Tensions still high in Burns day after protesters arrested - KPTV - FOX 12

Tensions still high in Burns day after protesters arrested

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BURNS, OR (KPTV) -

Aerial footage Wednesday showed the aftermath of the standoff between protesters from the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and law enforcement officers that left one person dead and seven others arrested.

FBI agents said they stopped militant leader Ammon Bundy, and a group of others on Highway 395 Tuesday night after learning they were on their way to a community meeting in John Day. 

While investigators won't elaborate on details, they claimed they saw this as an opportunity to take the protesters into custody peacefully, away from the people of Harney County.

Investigators won't officially release the name of the man killed in the arrest, but his family has confirmed reports that the victim was group spokesperson LaVoy Finicum.

Harney County Sheriff David Ward was emotional at a news conference Wednesday, saying while he was disappointed in the final outcome the protesters had been "tearing our community apart."

“It didn't have to happen, we all make choices in life, sometimes choices go bad,” he said.

Erin Maupin told Fox 12 her friend's 18-year-old daughter Victoria Sharp was in the car with Bundy and Finicum when this all went down. 

Maupin played a recording of sharp, after police released the teen, describing how Finicum suddenly drove off once police pulled him over.

“We all got down on the floor boards, and he took off and they started firing at us, a bunch of times and then road block set up, he ran into snow bank, riddling car with bullets when we crashed he got out of the car with his hands up and said unless, just shoot me then, and then did, they shot him dead.”

With the help of friends, Maupin said Sharp was driven out of the state for her own safety.

“Victoria was obviously shaken,” she said. “She was crying to talk to her mom, she was a mess. So I said, ‘Were going to take you somewhere.’”

As of Wednesday, armed state troopers were blocking off all ways in and out of the refuge, with security so tight that not even media is allowed through.

Heavy machinery could be seen being hauled in through the blockade, along with countless federal agents from across the country.

The growing display of force did not seem to scare militants still holding steady inside of the refuge.

"We've been involved with this however long we have now, trying to get a peaceful resolution and that's what everyone says on the inside and that's what's been said on the outside publicly, and now one of my friends is dead," new spokesman Jason Patrick said. "My thoughts and prayers go out to LaVoy's family. It's a terrible thing that's happened."

Investigators, though, are pleading for the group to leave.

“It’s time for this illegal occupation to move on,” Sheriff Ward said. “There doesn't have to be bloodshed in our community.  

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