(BURNS, Ore.) — Ammon Bundy released a statement through his lawyer Thursday asking the remaining occupiers on a wildlife refuge in Harney County, Oregon to turn themselves in.
“My message still remains: Turn yourselves in! Do not use physical force, use the national platform we have to defend liberty through our constitutional rights,” Bundy said in the statement.
The FBI says four militia members are still occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
Bundy told the occupiers that they will “continue to educate the American people of the injustices taking place” and that they can do so in court.
“I am committed to freedom, not force…” he said. “We are done with the government pointing guns at us,” he said.
One person was killed when Harney County police made several arrests on the federal land Tuesday.
Bundy said the occupiers have accomplished stage one of their mission, which was exercising their free speech to bring “light to a problem that is ignored in the east and Midwest.” He said phase 2 will involve their right to due process and a peaceful end.
The man killed during the confrontation with police, LaVoy Finicum, was allegedly the standoff group’s spokesperson. Bundy said in his statement that he was mourning Finicum’s death.
“LeVoy was a man who put others needs and safety before his own,” Bundy said.
“I’m disappointed that a traffic stop yesterday that was supposed to bring peaceful resolution to this ended badly,” Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward said Wednesday. “There doesn’t have to be bloodshed in our community.”
Several arrests were made Wednesday morning after the FBI and Oregon State Police established a series of checkpoints at major roads in and around the refuge. No one entered a plea in court Wednesday.
Three more people were arrested Wednesday evening after turning themselves in. Ward said the occupation had been “tearing” the community apart.
An FBI official said the occupiers have had “ample” time to leave the refuge peacefully. The group took over the refuge earlier this month.
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