Federal law enforcement officials arrested eight people on Tuesday and three more on Wednesday in connection with the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon. Another occupier, LaVoy Finicum, was killed in the process on Tuesday.
The arrests were made in two states — Oregon and Arizona — and each person now in custody faces a federal felony charge of conspiracy to impede officers of the United States from discharging their official duties through the use of force, intimidation or threats.
Here is what we know about the group of people taken into custody, the first seven of whom appeared Wednesday in federal court in Portland, Ore., and remain held in the Multnomah County jail:
Duane Leo Ehmer
Of the 11 people arrested, Ehmer, 45, is the first native Oregonian. Yet his role in the standoff appears to have been a supporting one.
“I take care of beans, bullets, boots and blankets,” Ehmer, a welder and Army veteran from Irrigon, recently told the Seattle Times, which also noted that he constructed a coat rack out of scrap metal.
Ehmer, who was arrested on Wednesday afternoon, was known for riding his horse, Hellboy, around the refuge, carrying an American flag and wearing one on the back of his jacket.
At least during the early part of the occupation, he would take his horse and an 1860 cavalry pistol out at 4 a.m. for pre-dawn inspections, the New York Times reported.
Despite his flamboyant presence, Ehmer otherwise tended to avoid the spotlight, giving few interviews.
In a brief exchange documented by a Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter early this month, Ehmer announced that he had come out to see what was going on, only to become less talkative when another militant told him a statement had been issued:
“Asked by a reporter if the group will take back lands, [Ehmer] didn’t venture a guess.
‘We’ll find out,’ he said. ‘I better excuse myself before I say something wrong.'”
Jason S. Patrick
Despite turning himself in on Wednesday, Patrick was determined to “defend our peaceful resolution,” he said on Tuesday night, according to Les Zaitz, an investigative reporter for the Oregonian.
Patrick, of Bonaire, Ga., left behind an $80,000-a-year roofing job when he set off to join the occupation, the Oregonian reported earlier this month. “The Constitution is more important,” he said at the time.
The Post’s Joe Heim spent some time with the militants and had this to say about Patrick:
[L]ike many occupiers, he carries a copy of the Constitution in his pocket and refers frequently to Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17, which he says limits federal authority to the District of Columbia and lands purchased with consent of the states.
Patrick, 43, has a graying beard and wears a camouflage baseball cap with an upside down American flag insignia — a logo adopted by anti-government activists as a symbol of a nation in distress. He’s sitting at the wheel of a beat-up Chevy pickup truck and smoking a Marlboro Light. The Great Recession hit him hard, he says, and he became increasingly fed up with what he thinks is an oppressive government that no longer answers to the people.
“We have anarchy now, but it’s the government that practices it,” Patrick says. “They can say and do whatever they want, with no accountability.”
Dylan Wade Anderson
Little information is available on Anderson, 34, of Provo, Utah.
Along with Ehmer and Patrick, Anderson turned himself in voluntarily at a checkpoint on Wednesday. He and Ehmer were taken into custody around 3:30 p.m.
Ammon Edward Bundy
If you’ve been following the Oregon occupation even a little, you’re probably familiar with Ammon Bundy, one of the leaders.
Bundy is the 40-year-old son of Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher who was involved in a 2014 standoff with federal officials over grazing fees. (Here’s a timeline of that dispute, if you need a refresher.)
Oregon Public Broadcasting notes that Ammon Bundy is “usually seen wearing a plaid shirt-coat, wide-brimmed hat and precise beard.”
You can see him speaking here, at an earlier news conference in Oregon:
A documentary crew working on a film about Western land use is peppering him with questions. He is soft-spoken, articulate, impassioned and certain of his positions.
After the crew leaves, he admits that he is tired. Asked if he wishes things had unfolded differently, he sits up and leans forward.
“Everything is happening just like it’s supposed to,” he says. “That’s what you have when you have divine guidance that is assisting. The right people come. The right words are said.”
Ryan C. Bundy
Like his younger brother, 43-year-old Ryan Bundy has been a constant figure during the Oregon standoff, often making controversial statements in interviews.
Shortly after the occupation began, Bundy told NBC News that the federal case against the Oregon ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond is “an example of the terrorism that the federal government is placing upon the people.” The Malheur occupation stems from the convictions the Hammonds received for setting fire to federal lands, allegedly to hide the evidence of an illegal hunt.
Bundy also made headlines for suggesting that the occupiers would leave if local residents wanted them to.
“This is their county — we can’t be here and force this on them,” Bundy told Oregon Public Broadcasting. “If they don’t want to retrieve their rights, and if the county people tell us to leave, we’ll leave.”
In that same interview, Bundy also tied his actions to his faith, saying: “My Mormonism plays a large part in what I do … the biggest part.”
Like many of the other occupiers, Bundy has a colorful past: He was arrested last year following a dispute with police in Cedar City, Utah, where he reportedly lives (though the FBI said Tuesday that he is from Bunkerville, Nev.). According to a police statement at the time, Bundy verbally and physically resisted arrest over a separate charge of interfering with an animal control officer.
When Bundy was a child, he was struck by a car, which then stalled on top of his head, Bundy said in a video posted to YouTube. The driver didn’t realize Bundy was trapped beneath the vehicle and hit the gas, Bundy said.
