The Oregon militia standoff is finally over

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon
The FBI Are Bringing the Oregon Armed Occupation To A Close

After several dramatic moments, federal agents on Thursday morning finally managed to end the standoff with a self-described armed militia group who had been holed up at an Oregon wildlife refuge for more than a month.

A tense night of negotiating between the four remaining gunmen and federal officials who had them surrounded resulted in all but one turning themselves over to authorities.

But 27-year-old Ohio native David Fry was unwilling to hand over his weapons and walk off the Malheur reserve. Supporters spent hours talking him down from the brink of suicide, as his voice was broadcast via live stream to tens of thousands of people on YouTube.

Shortly after 2 p.m. ET, after threatening to take his own life, he finally stood down and peacefully left the reserve.

Things began to unravel for the group on Wednesday night, when Cliven Bundy -- the Nevada rancher who started an earlier scuffle with federal authorities in 2014 -- was arrested peacefully in Portland while on his way to the refuge. His two sons, Ammon and Ryan, were key players in the wildlife refuge takeover and are already in custody in Portland after a dramatic arrest in which one man was killed.

READ MORE: In tense standoff, FBI closes in on 4 Oregon refuge holdouts

FBI officials then surrounded the Malheur Wildlife Refuge, where they had several tense hours of back and forth with the last remaining holdouts in the weeks-long occupation. Three of those people peacefully handed themselves over to federal agents -- Jeffrey Banta, 47, of Elko, Nevada, Sean Anderson, 47, and his wife, Sandy Anderson, of Riggins, Idaho.

"I declare war against the federal government because they have been trampling on my first amendment rights, so there is no way to beat this any more but liberty or death," said Fry, the final holdout, as he threatened to shoot himself.

For hours before the confrontation ended, the four remaining armed occupiers were in constant contact with Nevada lawmaker Michele Fiore, who had flown in to support them and attempt to deescalate the situation.

Evangelical minister Franklin Graham also travelled to the refuge to facilitate the handover. The hours of uncertainty were broadcast on a YouTube live stream hosted by one of the occupier's acquaintances, conservative activist Gavin Seim, and often reached a fever pitch as they wavered between committing to peacefully leaving and shouting about the injustice of the American system.

"We're at a crossroads right now, I don't know what the right thing is," Sean Anderson could be heard saying on the broadcast around 10 a.m. "If they double cross us, all bets are off."

Three of the foursome followed through on a promise they had made on Wednesday night to turn themselves over to the FBI in the morning as long as Graham, and Fiore escorted them out.

"We're gonna see you here in just a minutes, and you all do everything they told you to do and it's going to work out great," Graham reassured the four armed militia members on the phone.

READ MORE: These are the armed militants occupying a federal building in Oregon

According to Fiore, eight other state lawmakers from Arizona and Nevada were also in the town of Burns on Thursday morning to support the protesters.

The occupiers shouted at officials, who surrounded them in armored vehicles on Wednesday night, to give them one more day. They promised to exit the refuge Thursday morning if evangelist, Rev. Franklin Graham, and Fiore, a gun-rights advocate, escorted them out. On Thursday morning, Fiore and Graham travelled with several FBI agents to a meeting point near the refuge, after hours of talking down the militants.

"No one is going to get physical," said Fiore, repeatedly, as the four militants took turns venting their frustrations with the government on the call.

The tone took a frantic turn though after the three left the building. And Fry's voice quickly grew frantic.

"Unless my grievances are heard I will not come," shouted Fry.

He took a similar stance on the live stream the night before when Fry, who seemed to be the most unhinged of the group, shouted at the authorities multiple times, asking them to kill him: "I'm done talking, I'm done praying, that's it," he screamed.

Hours later, he finally left the reserve.

Click through images form the Oregon wildlife refuge protest:

19 PHOTOS
Ranching dispute in Oregon; protesters take over National Wildlife Refuge
See Gallery
The Oregon militia standoff is finally over
KANAB, UT - FEBRUARY 5: A man holds a flag as two armed private security guards look on outside a Mormon church for the funeral of rancher Robert 'LaVoy' Finicum on February 5, 2016 in Kanab, Utah. Finicum who was part of the Burns, Oregon standoff with federal officials was shot and killed by FBI agents when they tried to detain him at a traffic stop on February 27, 2016. ( Photo by George Frey/Getty Images
Law enforcement personnel monitor an intersection of closed Highway 395 in Burns, Oregon on January 26, 2016, during a standoff pitting an anti-government militia against the US authorities. One person died in an armed clash with police as they arrested the leaders of a group laying siege to an American wildlife refuge, the FBI said January 26. AFP PHOTO / ROB KERR / AFP / ROB KERR (Photo credit should read ROB KERR/AFP/Getty Images)
Duane Ehmer rides his horse Hellboy at the occupied Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on the sixth day of the occupation of the federal building in Burns, Oregon on January 7, 2016. The leader of a small group of armed activists who have occupied a remote wildlife refuge in Oregon hinted on Wednesday that the standoff may be nearing its end. AFP PHOTO / ROB KERR / AFP / ROB KERR (Photo credit should read ROB KERR/AFP/Getty Images)
Duane Ehmer rides his horse Hellboy at the occupied Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on the sixth day of the occupation of the federal building in Burns, Oregon on January 7, 2016. The leader of a small group of armed activists who have occupied a remote wildlife refuge in Oregon hinted on Wednesday that the standoff may be nearing its end. AFP PHOTO / ROB KERR / AFP / ROB KERR (Photo credit should read ROB KERR/AFP/Getty Images)
BURNS, OR - JANUARY 07: A member of an anti-government militia stands next to a campfire outside of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters on January 7, 2016 near Burns, Oregon. An armed anti-government militia group continues to occupy the Malheur National Wildlife Headquarters as they protest the jailing of two ranchers for arson. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
BURNS, OR - JANUARY 07: A man wearing a patriotic jacket rides his horse on the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on January 7, 2016 near Burns, Oregon. An armed anti-government militia group continues to occupy the Malheur National Wildlife Headquarters as they protest the jailing of two ranchers for arson. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Members of an armed anti-government militia, monitor the entrance to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters near Burns, Oregon January 5, 2016. The occupation of a wildlife refuge by armed protesters in Oregon reflects a decades-old dispute over land rights in the United States, where local communities have increasingly sought to take back federal land. While the standoff in rural Oregon was prompted by the jailing of two ranchers convicted of arson, experts say the issue at the core of the dispute runs much deeper and concerns grazing or timber rights as well as permits to work mines on government land in Western states. AFP PHOTO / ROB KERR / AFP / ROB KERR (Photo credit should read ROB KERR/AFP/Getty Images)
BURNS, OR - JANUARY 05: Members of an anti-government militia stand outside of a building at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters on January 5, 2016 near Burns, Oregon. An armed anti-government militia group continues to occupy the Malheur National Wildlife Headquarters as they protest the jailing of two ranchers for arson. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Ammon Bundy(2nd-L), leader of an armed anti-government militia, returns to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters near Burns, Oregon January 5, 2016 following a news conference. The occupation of a wildlife refuge by armed protesters in Oregon reflects a decades-old dispute over land rights in the United States, where local communities have increasingly sought to take back federal land. While the standoff in rural Oregon was prompted by the jailing of two ranchers convicted of arson, experts say the issue at the core of the dispute runs much deeper and concerns grazing or timber rights as well as permits to work mines on government land in Western states. AFP PHOTO / ROB KERR / AFP / ROB KERR (Photo credit should read ROB KERR/AFP/Getty Images)
BURNS, OR - JANUARY 05: Ammon Bundy, the leader of an anti-government militia, speaks to members of the media in front of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters on January 5, 2016 near Burns, Oregon. An armed anti-government militia group continues to occupy the Malheur National Wildlife Headquarters as they protest the jailing of two ranchers for arson. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
BURNS, OR - JANUARY 05: A view of the visitor center at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters on January 5, 2016 near Burns, Oregon. An armed anti-government militia group continues to occupy the Malheur National Wildlife Headquarters as they protest the jailing of two ranchers for arson. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
BURNS, OR - JANUARY 05: A member of an anti-government militia stands outside of a building at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters on January 5, 2016 near Burns, Oregon. An armed anti-government militia group continues to occupy the Malheur National Wildlife Headquarters as they protest the jailing of two ranchers for arson. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Ammon Bundy, the leader of armed protesters who have taken over a federal building in rural Oregon, told TODAY Monday that the group has no intention of committing violence unless the government intervenes.

Photo courtesy: NBC News

Members of a small militia at the entrance to the Malheur Wildlife Refuge Headquarters property some 30 miles from Burns, Oregon, January 3, 2016. The armed anti-government group have taken over a building at the federal wildlife refuge, accusing officials of unfairly punishing ranchers who refused to sell their land. The standoff has prompted some schools to call off classes for the entire week. AFP PHOTO / ROB KERR / AFP / ROB KERR (Photo credit should read ROB KERR/AFP/Getty Images)
Deserted N. Broadway Avenue in Burns, Oregon is seen January 3, 2016, where 30 miles away a militia group has occupied the Malheur Wildlife Headquarters complex. Anti-government militiamen from several US states continued to occupy the federal wildlife facility in Oregon, saying their protest against the jailing of two ranchers could last years, media reported. AFP PHOTO / ROB KERR / AFP / ROB KERR (Photo credit should read ROB KERR/AFP/Getty Images)
A vehicle occupied by members of a small militia group enter the Malheur Wildlife Refuge Headquarters property some 30 miles from Burns, Oregon, January 3, 2016. The armed anti-government group have taken over a building at the federal wildlife refuge, accusing officials of unfairly punishing ranchers who refused to sell their land. The standoff has prompted some schools to call off classes for the entire week. AFP PHOTO / ROB KERR / AFP / ROB KERR (Photo credit should read ROB KERR/AFP/Getty Images)
Media gather outside the entrance of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge Headquarters near Burns, Oregon, January 3, 2016, where an armed anti-government group have taken over a building at the federal wildlife refuge, accusing officials of unfairly punishing ranchers who refused to sell their land. The standoff has prompted some schools to call off classes for the entire week. AFP PHOTO / ROB KERR / AFP / ROB KERR (Photo credit should read ROB KERR/AFP/Getty Images)
Patric Batie, 14, walks along a road in Burns, Oregon, January 3, 2016, some 30 miles from the Malheur National Wildlife Headquarters where a group of armed anti-government protesters have taken over a building at the federal wildlife refuge, accusing officials of unfairly punishing ranchers who refused to sell their land. The standoff has prompted some school to call off classes for the entire week. AFP PHOTO / ROB KERR / AFP / ROB KERR (Photo credit should read ROB KERR/AFP/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Dozens of news outlets lined the highway near the entrance to the park in anticipation of the final handover.

According to an FBI statement, agents closed in on the remaining occupiers after one of them rode an ATV near the boundary of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge around 4:30 p.m. As officials approached the occupier, they sped back to the refuge.

"It has never been the FBI's desire to engage these armed occupiers in any way other than through dialogue, and to that end, the FBI has negotiated with patience and restraint in an effort to resolve the situation peacefully. However, we reached a point where it became necessary to take action in a way that best ensured the safety of those on the refuge, the law enforcement officers who are on scene, and the people of Harney County who live and work in this area," said Greg Bretzing, special agent in charge of the FBI in Oregon.

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners