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FBI investigating Bundy Ranch showdown, Clark County sheriff's officials say

Nevada_showdown2.jpg

April 18, 2014: Rancher Cliven Bundy speaks at a protest camp near Bunkerville, Nevada. (AP)

Clark County sheriff's officials say they've been interviewed by the FBI as part of an investigation into armed supporters of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy.

Assistant Sheriff Joe Lombardo told KLAS-TV that federal agents have opened an investigation into the conduct of supporters of Bundy who reportedly pointed guns at officers during a standoff at his ranch April 12.

Bundy, a states' rights advocate who refuses to acknowledge the authority of the federal government, owes more than $1 million in fees and penalties for letting his cattle use government land over the past 20 years.

Last month, the Bureau of Land Management stopped trying to round up his cattle after a showdown with hundreds of Bundy supporters, some of them armed.

Since the standoff, Bundy went from being proclaimed a patriot by some for his resistance to a racist for comments he made about blacks being better off under slavery.

Bundy supporters have denied pointing weapons at authorities and say that BLM rangers were the ones pointing guns. Lombardo said it's expected the alleged behavior would be the subject of a criminal investigation.

"The federal authorities are conducting an investigation and I am pretty confident it is going to go into the future," Lombardo told KLAS-TV.

Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie confirmed the investigation in an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He said agents will interview every law enforcement officer who was present during the showdown.

"Everyone anticipated that this would occur," said Gillespie, who told the newspaper that he was interviewed by FBI agents on April 28. "I’ve said all along there has to be accountability for what took place on April 12."

Lombardo told the Review-Journal that FBI agents are primarily interested in who allegedly pointed weapons at federal agents. He said he believed agents would be poring over video and photos to identify people making threats.

“They have a certain standard of what they believe is a violation of the law,” he said. “You can’t expect the federal government to walk away.”

A spokeswoman for the FBI in Las Vegas did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.