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Wednesday
Feb032016

It’s Not Over, in Harney County 

By Marilyn Kittelman

Burns, OR – Hundreds gathered in front of the Harney County Courthouse in Burns, Oregon on Monday, February 1 to protest the shooting of LaVoy Finicum by law enforcement on January 26. Finicum, a 54 year old Arizona rancher and father of 11, was on his way to a public meeting with several other people when he was stopped at a road block and shot after he exited his vehicle.

Finicum was among a group of patriots who have maintained control of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge for more than a month to protest the re-arrest of Dwight and Steven Hammond. The Hammonds were sent back to Federal prison after serving the full sentence imposed by U.S. District Court Judge, Michael Hogan. After their release the federal government went back to court and demanded they serve more time.

On January 26, the group was en route for what they maintain was a public meeting in John Day  with the Grant County Sheriff, Glenn Palmer, when Finicum was gunned down, and 11 others arrested before days end. Shortly after the killing of Finicum, people began gathering in Burns to protest.

On Monday, February 1, protestors entered the Harney County Courthouse to deliver notarized petitions demanding that Sheriff David Ward (formerly of Drain, Oregon) and the three Harney County Commissioners: Judge Steven Grasty; Dan Nichols and Pete Runnels resign.

After delivering the petitions, hundreds of protestors held signs. They shouted messages to law enforcement and to the much smaller group who had shown up to support the sheriff and FBI.

“LaVoy’s blood is on your hands!”

“Who’s the only side shooting?” they chanted.

And “FBI killed LaVoy!”

Ranchers driving trucks and pulling livestock trailers circled the block, driving slowly through the crowd. Rancher Joe Kingen drove more than 150 miles to take part in the demonstration. Cory Shelman, a local rancher and horse trainer, rode a sorrel horse through the crowd carrying an American Flag.

The wife of one rancher said she was “scared to death to come” but admitted “we had to!”

One rancher said they were just trying to feed cattle but when they reached the FBI checkpoint they were forced to get out of the vehicle. He said an FBI agent got in the truck and drove it over spike strips. He was forced to walk several miles back to town and get the local tire shop to drive him back out and replace the tires. He believes the FBI is intentionally taking it out on locals to pit them against the protestors. “It won’t work,” he said.

An interview with Jacob Rothgeb, local rancher, can be seen on the Roseburg Beacon Facebook page. Rothgeb got up early, fed cows and headed to the protest. “The militia groups and the original Bundy occupation, they’re trying to help.” Rothgeb believes the sacrifices made by the occupation will make a difference and that people will take notice of what is happening to those trying to make a living on the land.

Wednesday
Feb032016

“We were set up…they had an ambush set up for us”

Eyewitness account by Shawna Cox of Lavoy Finicum being killed
Beacon Exclusive

by David Jaques

Harney County, Or-During a traffic stop on a deserted stretch of Hwy 395 in south eastern Oregon, LaVoy Finicum with four passengers in his truck came to a complete stop. Ryan Payne who was sitting in the front seat, stuck both hands out of the passenger window to demonstrate that he was unarmed and posed no threat to law enforcement. It was at that time, said Shawna Cox, a passenger in the back seat, that she heard shots ring out as a bullet hit the rear view mirror post on Payne’s side of the truck, right next to his outstretched hands.  At first she thought the bullet had hit the metallic bracelet on his wrist. She said Payne, recoiling from the shot, jerked his arms back inside the vehicle.

The group was on their way to John Day, Oregon, for a scheduled pubic meeting with local ranchers, townspeople, and anyone interested in learning about what’d been going on in Harney County. In the truck with Finicum were Ryan Payne, Shawna Cox, Victoria Sharp (18years old), and Ryan Bundy.

After taking fire during the traffic stop, Payne told Finicum he wanted to get out; “These guys are serious” he said.  Payne repeatedly told law enforcement as he exited the vehicle that there were women in the truck. Shawna Cox said she heard them shout back to send the women out. But the young Sharp girl was terrified and she told Finicum she wasn’t going to get out because they were being shot at. Cox said her motherly instinct kicked in and she said she wasn’t going to leave this young girl in the back seat unprotected. It was then that Finicum told law enforcement he was going to see the Sheriff, and Cox said he started off down the road.

Cox said she started trying to call or text to let others know what was going on, but there was no cell service. She said this seemed odd because right up till the time of the stop, she had actively been sending text messages and had cell service, “we just had it, and now we had nothing”. That’s when she said she knew they had been set up. Without cell service she decided she would start filming and trying to record what was happening with her camera.

When she asked LaVoy how far they had yet to go, he said about fifty miles. Cox said she thought about the vehicles in pursuit, wondering if their tires would get shot out by them. It was about that time that she said she couldn’t tell if LaVoy was hitting the brakes, or they were just plowing through slush, which was spraying up beside the rear truck windows. She said as they swerved she could see the vehicles in the middle of the road blocking their passage. She said as they swerved to avoid hitting them “we got stuck” in the snow. She said “immediately there are lasers everywhere, all over, and LaVoy jumps out, he flings open the door, and throws his hands in the air, and he jumps out and starts running through this deep snow. We can see him, and I have it on video, we’re just freaking out because there are bullets flying- he’s yelling “go ahead and shoot me, go ahead and shoot me”. I honestly believe that he was trying to draw fire away from us.”  At this time during the interview she becomes emotional, holding back tears and continues,  “LaVoy’s a father of many girls-he’s very protective. I think he was drawing the fire away from us.”

Cox said they were hunkered down in the back seat of the vehicle to avoid gunfire, but that she had her camera videoing what she could. “They’re shooting all the windows out. And we can’t get out, we’re pinned down.”

Ryan Bundy was trying to look out but they kept pushing him down as they continued to dodge the lasers and bullets.  We knew they had killed LaVoy by then, but they were just trying to stay down to avoid being hit.

Cox said the window next to her head had been hit four or five times but that one hadn’t broke, which she said was a miracle of God’s protection. She said we just lay there and kept praying. She said the shooting went on for at least five or ten minutes it seemed, though there was no way to tell. She said that she and Victoria had been yelling for them to stop, but they wouldn’t stop shooting, and they had also fired some sort of gas into the vehicle, making it hard to breathe, and their eyes were burning.

Finally the shooting stopped and they told the man to get out. “I don’t think they knew it was Ryan Bundy.” And when Bundy got out he said “I got hit in the shoulder”.  She said it was in his right shoulder.

After he got out, Cox said Victoria was next and they took both into custody. Then Cox said she was ordered out, and as she got out had to put down her phone camera and papers she was carrying.

As she and Victoria walked beside the vehicle they could see LaVoy laying dead in the snow. She said he was facing up. “He was laying back in the snow, and his feet were deep down in the snow, and he had his hands out like this [she had her arms stretched out]. The left had was out [to the side] and his right hand was kind of at his chest. His hat was still on.”  

Then Cox tells how they were taken over to the other side of the truck and seated on the ground as they were cuffed. She said as they were walking they were asked repeatedly if anyone else was in the vehicle. Cox told them no, they were it. That’s when she said they opened fire again, this time shooting out the window where she had been sitting a few minutes ago.

Cox said she began telling the FBI and State Troopers present; “You murdered him in cold blood, he didn’t have a gun.”  She remarked that he did not have a gun in his hand and though he typically carried a side arm on his right hip in a holster, a revolver, they didn’t take the guns to meetings, so she was sure she did not see him with a gun as he exited the vehicle, and he definitely did not have one in his hands.

She said as they looked over where LaVoy’s body lay, she could see “all these men coming out from behind the trees. I’ll bet you there were like twenty four of them. They had the long guns, and they had these caps like with binoculars’ that flip down. It was like this army; a battlefield.” Cox estimated that there were hundreds of rounds fired into their truck. “I believe they intended to kill us all”.

Cox said as they were lead down the road to be placed into a van, she told them again that they had murdered an innocent man and that she felt sorry for them, and she’d pray for them. They got in the van and sat there for a very long time, trying to keep warm.

They recognized that Ryan Bundy had been shot, so they called for an ambulance which picked him up.  

Then, they took them back down the road to where the other vehicle that was travelling behind them was, and “there we saw Ammon and Booda and Mark and Ryan Payne, and they loaded them in the van with us.

She said then they just sat there for hours, in the back of this van. Cox asked if they were under arrest, and she was told “no, you’re  just being detained”.

They were then all hauled back to Burns in the van. At that point they were all split up into SUV’s at a rest area and shuttled to Portland. Cox said they drove like “madmen” eighty miles an hour the whole way.

