Oregon standoff: Ammon Bundy asks colleagues to go home

Updated 12:31 AM EST, Thu January 28, 2016
BURNS, OR - JANUARY 06:  Ammon Bundy, the leader of an anti-government militia, speaks to members of the media in front of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters on January 6, 2016 near Burns, Oregon.  An armed anti-government militia group continues to occupy the Malheur National Wildlife Headquarters as they protest the jailing  of two ranchers for arson.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
BURNS, OR - JANUARY 06: Ammon Bundy, the leader of an anti-government militia, speaks to members of the media in front of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters on January 6, 2016 near Burns, Oregon. An armed anti-government militia group continues to occupy the Malheur National Wildlife Headquarters as they protest the jailing of two ranchers for arson. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:05
Ammon Bundy to Oregon occupiers: Go home
PHOTO: Multnomah County Jail
Now playing
01:37
Police: There doesn't have to be bloodshed
Law enforcement personnel monitor an intersection of closed Highway 395 in Burns, Oregon on January 26, 2016, during a standoff pitting an anti-government militia against the U.S. authorities.
PHOTO: Rob Kerr/AFP/Getty Images
Law enforcement personnel monitor an intersection of closed Highway 395 in Burns, Oregon on January 26, 2016, during a standoff pitting an anti-government militia against the U.S. authorities.
Now playing
01:52
Cliven Bundy: Lavoy Finicum shot in 'cold blood'
Ammon Bundy makes his way from the entrance of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters in Burns, Oregon on January 6, 2016. A small group of armed activists remained holed up at a remote US federal wildlife refuge in Oregon, vowing to leave only if asked by local residents. AFP PHOTO/ ROB KERR / AFP / ROB KERR        (Photo credit should read ROB KERR/AFP/Getty Images)
PHOTO: ROB KERR/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Ammon Bundy makes his way from the entrance of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters in Burns, Oregon on January 6, 2016. A small group of armed activists remained holed up at a remote US federal wildlife refuge in Oregon, vowing to leave only if asked by local residents. AFP PHOTO/ ROB KERR / AFP / ROB KERR (Photo credit should read ROB KERR/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:11
1 dead, 8 arrested in armed Oregon occupation
BUNKERVILLE, NV - APRIL 24: Rancher Cliven Bundy speaks during a news conference near his ranch on April 24, 2014 in Bunkerville, Nevada. The Bureau of Land Management and Bundy have been locked in a dispute for a couple of decades over grazing rights on public lands. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
PHOTO: David Becker/Getty Images
BUNKERVILLE, NV - APRIL 24: Rancher Cliven Bundy speaks during a news conference near his ranch on April 24, 2014 in Bunkerville, Nevada. The Bureau of Land Management and Bundy have been locked in a dispute for a couple of decades over grazing rights on public lands. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:31
The history of Cliven and Ammon Bundy
BURNS, OR - JANUARY 06:  Ammon Bundy, the leader of an anti-government militia, speaks to members of the media in front of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters on January 6, 2016 near Burns, Oregon.  An armed anti-government militia group continues to occupy the Malheur National Wildlife Headquarters as they protest the jailing  of two ranchers for arson.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
BURNS, OR - JANUARY 06: Ammon Bundy, the leader of an anti-government militia, speaks to members of the media in front of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters on January 6, 2016 near Burns, Oregon. An armed anti-government militia group continues to occupy the Malheur National Wildlife Headquarters as they protest the jailing of two ranchers for arson. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Now playing
00:45
Official: Oregon protest leader arrested; 1 killed
oregon bundy occupy wildlife refuge vercammen tsr pkg_00010709.jpg
PHOTO: KOIN
oregon bundy occupy wildlife refuge vercammen tsr pkg_00010709.jpg
Now playing
02:06
See inside contested Oregon federal building
Date Shot:  02 Jan 2016    Location Shot:  Burns, Eastern Oregon
PHOTO: KTVZ
Date Shot: 02 Jan 2016 Location Shot: Burns, Eastern Oregon
Now playing
05:05
Armed Oregon protester speaks with CNN
PHOTO: Mapbox
Now playing
00:48
Armed protesters take over federal wildlife refuge
rally oregon rancher supporters dnt_00002509.jpg
PHOTO: KTVZ
rally oregon rancher supporters dnt_00002509.jpg
Now playing
02:05
Armed protesters rally to support Oregon rancher
BUNKERVILLE, NV - APRIL 24: Rancher Cliven Bundy speaks during a news conference near his ranch on April 24, 2014 in Bunkerville, Nevada. The Bureau of Land Management and Bundy have been locked in a dispute for a couple of decades over grazing rights on public lands. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
PHOTO: David Becker/Getty Images
BUNKERVILLE, NV - APRIL 24: Rancher Cliven Bundy speaks during a news conference near his ranch on April 24, 2014 in Bunkerville, Nevada. The Bureau of Land Management and Bundy have been locked in a dispute for a couple of decades over grazing rights on public lands. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
Now playing
06:30
Racism on the ranch and on the court
cnn tonight intv bullock cliven bundy_00001915.jpg
cnn tonight intv bullock cliven bundy_00001915.jpg
Now playing
03:45
Bodyguard continues Cliven Bundy defense
exp Nevada Rancher Political Fallout_00025829.jpg
exp Nevada Rancher Political Fallout_00025829.jpg
Now playing
05:00
Political fallout from Nevada rancher
pkg stelter rancher and media_00012601.jpg
pkg stelter rancher and media_00012601.jpg
Now playing
02:04
Cliven Bundy: Life in the media
Rancher Cliven Bundy poses for a photo outside his ranch house on April 11, 2014 west of Mesquite, Nevada. Bureau of Land Management officials are rounding up Cliven Bundy's cattle, he has been locked in a dispute with the BLM for a couple of decades over grazing rights
PHOTO: George Frey/Getty Images/File
Rancher Cliven Bundy poses for a photo outside his ranch house on April 11, 2014 west of Mesquite, Nevada. Bureau of Land Management officials are rounding up Cliven Bundy's cattle, he has been locked in a dispute with the BLM for a couple of decades over grazing rights
Now playing
05:28
The rise and fall of Cliven Bundy

