A look at key players in Oregon wildlife refuge standoff

AP News
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Posted: Feb 11, 2016 5:23 PM
A look at key players in Oregon wildlife refuge standoff

The last four armed occupiers of a national wildlife refuge in Oregon surrendered Thursday, ending a tense standoff that began more than a month ago. The armed group seized the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on Jan. 2 and demanded changes to federal land use policies.

Here's a look at some of the key people in the situation, including occupiers and law enforcement:

THE BUNDYS

Cliven Bundy — The 69-year-old Bunkerville, Nevada, rancher for years has refused to pay grazing fees or follow regulations on federal land where he runs cattle. Federal authorities are widely seen as having backed down from enforcing rules on him in 2014. They were rounding up Bundy's cattle when he put out a call and armed groups showed up. Bundy was arrested Wednesday after arriving at the Portland airport.

Ammon Bundy — Cliven Bundy's son Ammon led an armed group in the Jan. 2 takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. The 40-year-old Emmett, Idaho, resident demanded that officials free two ranchers jailed for arson and relinquish the 300-square-mile refuge to local control. He owns a truck maintenance company in Arizona.

Ryan Bundy — Ammon's older brother Ryan planned to open the refuge to cattle grazing this spring, though exact details were never spelled out. The 43-year-old Bunkerville, Nevada, man was arrested with his brother Jan. 26. Both are charged with felony conspiracy to interfere with federal workers.

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OTHER RANCHERS

Robert "Lavoy" Finicum — The 54-year-old Arizona rancher became a recognizable spokesman for the occupiers before authorities shot and killed him in a Jan. 26 traffic stop. Finicum was driving one of two vehicles carrying occupation leaders. He sped away but swerved to avoid a roadblock and got stuck in a snowbank. The FBI said he was reaching for a gun when he was shot.

Dwight and Steve Hammond — The Oregon father and son said they lit fires on federal land in 2001 and 2006 to protect their ranchland from wildfires and invasive plants. They were convicted and served time — Dwight, 73, three months; Steven, 46, one year. In October, a judge ruled their terms were too short under federal law and ordered them back to prison for about four years each. Protesters gathered Jan. 2 in Burns, Oregon, and Ammon Bundy and others broke away to occupy the refuge. The Hammonds distanced themselves from the armed occupation.

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THE HOLDOUTS

David Fry — The 27-year-old from Blanchester, Ohio, formed an online friendship with Finicum and helped the rancher self-publish a novel. Fry traveled to Oregon against his father's advice and often posted online updates from the occupation. He and the other three holdouts surrendered Thursday. Each faces a charge of felony conspiracy to interfere with federal workers.

Sean and Sandy Anderson — The husband and wife moved from Janesville, Wisconsin, to Riggins, Idaho, within the past several years. Sean, 47, opened a store for hunting, tactical and survival gear. Sandy, 48, worked at a gas station.

Jeff Banta — The 47-year-old has lived in Elko, Nevada, the past several years and worked in construction most of his life. He arrived at the refuge shortly before authorities arrested the occupation leaders. Banta has two children with his ex-wife.

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THE NEGOTIATORS

Michele Fiore — The two-term Republican Nevada assemblywoman known for her brash statements, love of guns and flair for the dramatic traveled to the refuge to assist with the final holdouts' surrender. More than 60,000 people listened to the 45-year-old's live-streamed conversation with the holdouts Wednesday as she worked to calm the four remaining occupiers, who at times sounded hysterical as the FBI moved in.

Rev. Franklin Graham — The 63-year-old Christian evangelist went to the refuge Thursday to assist with the surrender of the four holdouts, at least one of whom requested his presence. Graham is the son of evangelist Billy Graham.

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LAW ENFORCEMENT

Harney County Sheriff David Ward — He took his oath of office last year and is up for election in November. The Army veteran served combat tours in Somalia and Afghanistan, the county's website says. Ward and Harney County Judge Steve Grasty voiced strong opposition to the occupation.

Greg Bretzing — He is special agent in charge of the FBI in Oregon. Bretzing narrated an aerial video showing the traffic stop that led to Finicum's death amid claims the rancher did nothing to provoke officers. Bretzing said the video shows Finicum reaching into his jacket, where authorities later found a gun.

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THE SYMPATHIZER

Peter Santilli — The 50-year-old Internet shock jock from Cincinnati, Ohio, and occupation sympathizer often chronicled the standoff with live video feeds to his 60,000 followers. He is charged with felony conspiracy to interfere with federal workers. His attorney is mounting a First Amendment defense.