After three days in custody in Portland, Cox was released Friday night Jan 29th. She said she was just turned out in the lobby of the jail with nothing but a set of street clothes they gave her (not her own) and a $50 VISA card. She did not have her purse or identification, her credit cards, camera, cell phone, or any of her personal items.  She had not signed any release forms, and was given no conditions for her release.

On Sunday she got a call from her attorney, a public defender, and was informed she had to come back to Portland (she was already on her way home to southern Utah) to get an ankle bracelet and sign a conditional release document.

She is basically on house arrest, confined to her own home until trial. She cannot be on any federally owned property except a Post Office, she cannot be in the presence of firearms, and she cannot contact any of her co-defendants.

On a separate but related issue, her husband was informed there could be no firearms in the house upon her return, so he took them to a family member’s home for safe keeping. Her son-in law stored them in a shop-office building on the property near his home and was working outside that day on a piece of equipment. He went inside to get warm by the woodstove, and Shawna said they believe something ignited, and the building went up in flames. By the time her daughter, who was down at the house, became aware of the fire the emergency vehicles were pulling up.

Absolute chaos was the way the scene was described by her daughter, as bullets were going off, they couldn’t get to her husband and he perished in the fire which consumed the entire structure. Cox said that much speculation has been out there about the tragedy being related, but she said the family believes it was “just a terrible accident” and that they do not suspect foul play.

Wednesday
Feb032016

Roseburg ‘Panther Mom’ Heads to Super Bowl 50

By David Jaques

Roseburg, OR-It isn’t often that you get a chance to go to the Super Bowl; and Super Bowl 50 between the Broncos and the Panthers is undoubtedly one of the biggest events in the history of the game. So just imagine what it would be like if you had tickets, but not just to see the game, but to see your youngest son walk onto the field wearing the Panthers uniform. Well that’s exactly what Lori Haggans from Roseburg, Oregon is going to do this Sunday.

Lori was on her way to the airport to catch a flight to visit some of her grandkids on the way to see her son, No. 55 David Mayo, in his first NFL season with the Carolina Panthers, play in the Big Game Sunday February 7th in Levi’s Stadium before a capacity crowd of about 70,000, with a viewing audience at home expected to reach 189,000,000.

Mayo a twenty-two year old rookie with the Panthers, was picked up this year in the fifth round of the NFL Draft. His mom is quick to say it’s the same year the Panthers drafted Michael Oher, of the movie Blindside fame.

David Mayo grew up in St. Helens, Oregon, and moved during High School to Scappoose, Oregon, where he wore the Orange and Black for the Indians.

But his mom tells how it all started. David, the youngest of her seven children, started out in soccer when he was seven years old, with mom as his coach. But by age nine he decided he wanted to try American football. He started out as QB. Mom says he came home after his first practice a bundle of nerves, totally distraught because coach told him he had to learn all of the positions and all of the plays. So as she tells it while ‘normal’ kids were hearing their mom read bedtime stories, she read David the playbook each night as he went to sleep.

He went on to play city league in St. Helens, and worked his way up through Jr, High and High School with a complete love of the game. In his sophomore year he moved to Scappoose where he played for Coach Sean McNabb. David was one of the team captains all three years and became a team leader on and off the field. Mom said he always took a knee when coach called the team in, as a sign of respect and reverence. She said in High School he was known by his friends and teammates as the guy with the Bible in his truck.

After graduating from Scappoose he went to Santa Monica Jr. College. Money was tight so he stayed on a friend of the family’s couch and later lived in a utility shed in their back yard. At the end of his first year at Santa Monica, he was recruited by Texas State on a full ride scholarship to play football for them.

While at Santa Monica, David met a young lady, Jordan, who would later become Mrs. Mayo. He graduated from Texas State in 2015 with a degree in business. But that is only the beginning of the events of that summer for the young college grad. Before the end of summer he would get drafted in the NFL’s 5th round to play Panther football, get married to Jordan on the family’s regulation size football field in Canby, Oregon, and move to North Carolina to report for training camp.

Mother Lori said “he’s a deserving kid, he’s always stayed focused, and his faith has seen him through”.

All six of his siblings will also be at the big game this Sunday. That’s only fitting too said mom, because they helped toughen him up as the youngest of seven, it’s where he learned survival skills, and how to get back up again.