Story highlights

NEW: Source tells CNN officers opened fire when LaVoy Finicum reached toward his waistband where he had a gun

"It's OK. I've lived a good life," Finicum told CNN earlier this month

Protesters took over a federal wildlife refuge January 2, denouncing federal land policies

(CNN) —  

Protest leader Ammon Bundy has asked, through his attorney, that the remaining occupiers at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon go home.

Bundy was arrested Tuesday night during a traffic stop. Another protester was shot and killed during the same stop.

“To those remaining at the refuge, I love you. Let us take this fight from here. Please stand down. Go home and hug your families,” Bundy said in a statement. “This fight is ours for now in the courts. Please go home.”

“We need to step back. Somebody died yesterday,” attorney Mike Arnold told reporters Wednesday. “Mr. Bundy wants everybody to remember that somebody died, and this is not just about him right now.”

Arnold spoke after Harney County Sheriff David Ward blamed the occupiers for the death of the outspoken protester. Although authorities have not named the person who was shot and killed, others have identified him as LaVoy Finicum.

LaVoy Finicum took down what he claimed to be a government spy camera in Oregon on January 15.
PHOTO: Sara Weisfeldt/CNN
LaVoy Finicum took down what he claimed to be a government spy camera in Oregon on January 15.

“Multiple agencies put a lot of work into this to put the best tactical plan that they could to arrest them peacefully,” said Ward. “(The death) didn’t have to happen. We all make choices in life. Sometimes our choices go bad.”

A law enforcement official told CNN that officers opened fire when Finicum reached toward his waistband, where he had a gun.

With their leader arrested and a fellow protester killed, an unknown number of demonstrators have indicated they’ll continue their weekslong armed occupation. The FBI tried to assert more control Wednesday, setting up checkpoints on roads heading to and from Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

“We don’t arm up and rebel,” said Ward, urging everyone involved in the occupation to “move on.”

“We work through the appropriate channels. This can’t happen anymore. This can’t happen in America, and it can’t happen in Harney County,” the sheriff said.

Occupation continues

Occupiers who remained told a CNN crew near the headquarters building that they intended to stay there. It wasn’t immediately clear how many remained.

The checkpoint into the refuge had high security Wednesday. A CNN crew was instructed to stop. A sniper aimed at vehicles as a reporter was told to get out, and asked for ID and whether she had any weapons on her. FBI agents got into the cars by themselves and drove the vehicles through the checkpoint to the other side.

Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) radio’s John Sepulvado, reporting on refuge grounds outside the occupied building, said that occupiers told him they were prepared to die.

“I just spoke to the new leaders – including Jason Patrick – They say that 5-6 (people) had a meeting, and by consensus they decided to stay,” Sepulvado wrote Wednesday morning on Twitter.

The decision to stay came on the 26th day of the occupation of the refuge building in eastern Oregon, which armed demonstrators took over January 2, in part to protest the sentencing of two ranchers and what they call government overreach when it comes to federal lands.

It came the day after Finicum’s death – a killing that his fellow demonstrators called murder.

Protest leaders were on their way to a community meeting set up by local residents when authorities attempted to pull them over, according to a law enforcement official who described the dramatic showdown.

One vehicle stopped, but the other, driven by Finicum, took off at high speed, the source said. With police in hot pursuit, Finicum tried to leave the main road and drove into a snowbank.

He emerged from the vehicle and was ordered to surrender, said the source. That’s when, according to the source, Finicum reached toward his waistband, where he had a gun.

Officers opened fire and Finicum was killed. Bundy’s brother, Ryan Bundy, suffered a light wound on his arm.

What happened and what happens next?

Occupiers: ‘A patriot has fallen’

Finicum was one of the most outspoken occupiers who took over the refuge building near Burns on January 2 to protest federal land policies.

Earlier this month, the father of 11 told CNN he doesn’t want to die – but would never go behind bars.

“I’m just not going to prison,” Finicum said. “Look at the stars. There’s no way I’m going to sit in a concrete cell where I can’t see the stars and roll out my bedroll on the ground. That’s just not going to happen. I want to be able to get up in the morning and throw my saddle on my horse and go check on my cows. It’s OK. I’ve lived a good life. God’s been gracious to me.”

“It appears that America was fired upon by our government,” the occupiers said on the Bundy Ranch Facebook page. “One of liberty’s finest patriots is fallen. He will not go silent into eternity.”

The occupiers also claimed Finicum had his hands in the air when he was shot.

A representative from the Joint Information Command Center in Harney County said authorities had no comment on the claim that Finicum had his hands up. He said more information would be released.

Bundy’s father, controversial Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, said Finicum died supporting his beliefs.

“He was a wonderful man,” he told CNN affiliate KTNV. “He was a student of the Constitution. He was interested in freedom, and I think he gave his life where he felt it was best.”

Cliven and Ammon Bundy: A family’s history of fighting the federal government

The arrests

In all, police arrested eight people Tuesday linked to the wildlife refuge takeover: five in the traffic stop on Highway 395; two others in Burns; and one in Arizona.

The two arrested in Burns were Joseph Donald O’Shaughnessy and Peter Santilli.

And protester Jon Ritzheimer, who previously made headlines for leading an anti-Islam protest in Arizona, turned himself in to police in Peoria, Arizona, FBI spokesman Kurt Remus said.

All eight people arrested face a federal felony charge of conspiracy to impede officers of the United States from discharging their official duties through the use of force, intimidation or threats, the FBI and Oregon State Police said.

According to charging documents, a source told a Harney County officer that the group had explosives and night vision goggles, and weapons, and that “if they didn’t get the fight they wanted out there they would bring the fight to town.”

The occupation

Ammon Bundy and others started out protesting 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.

Since then, the occupiers have turned the refuge into their own – changing the sign in the front and tearing down a fence they claimed harmed the livelihood of a rancher. But that rancher told The Oregonian he didn’t ask the occupiers to tear down the public fence – in fact, he was upset by it.

Ammon Bundy has said that while the armed protesters don’t want violence, they would be ready to defend themselves if necessary.

But with the leader arrested, it’s not clear what will happen next.

On Tuesday night, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown stressed that the occupation at the refuge was not over.

“The situation in Harney County continues to be the subject of a federal investigation that is in progress,” she said. “My highest priority is the safety of all Oregonians and their communities. I ask for patience as officials continue pursuit of a swift and peaceful resolution.”

Sara Sidner reported from Oregon. Dana Ford and Jason Hanna reported and wrote from Atlanta. CNN’s Evan Perez, Holly Yan, Jason Kravarik, Shane Deitert, Dave Alsup, Dottie Evans, Keith Allen, Tina Burnside and Joshua Gaynor also contributed to this report.