NEW: Officers didn't have body cameras when they killed LaVoy Finicum last month, FBI says
The final holdout finally agrees to surrender after initially refusing to end occupation
Cliven Bundy is charged with six federal counts and will appear in federal court Thursday
A 41-day occupation at a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon ended Thursday when the four remaining protesters surrendered to authorities, according to a live-streamed phone call transmitted from the scene.
For a moment, the surrender took a dramatic turn when the last holdout refused to follow the other three and continued the standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge’s headquarters in Harney County.
David Fry contended his grievances against the federal government hadn’t been addressed, but he ultimately relented and abandoned the occupation after supporters coaxed him on the phone call, which was carried on YouTube and followed by tens of thousands of listeners for several hours.
Fry said, “I am walking to them right now” as the other people on the phone call said, “Hallelujah, keep walking.”
Through the open phone line, listeners could hear officials as they arrested the man, saying “nice and easy, hands behind your back.”
The end of the siege came after the armed occupiers earlier indicated they would turn themselves in. By morning’s end, they fulfilled that pledge.
Moments before Fry surrendered, he said he would walk out of the refuge – if everyone exclaimed “Hallelujah!” said Harney County Sheriff David Ward.
Just about everyone did, even SWAT team members, the sheriff said.
Last month, one of the leading occupiers was killed by authorities in a highway incident.
Before the final surrender, federal agents arrested the figurehead of the protesters’ movement: Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who didn’t participate in the occupation but is the father of arrested standoff leader Ammon Bundy.
For now, the arrests of the Bundys and the end of occupation put the dispute in the hands of the courts. The Bundys and their supporters argue that the federal government has exceeded the boundaries of the Constitution.
A Facebook page for his ranch announced that Cliven Bundy, who came to the national spotlight in a fight with the federal Bureau of Land Management over grazing rights for his cattle in 2014, was heading to Oregon earlier Wednesday.
“It’s time,” the post said. “Cliven Bundy is headed to the Harney County Resource Center in Burns Oregon.”
After landing in Portland, Oregon, Bundy was taken into federal custody, the FBI said.
Bundy to appear in court Thursday
Bundy was charged with six counts relating to the 2014 standoff with the federal government, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Nevada.
He was charged with conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, assault on a federal law officer by use of a deadly and dangerous weapon, interference with commerce by extortion, and obstruction of justice. He was also charged with two counts of use and carry of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence, the complaint said.
He appeared in federal court in Portland and asked for a court-appointed attorney, The Oregonian reported.
It’s not clear what he’s been charged with. The FBI said authorities would make charging information available on Thursday morning.
Bundy’s son, Ammon, was arrested last month.
Long list of alleged occupiers
Authorities identified the last four occupiers arrested Thursday: Fry, 27, of Blanchester, Ohio; Jeff Wayne Banta, 46, of Yerington, Nevada; and Sean Larry Anderson, 47, and Sandra Lynn Anderson, 48, both of Riggins, Idaho, the FBI said.
They are scheduled to be arraigned Friday in federal court in Portland.
No one was injured, and no shots were fired in the last arrests, the FBI said.
During the 41-day occupation, there were as many as “dozens of highly armed militants occupying, visiting and supplying the refuge,” the FBI said.
On February 3, a federal grand jury indicted 16 people, including the four who surrendered, the FBI said.
The other 12 people indicted are Dylan Wade Anderson, 34, of Provo, Utah; Brian Cavalier, 44, of Bunkerville, Nevada; Shawna Cox, 59, Kanab, Utah; Duane Leo Ehmer, 45, of Irrigon, Oregon; Kenneth Medenbach, 62, of Crescent, Oregon; Joseph Donald O’Shaughnessy, 45, of Cottonwood, Arizona; Jason S. Patrick, 43, of Bonaire, Georgia; Ryan Waylen Payne, 32, of Anaconda, Montana; Jon Eric Ritzheimer, 32, Peoria, Arizona; and Peter Santilli, 50, of Cincinnati, Ohio, according to the FBI.
Also indicted are Ammon Edward Bundy, 40, of Emmett, Idaho, and his brother Ryan C. Bundy, 43, of Bunkerville, Nevada, the FBI said.
Each are charged with a federal felony count of conspiracy to impede officers of the United States from discharging their official duties through the use of force, intimidation, or threats, the FBI said.
‘Continued presence of militia groups’
The impact of the occupation is still playing out in Oregon, authorities said.
In fact, local authorities report the arrival of “militia groups” to Harney County.
