State officials respond to FBI standoff, arrests in Harney Co. - KPTV - FOX 12

State officials respond to FBI standoff, arrests in Harney Co.

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File image of occupation at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge File image of occupation at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge
WASHINGTON D.C. (KPTV) -

Several state officials have released brief statements in response to the arrests of the militant leaders in Harney County Tuesday.

Seven people were arrested after a confrontation between federal officials and armed militants on Highway 385 that left one person dead and one other injured.

Senator Merkley issued the following statement Tuesday night: 

“I am pleased that the FBI has listened to the concerns of the local community and responded to the illegal activity occurring in Harney County by outside extremists. The leaders of this group are now in custody and I hope that the remaining individuals occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge will peacefully surrender so this community can begin to heal the deep wounds that this illegal activity has created over the last month.”

Sen. Ron Wyden expressed similar sentiments in a statement Wednesday:

“My overriding priority is that the remaining militants will leave the refuge peacefully and in short order. Oregonians expect their safety and the rule of law to be preserved, so I commend the FBI for moving to arrest the leaders of this illegal occupation. It is deeply unfortunate that these militants’ actions have resulted in violence. There was an immediate threat that the occupation in Harney County would spread to nearby communities as outsiders sought to use Eastern Oregon to advance their extremist agenda.

“I have spoken with community leaders in Harney County repeatedly. They are going to keep working to bring this sad episode to a prompt end. The community, law-enforcement and local officials deserve tremendous credit for their resilience and determination in the face of this crisis.”

Gov. Kate Brown also issued a statement regarding Tuesday’s arrest:

"The situation in Harney County continues to be the subject of a federal investigation that is in progress. 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."

U.S. Rep. Greg Walden said in his statement that he is urging those who remain at the refuge to go home before anyone else gets hurt.

“I've been in close contact with local and federal officials throughout this long standoff, and we had all hoped for a peaceful conclusion to the situation in Harney County. Sadly, our hopes were shattered with the shooting that occurred during last night's arrest. While we wait to learn more details and next steps, we must keep the people of Harney County in our hearts as they are a strong community and have endured a great deal."

Rep. Earl Blumenauer released the following statement Wednesday regarding the situation: 

Federal and state law enforcement were right to act toward stopping the armed insurrection at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. I hope that with the arrest of the militia leaders, this ordeal will soon be behind us - and that the remaining occupiers will surrender or be removed peacefully. This occupation has gone on far too long. A message must be sent that an armed takeover of a federal facility is unacceptable and will result in consequences. All of us, as Americans, benefit from public lands, and this refuge belongs to the American people. We have an obligation to protect and preserve precious resources like these, and this escapade will in no way stop our determination to do so. We cannot let terrorism win.

Seven of the militants are being held at the Multnomah County Jail awaiting charges. 

Ammon Bundy and several other armed militants had been occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Harney County since Jan. 2 to protest federal land polices. Bundy and the others were taken into custody following a confrontation with law enforcement Tuesday night. 

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