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‘I’m holding a gun to my head. I’m very tired.’
The last of four remaining armed anti-government occupiers of a national wildlife refuge in Oregon turned himself over to the FBI after an hours-long standoff, officially ending the occupation.
David Fry, 27, the last remaining holdout, spoke with friends Gavin Seim and activist Krisanne Hall over the phone Thursday morning and said he felt suicidal and was holding a gun to his head. They attempted to calm Fry and urged him to surrender to authorities as thousands listened to the conversation stream live on YouTube.
After asking the FBI agents outside to yell, “Hallelujah”—which they did—Fry announced, “I’m walking towards them right now.”
The 41-day confrontation with the FBI and state police had obviously taken its toll. Fry spoke frantically, complained of being “tired” and “confused,” and appeared very emotional.
The three occupiers who had refused to leave the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on Wednesday night—Jeff Banta of Elko, Nevada, and Sandy and Sean Anderson of Riggins, Idaho—handed themselves over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Thursday morning.
Cliven Bundy, the father of occupation leader Ammon Bundy, was arrested late Wednesday; he faces charges of assault on a federal officer, obstruction, and conspiracy, among other charges. Ammon Bundy was arrested in January along with 11 other militants. One of the occupiers was killed by police.
The other arrested militants, including Fry, face felony charges for their role in the standoff.
Throughout the ordeal on Thursday, Fry’s voice was broadcast by Seim over a YouTube channel. At several points during the livestream, Fry threatened to take his own life. “I’m just tired of living here,” he said.
Fry also made requests for “protection,” knowing that he was facing prison time, while ranting against the abuse he perceived coming from the federal government. “My grievances are what caused me to come here in the first place,” he said. “So they need to address that this situation is because of them doing it, it’s their problem that they created.”
“Poverty is the mother of all crime. And at least I’m not burning and looting stores,” Fry said. “I planned a more peaceful protest here, and now no one’s attacking. Everybody’s just staying here defending. Not trying to tear up anything.”
“Americans have become radical in themselves,” he added, “being all anti-Muslim and everything, but they don’t even know their own book.”
Addressing the FBI, Fry said he didn’t “feel safe” coming out.
“You guys are telling me I’m safe to get to you guys. But I don’t want to be put behind bars,” he said. “I don’t want to take that risk. Man wasn’t made to be put behind bars for standing up for his rights.”
Screenshot via Google Maps
Dell Cameron was a reporter at the Daily Dot who covered security and politics. In 2015, he revealed the existence of an American hacker on the U.S. government's terrorist watchlist. He is a co-author of the Sabu Files, an award-nominated investigation into the FBI's use of cyber-informants. He became a staff writer at Gizmodo in 2017.