Another Scappoose teammate, Derek Anderson, who went on to play for the OSU Beavers, also ended up in the Panther lineup. And their coach, Sean McNabb will be attending the game this weekend at Levi’s Stadium.

A key memory mom shared was when David was about twelve years old they watched the movie “The Rookie” and it really impacted David. It’s where he first expressed an interest in being able to grow up and get a job doing something you love, which in his life is football. Mom encouraged him by telling him that’s what she did. She grew up working in the field of her passion, music.

Lori teaches instrumental and vocal music at Absolute Sound and Music. She says that ‘my kids, my husband Jesse and music are my passion.”  And Jesse, she said, shares her passion for music and plays bass guitar in the local band TOB; That Other Band.  

So this weekend watch for number 55 David Mayo, Panthers Inside Linebacker, Special Teams, in the biggest game of his life!  

Wednesday
Jan272016

Shots Fired, One Dead, Seven Arrested - Harney County Standoff

Burns, OR- During a traffic stop on Tuesday January 26, at about 4:25 p m, along a stretch of Highway 395 in southwestern Oregon, which runs between Burns and John Day, shots were fired, and Arizona rancher Robert Lavoy Finicum was killed by law enforcement.

Although Oregon State Police have not released specifics about the shooting incident which occurred during the traffic stop, Steve Bundy (Ammon and Ryan Bundy’s brother) said he was informed that Finicum was laying on his back, at the side of the road, with his hands in the air yelling repeatedly “I’m unarmed, I’m unarmed” as he was shot three times. Ryan Bundy was also shot in the shoulder during the stop, but sources have confirmed his injuries on not life threatening.

Arrested at the scene were; Ammon Edward Bundy, age 40, of Emmett, Idaho, Ryan C. Bundy, age 43, of Bunkerville, Nevada, Brian “Booda” Cavalier, age 44, of Bunkerville, Nevada, Shawna Cox, age 59, Kanab, Utah, and Ryan Waylen Payne, age 32, of Anaconda, Montana.

The group of six was on their way to a public meeting in John Day, Oregon, to discuss federal land management policies. The reason for the traffic stop, cited in a joint press release from OSP and the FBI was “probable cause”. The press release also stated that during the stop “there were shots fired” and that “One individual who was a subject of a federal probable cause arrest is deceased.” Unconfirmed reports from an eye witness have stated that the first shots were fired by the FBI.

According to a spokesman for Pacific Patriot Network, Sgt. Major Joseph Santoro, U.S. Army retired, said he and three others from PPN; B.J. Soaper, Brandon Curtis, and Joseph Rice were contacted by the FBI at 4:37 pm and informed of the arrests and shooting. They were initially told “shots fired, two down”. Sgt. Major Santoro said the FBI wanted to get the information to them because they wanted to avert a situation where 5,000 or more patriots descend on the area with the potential of further escalation.

Santoro said he was told by FBI that they were ordered by the justice department to make the arrests. Santoro said it was at the order of the “White House”. He also said that so far the town was remaining calm, cool and collected and that PPN was determined to “work with the FBI to the best of their ability to assure a calm, peaceful, resolution”.  Santoro said they are not planning any type of response and that they are “in a holding pattern”.

According to what the FBI told PPN, “Those remaining at the refuge are free to leave, and that no arrests would be made”.

In a separate traffic stop, in Burns Oregon, at about 5:50 pm, Joseph Donald O'Shaughnessy, age 45, Cottonwood, Arizona, was also arrested without incident. Also in Burns at approximately 6:30 pm, the FBI arrested Peter Santilli, age 50, of Cincinnati, Ohio. He faces the same federal felony charge as the all of the named defendants; 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. 

At this time no information is available as to the possible penalties for the alleged charges, or whether or not any of the defendants will be eligible for bail. According to sources they are being held at the Harney County Jail. 

The family of Robert Lavoy Finicum has been notified of his death. Finicum was the father of 11 foster children which he and his wife were raising on their ranch in Arizona. Finicum has also been engaged in a battle over the rights on his land in Arizona.

One source who was in Burns told the Beacon that in spite of what happened today “We’re not stopping, we’re going to get that land back” and despite the tactics used today “We’re going to do it the peaceful way.”

PPN issued an official statement on their website Tuesday evening that asks for a calm approach to today’s tragic events and is issuing a “Stand By Order to all those mobilizing to the peaceful city of Burns, Oregon.” 

Wednesday
Oct142015