Security Tightens in Burns after Shooting
Anti-U.S. government groups called on supporters to “stand by” on Wednesday after one protester was killed and eight arrested in the month-long occupation of an Oregon wildlife reserve over federal control of land.
U.S. authorities tightened security after their standoff with the occupiers turned violent on Tuesday when officers stopped a car carrying occupation leader Ammon Bundy and his group near the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
Activists said Robert LaVoy Finicum, a rancher who acted as a spokesman for the group, was killed in that confrontation. Bundy’s brother, Ryan, was wounded.
There were no details on what set off the shooting. The Federal Bureau of Investigation said authorities would hold a news conference on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. PST (1830 GMT) in Burns, a town near the refuge.
Amid concerns that Finicum’s killing could escalate violence, the Pacific Patriots Network, Oath Keepers and the Idaho III% – all self-styled militia groups sympathetic to the occupiers – said in a joint statement they were issuing an immediate “stand by” order to followers.
“During this time, cooler heads must prevail,” the statement said. “We do not wish to inflame the current situation and will engage in open dialogue until all of the facts have been gathered.”
Anti-militia sentiment also lit up social media, making #OregonStandoff among the top trending hashtags.
Authorities said the new security involves a series of checkpoints along key routes into and out of the refuge and was made out of an “abundance of caution” to protect the public and law enforcement. Only ranchers who own property in the area will be allowed in and anyone coming out of the refuge will have to show identity and have their vehicle searched.
A law enforcement official said authorities setting up a perimeter around the refuge “remain hopeful” that those on the compound will now depart peacefully.