He suffered a broken arm and a cracked skull in the incident, and a sliver of bone severed a nerve in his face, he said. The bone sliver wasn’t located until years later.
“There has been a lot of improvement. My face used to sag, very badly, much worse than what you see me today,” he says in the YouTube video. “But that’s what happened.”
Ryan Waylen Payne
Ryan Payne is one of the movement’s leaders, having pushed for the occupation from the beginning, according to an Oregonian interview with dozens of his peers and federal officials.
“Even as a wider network of anti-government groups and community members rejected taking action stronger than holding a public rally, Bundy and Payne privately strategized an occupation they felt was necessary to spread their message,” the newspaper reported earlier this month.
Payne, who was in charge of operations, moved to Oregon in early December to prevent authorities from taking the Hammonds into custody early.
“He said he was primarily trying to gauge local views on the federal government,” the Oregonian reported. “But he was also conducting surveillance, with the idea of an occupation in mind.”
Payne, a 32-year-old former soldier, claimed to have arranged defenses against the federal government during the similar 2014 Bundy standoff.
“We locked them down,” Payne, of Anaconda, Mont., told the Missoula Independent. “We had counter-sniper positions on their sniper positions. We had at least one guy — sometimes two guys — per [Bureau of Land Management] agent in there. So, it was a complete tactical superiority. … If they made one wrong move, every single BLM agent in that camp would’ve died.”
Brian Cavalier, 44, of Bunkerville, Nev., has been connected to Bundy family disputes before; you can see him in this 2014 Fox News piece on the Bundy Ranch confrontation in Nevada.
Cavalier is said to have provided security for the Bundy brothers.
Santilli, a 50-year-old conservative radio host from the Cincinnati area, said he embedded with the group of armed ranchers who occupied the refuge in late December, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.
He denies being involved in the takeover of federal buildings early this month, but has spent the past several weeks broadcasting interviews and behind-the-scenes footage from the occupation on his YouTube channel.
“I’m here as an independent media journalist, coordinating major international media coverage of this event,” he said, according to the Enquirer.
He reportedly drew the attention of the Secret Service in 2013, after suggesting that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton be killed in a particularly vulgar way.
“She needs to be tried, convicted and shot in the vagina,” he reportedly said. “I want to pull the trigger. That C U Next Tuesday has killed human beings.”
Santilli called on the military to “seize power back” and later returned to criticizing Clinton, calling her “the biggest vagina on the face of the planet.” President Obama needs to be “tried, convicted and shot,” as well, he added.
Joseph Donald O’Shaughnessy
Little has been published about O’Shaughnessy. The 45-year-old is an Arizona Militia leader from Sedona, the Idaho Statesman reported earlier this week.
In its press release announcing his arrest, the FBI said O’Shaughnessy was from Cottonwood, Ariz., about 20 miles from Sedona.
In 2014, Santilli interviewed a “Capt. Joe O’Shaughnessy,” whom the conservative radio host identified as being a retired firefighter who was involved in the Bundy Ranch standoff.
“I was actually at the house most of the time; I was doing security for Cliven [Bundy] and his family,” O’Shaughnessy said in the interview.
In that discussion, O’Shaughnessy criticized the government for failing to secure the border and suggested that citizens can take action to prompt government action.
Shawna Cox, 59, appears to have been something of an unofficial spokeswoman for the occupiers.
Shortly after the group took over part of the federal refuge, its members held a news conference to explain their intentions. Ammon Bundy kicked off the briefing but soon invited Cox to read a “notice of redress of grievance.”
Speaking on behalf of the group, Cox read a long list of grievances, suggesting that the Hammonds’ constitutional rights were violated — and calling for an independent investigation of their case.
“We hold substantial evidence that inside the borders of Harney County, the U.S. government is acting outside the authority enumerated in the Constitution of the United States,” she said at the Jan. 4 news conference.
At the time, the group gave the federal government five days to respond.
Cox, of Kanab, Utah, was the only prominent woman in the group of occupiers.
“There is one woman who has been front and center: Shawna Cox, who has answered reporters’ calls and read statements before the cameras, also supported the Bundy family during last year’s protests in Nevada,” the New York Times reported. “She befriended Cliven Bundy and wrote an admiring book about him, ‘Last Rancher Standing.’ When the Oregon dispute boiled up, she left her family in southern Utah and joined up again.”
Daniel Woodruff, of Utah’s KUTV 2News, reported that Cox is a mother of 12.
Jon Eric Ritzheimer
Jon Ritzheimer turned himself in to police in Peoria, Ariz., on Tuesday and was taken into custody without incident, according to the FBI. The outspoken Ritzheimer, a 32-year-old former Marine reservist, was arrested on a federal charge related to the occupation, the agency said.
You can see Ritzheimer in the YouTube video posted below, in which he discusses his decision to join the takeover:
Ritzheimer has previously drawn attention from the media and law enforcement agencies for his anti-Islam activism. Last year, he organized an armed protest outside a mosque in Phoenix — an event at which he invited attendees to draw cartoons of the prophet Muhammad.
The Post’s Peter Holley profiled Ritzheimer earlier this month, writing:
Supporters call him a “true patriot.”
Critics consider him the next Timothy McVeigh.
“If this man were born in a different country he’d be a suicide bomber,” one YouTube user wrote under a video made by Ritzheimer as he prepared to trek to Oregon last week.