your families and end this peacefully.”
Lawyers for Dwight and Steven Hammond distanced themselves and their clients from the protesters, led by members of the Bundy ranching family, saying that “Neither Ammon Bundy nor anyone within his group/organization speak for the Hammond Family.”