Oregon militants negotiating surrender to end occupation of wildlife refuge
The 41-day occupation of an Oregon wildlife preserve by armed militants isn’t over yet.
Sean Anderson, Sandy Anderson, David Fry and Jeff Banta had remained at the Malheur National Wildlife Preserve for 16 days after the arrests of the group’s leaders and the fatal shooting of one its most prominent spokesmen as he attempted to evade capture.
The four holdouts agreed to surrender Thursday morning during phone conversations the previous night, during a tense standoff with federal authorities, with Nevada Assemblywoman Michele Fiore and the Rev. Franklin Graham.
The lawmaker and religious leader spoke by phone to the militants as they traveled to the nature preserve for a possible surrender.
david fry "I'm ready to die."
— John Sepulvado (@JohnLGC) February 11, 2016
Cliven Bundy, the father of the occupiers jailed leaders, was arrested Wednesday night at the Portland airport, and another prominent militant, Blaine Cooper, was arrested Thursday, according to his wife.
The militants were suspicious of the FBI and the negotiators as they attempted to bring the standoff to a close, but they insisted they had left their weapons in cars parked away from their area.
Fiore, the Republican lawmaker is a longtime ally of the Bundy family, who led the occupation, and the holdout militants had asked Graham to negotiate with the federal government on their behalf.
The militants agreed to surrender as they spoke by phone with Fiore, who drove with jailed militant Ammon Bundy’s lawyer across Oregon.
The conversation was broadcast live online by another of the militant group’s supporters.
Sandy Anderson repeatedly communicated a wish to die in an armed standoff with federal agents, saying she would not agree to any terms that involved her arrest.
The militants repeatedly said they would agree to a surrender that allowed them to walk out of the nature preserve without criminal charges and with their guns.
Fiore arrived in Burns, Oregon, overnight, and Graham arrived early Thursday morning.
(Note: The Raw Story removed a link to the livestream video after Fry reported that he had a gun pointed at his head and intended to use it.)