Ammon Bundy tells remaining occupiers to stand down, vehicles seen leaving refuge

The Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Ore., is seen from atop an old fire lookout on Friday, Jan. 15, 2016. A small, armed group has been occupying the refuge since Jan. 2 to protest federal land use policies. (AP Photo/Keith Ridler)

UPDATE. Read the story: 3 more arrests at refuge, several cars leave area

Original story:

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Ammon Bundy, through his attorney Wednesday, asked the remaining armed occupiers at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge to stand down and go home.

Bundy, the leader of the occupiers, and seven others were arrested Tuesday night near Burns. One of the occupiers, LaVoy Finicum, was shot and killed during the confrontation with federal authorities.

Bundy and the others were taken to Portland and booked into the Multnomah County Jail and made their first appearance in federal court on felony charges.

"I'm asking the federal government to allow the people at the refuge to go home without being prosecuted," Bundy said through his attorney Mike Arnold, who stood outside court to read Bundy's statement. "To those remaining at the refuge, I love you. Let us take this fight from here. Please stand down. Please stand down. Go home and hug your families. This fight is ours for now in the courts. Please go home."

Earlier, the handful of remaining armed occupiers tried to convince more people to join them via a YouTube livestream and told any would-be occupiers that if the federal authorities "stop you from getting here, KILL THEM!"

The occupiers took over the refuge Jan. 2.

After reading Bundy's statement, Arnold then indicated Bundy was ready for the entire ordeal to end.

"Mr. Bundy wants to be able to get back out, get back to work," Arnold said. "He has no intent to go back to Malheur County. He wants to go home, be with his family and go through this process with his team."

In addition to Bundy, those arrested were Ryan Bundy, Brian Cavalier, Shawna Cox and Ryan W. Payne. They were taken into custody during a traffic stop. Joseph Donald O'Shaughnessy and online talk-show radio host Peter Santilli were arrested in Burns. Jon Ritzheimer was arrested after surrendering to authorities in his home state of Arizona.

A federal judge ordered the seven defendants in Portland to stay in federal custody. The judge ruled there's a risk they wouldn't show up in court, and those under arrest pose a danger to the community because the occupation at the wildlife refuge continues.

None of the seven defendants entered any plea on the charge of impeding federal wildlife officers from doing their job.

Defense attorneys argued that none of those under arrest have significant criminal records, but the judge agreed with prosecutors that all should remain in custody until a detention hearing scheduled for Friday.

On behalf of Bundy, Arnold also had some emotional words about Finicum.

"His love for this country ran deep through the blood he gave yesterday. And I mourn for him and I mourn for his family," Arnold said. "We need to step back and -- somebody died yesterday. Mr. Bundy wants everyone to remember that somebody died, and this is not just about him right now. It's about LaVoy and his family."

On Wednesday night, Finicum was remembered at a candlelight vigil in Burns.

Not just supporters of the occupation joined the vigil. Other community members joined as well, saying nobody wanted bloodshed.

Arnold also took a moment to advocate for ranchers across the country, saying people in America need to realize how much ranchers do for everyone and the concerns brought up during the occupation need to be addressed.

Related stories:

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off