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Oregon militia spokesman Robert LaVoy Finnicum killed and leader Ammon Bundy arrested in standoff with police

Published 27/01/2016

(FILES) This file photo taken on January 07, 2016 shows LaVoy Finicum speaking to news agencies at the occupied Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters on the sixth day of the occupation of the federal building in Burns, Oregon on January 7, 2016. AFP/Getty Images
(FILES) This file photo taken on January 07, 2016 shows LaVoy Finicum speaking to news agencies at the occupied Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters on the sixth day of the occupation of the federal building in Burns, Oregon on January 7, 2016. AFP/Getty Images

One of the armed anti-government protesters occupying a remote federal facility in eastern Oregon has been killed in a shootout with the authorities, while the group’s leader Ammon Bundy and four other men, including his brother, were arrested.

Arizona rancher Robert "LaVoy" Finicum, 55, was killed in the incident, after the FBI and state police stopped the men’s vehicles on a highway around 50 miles north of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters, which the group has occupied since early January.

The authorities did not publicly identify the dead man last night, but Mr Finicum’s family confirmed that he had been killed during the confrontation, which took place at around 4.30pm local time.

"My dad was such a good, good man, through and through," 26-year-old Arianna Finicum Brown, one of his 11 children, told The Oregonian. "He would never ever want to hurt somebody, but he does believe in defending freedom and he knew the risks involved."

Nevada rancher Ammon Bundy, thought to be the leader of the militant group, was arrested with five others including his brother, 43-year-old Ryan Bundy, who suffered a minor gunshot wound but was treated and later released from hospital into FBI custody.

No police were hurt in the incident, and those arrested were charged with conspiracy to impede officers of the United States from discharging their official duties through the use of force, intimidation, or threats.

The men, who were on their way to a community meeting in the town of John Day at the time of the arrests, had begun the occupation after two local ranchers were ordered to return to prison to see out their terms for arson.

Dwight Hammond, 73, and his son Steven, 46, were convicted of setting fires that spread on to federal land in 2001 and 2006. A judge ruled in October that their original 12-month sentences did not satisfy the federal minimum of five years, and sent them back to prison.

The militants seized the headquarters of the federal wildlife refuge on 2 January, making vague, anti-government demands – including the freeing of the Hammonds – and calling on fellow "patriots" to join their protest.

Speaking to reporters while concealed by a tarpaulin early on in the occupation, Mr Finicum said: "There are things more important than your life, and freedom is one of them... I’m prepared to defend freedom."

In this composite with handout images provided by the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office, suspects (Top L) Ammon Bundy, Ryan Bundy, Ryan Waylen Payne, Brian Cavalier, (Bottom L) Peter Santilli, Joseph Donald OShaughnessy , and Shawna Cox pose for a mugshot photo after being arrested by U.S. Marshalls January 26, 2016 in Oregon. (Photo by Multnomah County Sheriff's Office via Getty Images)
In this composite with handout images provided by the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office, suspects (Top L) Ammon Bundy, Ryan Bundy, Ryan Waylen Payne, Brian Cavalier, (Bottom L) Peter Santilli, Joseph Donald OShaughnessy , and Shawna Cox pose for a mugshot photo after being arrested by U.S. Marshalls January 26, 2016 in Oregon. (Photo by Multnomah County Sheriff's Office via Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED LOCATION - JANUARY 26: (EDITORS NOTE: Best quality available) In this handout provided by the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office, suspect Ryan Waylen Payne poses for a mugshot photo after being arrested by U.S. Marshalls January 26, 2016 in Oregon. Ammon Bundy and seven others were arrested in a traffic stop along Highway 395 outside Burns, Oregon. One person was killed in the confrontation. Bundy led a group of armed followers, adopting the name Citizens for Constitutional Freedom, and occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. (Photo by Multnomah County Sheriff's Office via Getty Images)
This photo provided by the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016, shows Ryan Bundy, one of the members of an armed group occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge as part of a dispute over public lands in the Western U.S. Bundy and several others were arrested on Tuesday, Jan. 26, prompting gunfire and leaving one man dead during a traffic stop along a highway in Oregon's frozen high country. (Multnomah County Sheriff via AP)
This photo provided by the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016, shows Ammon Bundy, one of the members of an armed group occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge as part of a dispute over public lands in the Western U.S. Bundy and several others were arrested on Tuesday, Jan. 26, prompting gunfire and leaving one man dead during a traffic stop along a highway in Oregon's frozen high country. (Multnomah County Sheriff via AP)
This photo provided by the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016, shows Brian Cavalier, one of the members of an armed group occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge as part of a dispute over public lands in the Western U.S. Cavalier and several others were arrested on Tuesday, Jan. 26, prompting gunfire and leaving one man dead during a traffic stop along a highway in Oregon's frozen high country. (Multnomah County Sheriff via AP)
UNSPECIFIED LOCATION - JANUARY 26: (EDITORS NOTE: Best quality available) In this handout provided by the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office, suspect Shawna Cox poses for a mugshot photo after being arrested by U.S. Marshalls January 26, 2016 in Oregon. Ammon Bundy and seven others were arrested in a traffic stop along Highway 395 outside Burns, Oregon. One person was killed in the confrontation. Bundy led a group of armed followers, adopting the name Citizens for Constitutional Freedom, and occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. (Photo by Multnomah County Sheriff's Office via Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED LOCATION - JANUARY 26: (EDITORS NOTE: Best quality available) In this handout provided by the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office, suspect Peter Santilli poses for a mugshot photo after being arrested by U.S. Marshalls January 26, 2016 in Oregon. Ammon Bundy and seven others were arrested in a traffic stop along Highway 395 outside Burns, Oregon. One person was killed in the confrontation. Bundy led a group of armed followers, adopting the name Citizens for Constitutional Freedom, and occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. (Photo by Multnomah County Sheriff's Office via Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED LOCATION - JANUARY 26: (EDITORS NOTE: Best quality available) In this handout provided by the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office, suspect Joseph Donald OShaughnessy poses for a mugshot photo after being arrested by U.S. Marshalls January 26, 2016 in Oregon. Ammon Bundy and seven others were arrested in a traffic stop along Highway 395 outside Burns, Oregon. One person was killed in the confrontation. Bundy led a group of armed followers, adopting the name Citizens for Constitutional Freedom, and occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. (Photo by Multnomah County Sheriff's Office via Getty Images)

