Witness: ‘Lot of shooting’ during militia arrest

8 members of the militia were arrested on Jan. 27, 2016

The FBI and OSP engaged in a shootout with Malheur militia members along Hwy 395 north of Burns, Jan. 26, 2016 (Courtesy to KOIN: Raymond Doherty)
The FBI and OSP engaged in a shootout with Malheur militia members along Hwy 395 north of Burns, Jan. 26, 2016 (Courtesy to KOIN: Raymond Doherty)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A Pilot Rock resident on his way to California was a witness to the shootout on Highway 395 between the FBI, Oregon State Police and members of the Malheur militia, he told KOIN 6 News.

Raymond Doherty said when he first arrived at the scene north of Burns around 4:40 p.m. “there was a shootout going on. So we kind of watched it, videoed it.”

He said he got out of his pickup and saw “a lot of smoke coming off of the Bundy vehicle and the FBI was hollering at them.”

“There was a shootout going on. So we kind of watched it, videoed it.”

He said he saw 3 protesters and as many as 15 people with the FBI and OSP.

Shots were fired, dogs began barking and “after a very short time they returned fire.”

The FBI and OSP engaged in a shootout with Malheur militia members along Hwy 395 north of Burns, Jan. 26, 2016 (Courtesy to KOIN: Raymond Doherty)
The FBI and OSP engaged in a shootout with Malheur militia members along Hwy 395 north of Burns, Jan. 26, 2016 (Courtesy to KOIN: Raymond Doherty)

Though there was “a lot of shooting going on,” Doherty said he didn’t see anybody get shot.

“I saw them shooting at each other.”

The shooting happened in a very short time — “maybe 12 to 15 seconds” — but there were possibly 6 shots. “I really couldn’t tell who was shooting, doing most of the shooting. I did see some shots hit the pickup,” Doherty told KOIN 6 News.

Three people surrendered, he said, coming out one at a time with their hands up.

Doherty said he wasn’t worried about his safety, as he was “back about 200 feet.” And, he said, he was not the only witness.

Neither the FBI nor OSP officials have returned calls for comment from KOIN 6 News.

Arizona rancher LaVoy Finicum carries his rifle after standing guard all night at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016, near Burns, Ore. With the takeover entering its fourth day Wednesday, authorities had not removed the group of roughly 20 people from the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon's high desert country. But members of the group, some from as far away as Arizona and Michigan, were growing increasingly tense, saying they feared a federal raid. (AP photo/Rick Bowmer)
Arizona rancher LaVoy Finicum carries his rifle after standing guard all night at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016, near Burns, Ore.  (AP photo/Rick Bowmer)

The Associated Press reports some witnesses say a man killed by police had charged at authorities during the arrests of armed activists occupying an Oregon wildlife refuge and others say he complied with orders.

The daughter of Robert “LaVoy” Finicum told the Oregonian the Arizona rancher was killed in the gunfight.

Police have not detailed what led to the shooting or if Finicum or any of the other ranchers exchanged gunfire with officers.

Mark McConnell said he drove one of the vehicles stopped by authorities and that Finicum was in another and “charged” at officers.

McConnell said in a video posted to Facebook that the rancher took off and authorities pursued.

He says he didn’t see the shooting, but others in the group said he charged after law enforcement.

A message was left Wednesday at a phone number believed to belong to McConnell.

Briana Bundy, group leader Ammon Bundy’s sister-in-law, said Finicum and others “did everything they asked, and they murdered him.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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