FBI Surrounds Militants Still Inside Refuge After 1 Dead, 8 Arrested
A handful of armed militants remain at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge following the arrests the group’s leaders Tuesday night. Militant Robert "LaVoy" Finicum was killed in the arrest operation.
FBI officials have established checkpoints around the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge as a handful of armed militants remain inside.
OPB spoke with the new leaders inside the compound, which include militant Jason Patrick. He said the remaining group of militants are prepared to stay for the long run.
The children that OPB reported were inside the compound before the standoff are not in the building.
In a press release early Wednesday, FBI officials said any vehicles approaching the established checkpoints will be stopped and searched, and all occupants of the vehicles must present identification.
Law enforcement officials said they will arrest anyone who is not compliant with the checkpoint procedure. The only people allowed to pass the checkpoints will be local ranchers, according to the FBI.
“Anyone coming out of the refuge will have his or her identification confirmed and any associated vehicles searched,” the FBI stated.
The month-long occupation of an Oregon wildlife refuge took a turn toward a possible conclusion Tuesday night – with the death of militant Robert "LaVoy" Finicum after an officer involved shooting. At least eight others were arrested, including the leader of the takeover Ammon Bundy.
By Wednesday morning, most media outlets – including OPB – had pulled their teams out from the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Members of the media left the occupied area after militants began to act erratically in the early morning and the FBI issued a warning that federal authorities would begin to take action without consideration of bystanders.
However, that was just an addendum to an already surreal experience near the compound. Militants – many of them well known by now to the press – took turns saying goodbye to loved ones, or promising revenge for the shooting of LaVoy Finicum.
One unidentified woman asked the media not to leave.
"It’s sad that the media is really, the only protection right now. That’s a sad thing," she said.
Yet, with the behavior getting more extreme – the press – for the first time since January 2nd – abandoned the compound en masse to ensure safety – leaving the occupiers alone to face what may come – on their own.