Militia Member Killed as Authorities Arrest Ammon Bundy and Several Followers

The arrests come three weeks after the militia group seized control of a federal wildlife refuge in rural Oregon.

Les Zaitz/The Oregonian/Associated Press

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


Ammon Bundy, the leader of the armed militia group that seized a federal wildlife refuge on January 2, and several others were arrested on Tuesday night after a confrontation with law enforcement during a traffic stop. One militia member—Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, a.k.a #TarpMan—was shot and killed, though authorities have not released details about who fired the fatal shot. According to NBC News, Finicum had previously said he’d rather die than be arrested: “I have no intention of spending any of my days in a concrete box. There are things more important than your life and freedom is one of them. I’m prepared to defend freedom.” (Finicum was also the author of a novel, Only By Blood and Suffering: Regaining Lost Freedom; several foster children, whom Finicum called his only main source of income, were taken from him and his wife while he occupied the refuge.)

During a highway stop north of the refuge, shots were fired, according to the FBI and Oregon State Police. Finicum was killed, and Ryan Bundy, who was also taken into custody, suffered a minor gunshot wound. In a separate incident in Burns, Oregon State Police arrested a sixth person, Joseph O’Shaunghnessy, an hour and a half after the initial arrests. All face federal felony charges of conspiracy to impede federal officers.

The Oregonian also reported that Jon Ritzheimer, another militant leader famous for complaining about a sex toy delivery to the refuge, surrendered to police several hours later.

The arrests comes three weeks after Bundy and the militia group took control of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge after protesting the imprisonment of Dwight and Steven Hammond, the father-son rancher duo who face prison time for setting fire to federal land.

Update, January 27, 9:40 a.m. EST: The FBI has ordered for the remaining militia members to leave. 

Jason Patrick, one of the men still occupying the federal building, likened Finicum’s death to the police killing of 12-year-old Tamir Rice. “The government can kill who they want for whatever reason they want with impunity,” he told Reuters.

Fact:

In-depth journalism that investigates the powerful takes real money and is so damn important right now.But it doesn’t take a Mother Jones investigation to know that billionaires and corporations will never fund the type of reporting (like they do politicians) we do that exists to help bring about change. Instead, our mission-driven journalism is made possible by people power, and has been for 46 years now since our founding as a non-profit.

In “TITLE TK” Monica Bauerlein writes about the perilous moment we’re in, and why it’s so important that we raise $325,000 by the time November’s midterms are decided so we can be ready to throw everything we have at the big issues facing the nation no matter what happens. Please help MoJo’s people-powered journalism with a donation today.

$400,000 to go!

payment methods

Fact:

In-depth journalism that investigates the powerful takes real money and is so damn important right now.But it doesn’t take a Mother Jones investigation to know that billionaires and corporations will never fund the type of reporting (like they do politicians) we do that exists to help bring about change. Instead, our mission-driven journalism is made possible by people power, and has been for 46 years now since our founding as a non-profit.

In “TITLE TK” Monica Bauerlein writes about the perilous moment we’re in, and why it’s so important that we raise $325,000 by the time November’s midterms are decided so we can be ready to throw everything we have at the big issues facing the nation no matter what happens. Please help MoJo’s people-powered journalism with a donation today.

$400,000 to go!

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate