It’s the official end of the standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, which began on January 2. Earlier on Thursday, three of the final four occupiers, Jeff Banta and married couple Sean and Sandy Anderson, had surrendered to authorities. About half an hour later, the final holdout, David Fry, surrendered as well.
The final four, as well as 12 others involved in the six-week standoff, have been charged with conspiracy to interfere with federal workers. The final surrender comes about two weeks after a January 27 incident in which eight of the militia members were arrested, and one was killed.
This story was originally published on January 27, 2016.
The standoff between antigovernment militants and federal officials took a frightening turn on Tuesday night, when one man was killed and eight people were arrested. Five of them, including militant leader Ammon Bundy and his brother Ryan, were arrested during a traffic stop while they were on their way to a community meeting, according to the FBI.
Robert "LaVoy" Finicum, who had acted as a spokesman for the occupiers, was killed when police responded to gunfire during the stop. Finicum previously told NBC that he had "no intention of spending any of my days in a concrete box." He had also complained that four of his foster children were removed from his home after he joined the occupation.
Militants have been camped out at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge for 25 days. They have said that they're protesting the prison sentences of two Oregon ranchers convicted of setting fires on federal land.
The takeover echoes the armed standoff between Ammon and Ryan Bundy's father, Cliven Bundy, and officers from the Bureau of Land Management two years ago over cattle-grazing fees. Residents of nearby Burns have not been supportive of the militants, many of whom came to Oregon from out of state.
Federal law enforcement officials converged on the refuge after the Tuesday traffic stop, although it's not clear who might still be on the land. A press conference has been scheduled for 10:30 a.m. local time.