Militia leader Ammon Bundy has urged anyone still occupying the federal wildlife refuge near Burns, Oregon, to pack up and go home.
Bundy’s lawyer, Mike Arnold, read Bundy’s statement on the steps of a Portland courthouse. His client was arrested, along with seven others, in an armed confrontation with local and federal law enforcement on Tuesday. Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, a Mormon cowboy from Arizona and occasional militia spokesman, was killed.
“Go home and hug your families. This fight is ours for now in the courts.”
“Right now, I am asking the federal government to allow the people at the refuge to go home without being prosecuted,” Bundy’s statement read. “To those remaining at the refuge, I love you. Let us take this fight from here. Please stand down. Go home and hug your families. This fight is ours for now in the courts. Please go home.”
Eight people have left the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge since authorities established checkpoints on major roads in the early hours Wednesday, according to the FBI. Three militia members—Duane Leo Ehmer, 45, Dylan Wade Anderson, 34, Jason S. Patrick, 43—were arrested without incident.
The eleven militia members arrested this week have each been charged with a felony count of “conspiracy to impede officers of the United States from discharging their official duties through the use of force, intimidation, or threats.”
At a press conference on Wednesday, officials from with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Harney County Sheriff’s Office, and Oregon State Police, declined to address questions about the death of Finicum, citing the ongoing operation to remove the militiamen and others at the .
Finicum, who split off from the group and set up camp with his rifle under a blue tarp outside, had vowed three weeks ago to die rather than be taken into custody.