Oregon Refuge Occupation: Arrests, 1 Killed In Related Traffic Stop
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
We are tracking the occupation of an Oregon wildlife refuge. Last night, some of the militants drove out of their stronghold and were stopped by police. One militant was killed. Others have been arrested. The situation is continuing to develop throughout this morning, and we're going to stick with it. John Sepulvado of Oregon Public Broadcasting has been covering the story all might. He's with us once again.
John, good morning.
JOHN SEPULVADO, BYLINE: Good morning Steve.
INSKEEP: So what has been happening in the last hour or so since we last spoke?
SEPULVADO: Well, in the last hour, the FBI has closed off all the roads to the (unintelligible) here at national wildlife refuge. So what this means is that there are a handful of militants and a handful of media who are occupying roughly the same space. We are safe, I want to make that very clear. There's been no threat or anything like that to us. But we're told that if we want to leave, there's going to be quite a bit of a process. And I have said that I have - I do know that when I've tried to drive out before, you're greeted with armed guards, floodlights, you have to come in with your hands up. So we're going to sit tight for a little bit and see what happens. The militants have made it very clear that they will not be leaving. They took a vote I just learned, five to six of them, and they said they will not go.
INSKEEP: They said they will not go, and in fact they have been communicating not just directly to reporters but also through live-stream video, and we have a clip from that video. Let's listen to one of the occupiers who I believe is holding a gun.
(SOUNDBITE OF VIDEO)
DAVID FRY: They just straight up murdered LaVoy. Are you serious? They straight up murdered him. Of course I'm going to show my gun. You're going to come here? You're going to try to take me out? I've got a gun. So any feds, anybody listening - you're going to kill me. You're going to have to kill me just like you killed LaVoy and all those other guys or whatever you want to shoot at.
INSKEEP: OK. When he says killed LaVoy, that's referring to the traffic stop at which one of the militants was killed last night. We're going to talk about that in just a moment, but first, John, you've been watching some of that video. What do you see when they're saying things like that?
SEPULVADO: So when the rest of the country is hearing that, they're hearing somebody who sounds very threatening. When I hear that, I hear a very broken young man. I know that man. His name's David Fry. He's 27 years old. He drove in from Ohio. He left the home he lives with his parents. His parents were on vacation. This is a young man who has made remarks that indicate to me, who's not a psychologist, but, just a regular guy who has some instability. And this much I will say - he was very - best I can tell, he was very good friends with LaVoy Finicum. That man you heard, David Fry, he made a video of himself taping himself using government computers. He expressed sympathies for ISIS and al-Qaida. And LaVoy Finicum is the person who kept him at the ranch who said he knew that David Fry was not a bad guy, that he just made some misguided comments. So David Fry is very connected to LaVoy Finicum. We know that they knew each other. And it's very hard to tell if that's the kind of language coming from somebody who's very hurt or from somebody who's very serious. Either way, we are taking it very seriously. He does, after all, have a gun.
INSKEEP: And law enforcement officials are in the area but not right on top of the scene. Now, LaVoy Finicum was one of the individuals along with Bundy and the others who got into a car last night. Will you describe very briefly what happened?
SEPULVADO: Sure. Best that we can tell from the reports from law enforcement, these men were driving in a very kind of remote stretch of Oregon, a high desert highway here, and there was some type of stop and there was some kind of altercation. LaVoy Finicum, who's made it very clear that he had no plans to go to prison was killed, apparently, I've been able to confirm, and of course the militants say that it's murder, as you just heard. So there's a lot of emotions running high here at this refuge because LaVoy Finicum's death.
INSKEEP: OK. And Ammon Bundy was taken into custody along with his brother. That's John Sepulvado of Oregon Public Broadcasting.
John, thanks as always.
SEPULVADO: Thank you Steve.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.
Support Oregon Public Broadcasting
Stories like these are made possible by contributions from readers and listeners like you.