During the three weeks of the occupation, the protesters had been allowed to move back and forth between the refuge and the nearby town of Burns unhindered by police. But yesterday two more of the militia-affiliated protesters, Joseph O Shaugnessy and Peter Santilli, were arrested in Burns, while Jon Ritzheimer, another prominent member of the far-right group, turned himself into police in Arizona, where he had been visiting his family. All three were arrested on the same conspiracy charge as their compatriots.

The eight people arrested at the scene on Highway 395 were Bundy, 40, his brother Ryan, 43, Brian Cavalier, 44, Shawna Cox, 59, and Ryan Payne, 32.

Dozens of other occupiers reportedly remained at the remote refuge buildings as of late last night. On its website, the militia collective Operation Mutual Defense called on supporters to rally to the location in support of the arrested men. "You have an obligation to proceed to the [Malheur Refuge] immediately," the message said. "If you fail to arrive, you will demonstrate by your own actions that your previous statements to defend life, liberty, and property were false."

(FILES) This file photo taken on January 5, 2016 shows Ammon Bundy, leader of an armed anti-government militia, speaking at a news conference at the entrance to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters near Burns, Oregon. AFP/Getty Images
(FILES) This file photo taken on January 5, 2016 shows Ammon Bundy, leader of an armed anti-government militia, speaking at a news conference at the entrance to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters near Burns, Oregon. AFP/Getty Images
(FILES) This file photo taken on January 6, 2016 shows Ammon Bundy making his way from the entrance of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters in Burns, Oregon. One person died in an armed clash with police as they arrested the leaders of a group laying siege to an American wildlife refuge, the FBI said on January 26. Ammon Bundy, who has led the revolt in rural Oregon, was one of seven people arrested after a stand-off pitting an anti-government militia against the US authorities. AFP PHOTO / FILES / ROB KERRROB KERR/AFP/Getty Images
An AirLife medical transport helicopter lifts-off from St. Charles Medical Center in Bend,Oregon on January 26, 2016 en route to Burns, Oregon. One person was killed and several others arrested in the US state of Oregon in a Tuesday shootout between police and anti-government gunmen that had been occupying a federal wildlife refuge.The FBI said that Ammon Bundy, the rancher who led the January 2 occupation in the northwestern state, was among five people arrested when federal agents and state troopers stopped vehicles carrying the activists on a remote ice-covered highway. / AFP / Rob KerrROB KERR/AFP/Getty Images
(FILES) This file photo taken on January 15, 2016 shows occupier LaVoy Finicum speaking to the media at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters in Burns, Oregon on January 15, 2016. AFP/Getty Images
(FILES) This file photo taken on January 15, 2016 shows occupier LaVoy Finicum speaking to the media at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters in Burns, Oregon on January 15, 2016. AFP/Getty Images

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