Law officers “will now be able to begin the process of clearing booby traps and processing the crime scene,” Harney County Court said in a statement.
“In the meantime, the occupation and continued presence of militia groups in Harney County continues to cause division in the county and every community within. Calls for thousands of people to descend on Burns are very troubling,” the court statement said Thursday.
Federal authorities called for a return to normalcy, but acknowledged more work ahead.
“The occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge has been a long and traumatic episode for the citizens of Harney County and the members of the Burns Paiute tribe. It is a time for healing, reconciliation amongst neighbors and friends, and allowing for life to get back to normal,” U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams said in a statement.
“Much work is left to assess the crime scene and damage to the refuge and tribal artifacts. We are committed to seeing the job done and to pursue justice for the crimes committed during the illegal occupation,” he added.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the tribe will assess any damage to the tribe’s burial grounds or artifacts dating back thousands of years, said Gregory Bretzing, special agent in charge of FBI’s Portland office.
“Over the course of the last month, the people of Harney County have lived through an experience that is both highly emotional and physically exhausting,” he said in a statement. “We have seen some residents leave their homes, fearing violence against their families. We have seen the confusion, concern and trouble that the occupiers’ actions have caused for this community.”
Added Harney County Judge Steven Grasty at a press conference: “We look forward to the day when our community is ours once again.”
Sheriff Ward described his community as “torn apart” over the occupation.
“There’s been a lot of hurt, there’s been been lot of things said, but I don’t think there’s anything that’s been done that can’t be worked through,” the sheriff said.
News from a conference call
The refuge’s current occupiers said – during a purported live stream of a conference call between protesters, activists and conservative Nevada lawmaker Michele Fiore – they were prepared to leave Thursday morning.
The audio was live streamed on YouTube.
Fiore told those on the call that Mike Arnold – Ammon Bundy’s lawyer, who Fiore says was in the car with her – spoke with the FBI. She said the agency promised it would stand down Wednesday night and allow her to be at the FBI checkpoint on Thursday morning when the occupiers turn themselves in.
Fiore was indeed present at the surrender, as was Franklin Graham, the nationally known evangelist and son of legendary preacher Billy Graham, authorities said. Graham said he’s been talking with “the last four holdouts … every day by phone for the last week at their request and at the request of the FBI.”
The live stream started after the FBI surrounded those occupying the refuge.
According to the agency, one of the remaining occupiers rode outside barricades at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. When agents tried to approach him, he sped off back to the refuge.
After that, the FBI said agents “moved to contain the remaining occupiers by placing agents at barricades both immediately ahead of and behind the area where the occupiers are camping.”
The FBI said no shots were fired and it is continuing to negotiate with those inside the refuge.
“The FBI has negotiated with patience and restraint in an effort to resolve the situation peacefully,” said Greg Bretzing, special agent in charge of the FBI in Oregon. “However, we reached a point where it became necessary to take action in a way that best ensured the safety of those on the refuge, the law enforcement officers who are on scene, and the people of Harney County who live and work in this area.”
“However, we reached a point where it became necessary to take action in a way that best ensured the safety of those on the refuge, the law enforcement officers who are on scene, and the people of Harney County who live and work in this area.”
‘God has put us on this path’
Earlier on the call, the occupiers sounded concerned that the FBI planned to move in Wednesday night and that it would lead to their deaths. At times, they seemed to embrace that outcome as fatalistic.
When one woman – presumed to be Fiore – asked David and Sandy about their families, a man responded, “God has put us on this path. Our families are already taken care of; they weren’t in our lives much before all this because God made sure we didn’t have that to weigh us down so that we could do this,” one man said.
The people on the phone could be heard debating conditions for which they’d be willing to leave the refuge.
Protest led to armed occupation
Ammon Bundy and others started out demonstrating against the sentencing of Dwight Hammond and his son Steven, ranchers who were convicted of arson on federal lands in Oregon.
But a January 2 march supporting the Hammonds led to the armed occupation of the refuge, with protesters decrying what they call government overreach when it comes to federal lands.
Bundy and other members of his group were arrested during an incident along a highway last month.
At the same time, law enforcement officers shot and killed LaVoy Finicum, one of the protest group’s most prominent members.
Those law officers weren’t wearing any body cameras, the FBI’s Bretzing said.
CNN’s Michael Martinez, Pamela Brown, Dan Simon, Alberto Moya, Andy Rose, Greg Botelho, Dave Alsup, Tina Burnside, Carma Hassan, and Shane Deitert contributed to this report.