PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — One day after being arraigned on federal felony charges, militia leader Ammon Bundy once again urged the remaining occupiers of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge to go home.
Through his attorneys Lissa Casey and Mike Arnold — who read his prepared statement — Bundy said, “My message still remains. Turn yourself in. Do not use physical force.”
The lawyers, who represent only Ammon Bundy among the 8 people initially arrested, said Bundy is worried about the possibility of violence and is “committed to freedom not force.”
In the statement, Bundy said he wants to enter Phase 2 of the protest, and urged the militia to use the legal system to further their mission.
“We can do this though courts, this is the constitution, it is ours and we will use it,” Bundy’s statement said.
He said he is mourning the loss of 54-year-old LaVoy Finicum, the group’s spokesman who was killed in a shootout on Tuesday night during the arrest of the militia men.
“We never wanted bloodshed, we verbalized that many times,” Bundy’s statement said. He added the FBI told him the shooting was likely caught on tape, and he and the rest of the group are awaiting the results of the investigation and to see the tape.
“Questions must be answered,” Bundy’s statement said.
A law enforcement official says Finicum was shot after reaching toward his waistband multiple times.
The official, who had been briefed on the investigation but spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss it by name, said Finicum was armed, but did not have an opportunity to shoot.
Earlier Wednesday, Bundy’s wife Lisa made a public statement urging the militia members to stand down.
“This is Lisa Bundy, Ammon Bundy’s wife. I spoke with Ammon’s lawyers yesterday and heard from his voice that those were his instructions: he wants people to go home; to go to their families,” she said in the statement.
5 militia members allegedly still at refuge
There are allegedly still 5 militia members occupying the Malheur Wildlife Refuge, which is now surrounded by FBI checkpoints.
The FBI has not confirmed the number of people still there. One of the armed protesters at the refuge, however, was uploading videos and livestreaming footage on his YouTube channel, “DefendYourBase.”
Videos showed a member of the group using an excavator to dig a large hole or trench and later appeared to show people near a campfire at night.
Federal and state law enforcement authorities have blocked the roads leading to the refuge.
In a statement, the FBI said the containment was to “better ensure the safety of community members.”The Associated Press contributed to this report