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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

Wednesday
Oct072015

Bringing our ‘Kids’ Home

It was a very somber scene at the Roseburg Municipal Airport last Friday around 4 PM as two Black Hawk helicopters touched down gently carrying their tragic cargo; the bodies of the slain students and teacher from last Thursday’s murderous rampage at Umpqua Community College. Members of the Oregon National Guard, State Police, and Douglas County Sheriff’s office were all present, serving in the capacity of honor guard as one-by-one all nine were brought home. Many heads were bowed as the solemn task was carried out.  Under Oregon’s Mass Casualty Incident statute, any time there are more than six deaths in one incident, the identification and release of information falls under the jurisdiction of the State Medical Examiner’s Office. For purposes of identification and forensic evidence collection, the victims’ bodies were removed from the crime scene at UCC and taken to the M.E.’s office in Clackamas, Oregon 175 miles away. In the meantime, that Thursday, parents and family members of the missing students were kept in agonizing suspense. One such parent was Justin Anspach, Engineer for Fire District 2. Anspach’s close friend and co-worker Chuck was at the scene and asked us (Beacon staff) if we could help find out if Justin’s son is still “in there”, referring to the barricaded UCC Campus; “His dad is frantic and can’t get ahold of him!” The Anspach family would not receive the dreaded confirmation until nearly 7:00 pm that night, more than eight hours after the attack began. The question that lingered throughout that surreal day was; “Why can’t we get the names of the shooter and his victims?” After all, the killer was “neutralized” within minutes of his opening fire on his classmates and teacher. Every media outlet from throughout the nation and the world was on scene, looking for any facts to file in their next report. The families merely needed to know! Douglas County Commissioner Chris Boice told the Beacon that the reason for the delay was some heretofore unknown bureaucracy imbedded in the Mass Casualty Incident law, which nobody until now had ever heard of. Finally after many agonizing hours, Commissioners Chris Boice and Tim Freeman working with Sheriff Hanlin, put pressure on the Governor’s staff to release the Sheriff from the statute requirements which could have meant 24-48 hours before the State M.E. would release the names.  The Governor’s staff would not budge stating that by law they could not release local officials from the provisions of the law but “we can’t stop you”. Within the next hour all the families were finally notified. Then the nightmare became reality.

Wednesday
Sep302015

Morgan Recall about to get underway

Roseburg, Or- After the furor caused by County Commissioner Susan Morgan filing suit against Douglas County Clerk Patricia Hitt, in her efforts to overturn the county term limit ordinance, a group of citizens have decided to mount a recall campaign to remove Morgan from office.  Chief Petitioners Ralph Lamell and Mario Zayas plan to turn in documents to the Douglas County Clerk’s office Wednesday September 30, seeking to get their petition approved for circulation. Lamell, a retired U.S. Army Non-Commissioned Officer, said he decided to take up this recall campaign “because when an individual swears to an oath, they are bound by that oath 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Susan Morgan is supposed to look out for the financial welfare of the county and enforce the county ordinances.” Lamell said that Morgan, by entering into a lawsuit against the county, is “creating a financial burden on the county taxpayers.”  He said “If  we let a commissioner over run the voting public, then we are no longer in control of our elected governing officials; we would no longer live in a constitutional republic, but a dictatorship.”  Lamell and his wife Heidi, live with their five children on what he called a “small homestead farm” south of Roseburg.   “We moved to Roseburg to be around family and provide a better future for our children after my retirement. We enjoy the outdoors, fishing and hunting and the company of their friends and neighbors.”  Lamell, who spoke at last week’s commissioner meeting, hasn’t been active up to this point in local politics. “We are just ordinary people, nobody special, but I couldn’t stand by and watch this happen.” He said “somebody has to hold our elected officials accountable.” Lamell is joined by local businessman Mario Zayas who is also a Chief Petitioner for the recall. Zayas is the owner of Gino’s Automotive.  Lamell said he is optimistic about the prospects of collecting the nearly 3,000 signatures required to get the recall on the ballot. The term limit measure Morgan seeks to overturn was passed by 69.42% of the vote in November of 2014.  

Wednesday
Sep302015

County Hires Lawyer to defend Clerk in Morgan Lawsuit

Roseburg, Or-Douglas County Clerk, Patricia Hitt has retained Roseburg Attorney Charles Lee, to defend her decision not to accept Susan Morgan’s filing for candidacy in the May 2016 Primary election. Morgan attempted to turn in papers to the Clerk’s office on Monday September 21, while Hitt was out on medical leave recovering from surgery, despite Hitt’s earlier communication with Morgan advising her that she could not file for a third term, under current county code. Hitt told the Beacon she had left her staff with explicit instruction not to accept Morgan’s filing. After being rejected at the Clerk’s office Morgan filed a lawsuit that same day against the County Clerk. According to Hitt, County Counsel Paul Meyer recommended Charles Lee to defend her. Lee, a member of the Roseburg School Board, and former candidate for Circuit Court Judge, has already made filings in the case, which is on a fast track schedule devised by Morgan’s attorney, Sharon Rudnick of Harrang Long Gary Rudnick P.C. of Eugene, Oregon. Under the original proposed schedule the court hearing would have taken place before Judge Randolph Garrison by October 30, 2015. That schedule may now be in question after Lee’s filing Monday, September 28, which was a Motion to Disqualify Judge Garrison. In a declaration supporting the motion Hitt stated; “I do not believe that I can have a fair trial or hearing in this matter before the Honorable Randolph Garrison.”  The motion was granted and an order disqualifying Garrison from hearing the case was signed by Judge William Marshall and entered in the court. It is unknown at this writing which judge will hear the case.  According to Hitt, the commissioners appropriated $10,000 so far to the Clerk’s budget for her legal expenses. It is not known at this time, and will depend on the initial ruling of the court, and whether the decision goes on to the appellate court, what the final legal costs to defend against Morgan’s suit will total. In the meantime the Chief Petitioner for the original Term Limits measure, John Parker, has retained the legal services of Portland Attorney, James Buchal, who has filed an intervenor motion for Parker. Parker has started a legal defense fund to assist with the costs associated with defending the people’s initiative. Parker said “I got this thing rolling, and with the help of a lot of volunteers got it on the ballot, but it’s going to be up to the 69 plus percent who voted for it if they want to keep it.”

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