County News

A Cottonwood man was among those arrested by Oregon State Police Tuesday, Jan. 26, in relation to the armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge buildings.

Joseph Donald O’Shaughnessy, 45, of Cottonwood, was arrested Jan. 26 by Oregon State Police without incident at 5:50 p.m. Tuesday near Bend, Ore.

Roughly an hour and half earlier along Highway 395 outside Burns, Ore., 130 miles east of Bend, state police pulled over a vehicle containing several armed militants from the standoff. During that incident shots were fired, but it is not clear how many or by whom.

Ryan Waylen Payne, 32, of Anaconda, Mont., suffered non-life-threatening injuries and LaVoy Finicum, 54, a rancher from Mohave County, Ariz., was killed. Finicum had stated in a Jan. 6 video interview with NBC News that he would rather be killed than be taken into custody. Finicum was a subject of a federal probable cause arrest.

Those arrested near Burns include Brian Cavalier, 44, of Bunkerville, Nev., Shawna Cox, 59, Kanab, Utah, Ammon Edward Bundy, 40, of Emmett, Idaho, and Ryan C. Bundy, 43, of Bunkerville, Nev.

The Bundys are the leaders of the militants and the sons of Cliven Bundy, a Nevada rancher who led an armed confrontation with Bureau of Land Management and other federal officials in 2014.

At 6:30 p.m., 40 minutes after O’Shaughnessy’s arrest, FBI agents arrested Peter Santilli, 50, of Cincinnati, Ohio, in Burns, Ore.

At 8:30 p.m., Jon Eric Ritzheimer, 32, of Peoria, turned himself into the Peoria Police Department on a federal charge related to the occupation.

All the defendants “face a federal felony charge of conspiracy to impede officers of the United States from discharging their official duties through the use of force, intimidation, or threats, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 372,” according to the FBI.

O’Shaughnessy had been arrested in Arizona in January 2008, charged with possession of dangerous drugs for sale and possession of methamphetamine paraphernalia before being released on a $7,500 bond. In April 2008, he was charged with conspiracy, dangerous drug violation, drug paraphernalia, aggravated DUI and two counts of misconduct involving weapons.

Militants continue to occupy the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge buildings. While members of the group calling itself Citizens for Constitutional Freedom say there are 150 militants at the building, The Oregonian newspaper reported the number is between 20 and 30.

The militants took over the buildings Jan. 2 in protest of two ranchers who were sentenced to five years in prison for arson on federal land adjacent to their property in 2001 and 2006.


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