BURNS, Ore. — About a dozen people paid their respects Sunday afternoon at a makeshift memorial that sprung up where rancher Robert “LaVoy” Finicum was shot and killed by police last week on U.S. Highway 395 north of Burns.
The mourners wiped tears, prayed, and laid a copy of the U.S. Constitution on a large wooden cross that has been planted at the site.
The site is also surrounded by American flags and signs, including one that says “RIP LaVoy Finicum. A True American hero.”
Meanwhile, the four people occupying a national wildlife refuge held their position Sunday. They have demanded that they be allowed to leave without being arrested. The jailed group’s leader, Ammon Bundy, and 10 others who were arrested last week remained in custody.
One of those four is David Fry who, according to the (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, “is prepared to die during the siege.”
The News Journal confirmed Fry is a 2006 graduate of Little Miami High School in Warren County; he lives in the Blanchester area, according to several media outlets.
“Obviously they are murdering people at this point,” Fry told the Plain Dealer in a brief phone interview last week. “They’ve been doing it for a long time now, and you guys are watching it.”
The Plain Dealer reports Fry “was on vacation with his parents in Costa Rica when he left them and traveled to Oregon to join the occupation.”
He told the Plain Dealer, “I’m here to support freedom and a non-corrupt government. I’m here for a patriotic cause. I support the government, just not the people we have in government now. I’m tired of serving evil. I’m tired of paying my money and going toward abortion, going toward bombing and other countries, arming rebels. I’m tired of paying my taxes for that (expletive), so I’m going to fight.”
Fry’s Facebook page states his occupation as “Terrorist Hunter at Central Intelligence Agency and Domestic Terrorist Hunter at Department of homeland security.”
In a video posted to YouTube, Fry declares, “These are trying times. I’m ready to take my stand. Give me liberty, give me death (no or heard). I’ve made my choice and I pray for all the Americans that are going to have to live through this.”
Family members could not be reached for comment by the News Journal.
FBI goal peaceful resolution
Through his lawyer, Bundy on Saturday again called on the remaining occupiers to leave. The FBI has said it’s trying to resolve the situation peacefully.
The mourners at the makeshift memorial Sunday included Brandon Curtis, a founder of the Pacific Patriots Network, which is demanding the removal of law enforcement officers from Burns.
“We’ve had enough,” Curtis said. “This stops now.”
The network said it had additional rallies planned for Monday in Burns and called for like-minded people to gather in the small eastern Oregon town.
“This is a call to action against an armed militarized police force,” said B.J. Soper, a network leader.
“We want to protest this armed insurgency taking place by our federal government,” Soper said of the standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns.
Activists are urging people who oppose a “militarized police presence” to converge on the small high desert town near the wildlife refuge that has been occupied by an armed group for a month.
The network also organized a rolling rally through Burns on Saturday night, and said it planned more demonstrations to protest the killing of Finicum, and the presence of numerous heavily armed law enforcement officers at the standoff.
The rally drew more than 100 people and dozens of U.S. and Confederate flag-covered vehicles.
A lone woman showed up to oppose the rally. Jen Hoke of Burns carried a sign saying “Militia Go Home.’” “These people are spreading a message of hate,” Hoke said.
While the standoff that originated over federal land-use policies has led to filled-up hotels and restaurants as police, protesters and media have flocked to the area, locals say the conflict is upsetting and pitting neighbor against neighbor.
Authorities say Bundy, the leader of the group that seized the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, and others used the social media and other platforms to summon recruits to join their takeover.
Standoff began Jan. 2
Court documents against the 11 occupiers under arrest show FBI agents have scrutinized social media postings, interviews and online talk shows that have been made during the standoff that began Jan. 2.
Bundy and several other jailed leaders appeared Friday in federal court in Portland, where a judge denied their release. U.S. Magistrate Judge Stacie Beckerman said Bundy, his brother Ryan Bundy and Ryan Payne pose a danger to the community, and she is concerned they would not follow orders to return to Oregon for criminal proceedings.
The only woman arrested so far in the standoff, Shawna Cox, will be allowed to go home while her case makes its way through the court system. But Beckerman said that won’t happen until after the armed occupation ends.
Court documents detail some of the evidence against the occupiers. The charges against the defendants say the refuge’s 16 employees have been prevented from reporting to work because of threats of violence.
A criminal complaint filed earlier this week makes reference to an online video that showed Bundy saying the group planned to stay for several years. He called on people to “come out here and stand,” adding: “We need you to bring your arms.”
Finicum, the group’s spokesman, was killed Tuesday night in a confrontation with the FBI and Oregon State Police. Bundy and four others were arrested during the encounter.
The FBI on Thursday released a video showing Finicum’s death, to counter claims he did nothing to provoke his killing. In the aerial video, Finicum is pulled over in his truck but then takes off in the vehicle and plows into a snowbank because of a roadblock. He gets out and has his hands up at first, then appears to reach toward his jacket pocket at least twice. He is shot and falls to the snow.
The FBI said a loaded handgun was found in the pocket.