Three more members of militia occupying Oregon wildlife refuge arrested

Three more members of the milita group occupying a federal wildlife refuge in eastern Oregon were arrested Wednesday at one of the checkpoints the FBI had established around the area.

Duane Ehmer.

Duane Ehmer. (Multnomah County Sheriff's Office)

One of those arrested was 43-year-old Jason Patrick, who had taken over leadership of the group from Ammon Bundy. Bundy was arrested Tuesday after a confrontation on a remote highway that resulted in the death of militant Robert Finicum.

The FBI and Oregon State Police said that 45-year-old Duane Leo Ehmer of Irrigon, Oregon, and 34-year-old Dylan Wade Anderson of Provo, Utah, turned themselves in hours before Patrick's arrest. FBI officials said Wednesday night that in addition to the three arrests, five others left the refuge through the checkpoints and were released without arrest.

Dylan Anderson.

Dylan Anderson. (Multnomah County Sheriff's Office)

All three arrested men face a single felony charge of conspiracy to impede officers of the United States from discharging their official duties through the use of force, intimidation or threats, as does Bundy and the seven others who were arrested Tuesday.

Earlier Wednesday, following an initial court appearance in Portland, Ammon Bundy urged his followers in a statement read by his attorney to "please stand down. Go home and hug your families. This fight is now in the courts."

Jason Patrick.

Jason Patrick. (Multnomah County Sheriff's Office)

It was unclear whether the rest of the remnant of Bundy's followers still holed up at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge south of Burns was ready to heed his advice. It was believed perhaps a half-dozen remained late Wednesday, apparently sitting around a campfire.

Also Wednesday, a federal judge unsealed a criminal complaint that said the armed group had explosives and night-vision goggles and that they were prepared to fight at the refuge or in the nearby town of Burns.

Someone told authorities about the equipment on Jan. 2, when the group took over Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, according to the document.

The criminal complaint states that the 16 employees at the wildlife refuge "have been prevented from reporting to work because of threats of violence posed by the defendants and others occupying the property."

Meanwhile, details began to emerge about the confrontation Tuesday on a remote highway that led to Bundy's arrest and Finicum's death.

Authorities refused to release any details about the encounter or even to verify that it was Finicum who was killed. FBI agent Greg Bretzing defended the operation, saying "the armed occupiers were given ample opportunities to leave peacefully."

Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward said multiple law-enforcement agencies put together "the best tactical plan they could."

Bundy followers took to social media to offer conflicting accounts of Finicum's final moments.

In a video posted to Facebook, Mike McConnell said he was driving a vehicle carrying Ammon Bundy and another occupier, Brian Cavalier. He said Finicum was driving a truck and with him were Ryan Bundy -- Ammon's brother -- as well as three others.

He said the convoy was driving through a forest when they were stopped by agents in heavy-duty trucks. He said agents first pulled him out of the vehicle, followed by Ammon Bundy and Cavalier.

When agents approached the truck driven by Filicum, he drove off with officers in pursuit. McConnell said he did not see what happened next, but he heard from others who were in that vehicle that they encountered a roadblock.

The truck got stuck in a snowbank, and Finicum got out and "charged them. He went after them," McConnell said.

Relatives of Ammon Bundy offered similar accounts, but they said Finicum did nothing to provoke FBI agents.

Briana Bundy, a sister of Ammon Bundy, said he called his wife after his arrest. He said the group was stopped by state and federal officers.

She said people in the two vehicles complied with instructions to get out with their hands up.

"LaVoy shouted, `Don't shoot. We're unarmed,' "Briana Bundy said in an interview with The Associated Press. "They began to fire on them. Ammon said it happened real fast."

"Ammon said, `They murdered him in cold blood."

McConnell had a different perspective.

"Any time someone takes off with a vehicle away from law enforcement after they've exercised a stop, it's typically considered an act of aggression, and foolish," he said in the Facebook video.

Ammon and Ryan Bundy are the sons of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who was involved in a high-profile 2014 standoff with the government over grazing rights.

The group they led came to the frozen high desert of eastern Oregon to decry what it calls onerous federal land restrictions and to object to the prison sentences of two local ranchers convicted of setting fires.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.