Ammon Bundy, the leader of an armed group occupying a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon to protest federal land-management policies, was arrested along with six followers on Tuesday following a violent confrontation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation that left another member of the group dead, authorities said.
The FBI and the Oregon State Police said five members of the occupation group were initially arrested around 4:30 p.m. local time, including Mr. Bundy, 40 years old, and his brother, Ryan Bundy, 43.
A sixth suspect was arrested by Oregon State Police about an hour later in Burns, Ore. Later Tuesday, the FBI announced it had arrested a seventh member of the group, who was apprehended in Burns without incident.
Harney County Judge Steve Grasty said law-enforcement officers stopped a vehicle containing Mr. Bundy about 70 miles north of Burns. Mr. Bundy had led the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, which started on Jan. 2 and had entered its fourth week.
Law-enforcement officials familiar with the matter said the incident took place as Mr. Bundy and a handful of other leaders were driving to a public event nearby. Agents with the FBI stopped the vehicle, at which point one of the individuals in the vehicle pulled out a weapon, the people familiar with the incident said.
At that point, FBI agents fired. The individual who was brandishing the weapon suffered fatal injuries, officials said.
The man killed was identified by supporters of Mr. Bundy on a Facebook page they maintained as LaVoy Finicum, a rancher who had acted a spokesman for the armed occupation group. A law-enforcement official also identified the man killed as Mr. Finicum.
Another suspect suffered non-life-threatening injuries, these people said. No FBI agents were injured, according to these people.
The seven suspects were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to impede officers of the U.S. from discharging their official duties through the use of force, intimidation or threats—a felony.
Mr. Bundy is the son of Cliven Bundy, a Nevada rancher who was involved in a similar armed standoff with federal officials in 2014 over grazing fees. That confrontation ended peacefully.
Local media reports in Oregon said Mr. Bundy was traveling to a community meeting at the John Day Senior Center in neighboring Grant County, where he had been invited to speak, when the arrest and confrontation took place.
A reporter for the East Oregonian newspaper reported that the meeting devolved into a shouting match between supporters and detractors of Mr. Bundy when those inside learned of his arrest.
Unlike his law enforcement counterparts at the site of the occupation, Grant County Sheriff Glenn Palmer had been supportive of Mr. Bundy, and had issued a statement supporting Mr. Bundy’s call to release Harney County rancher Dwight Hammond and his son Steven, whose imprisonment on federal arson charges helped attract out-of-town protesters such as Mr. Bundy and trigger the standoff at the refuge.
On a Facebook page the group has been using to post updates on its occupation, a message was posted at 6:40 p.m. saying that the wildlife refuge, which protesters had renamed the Harney County Resource Center, was “at a heightened state of alert.”
“We have been informed that Ammon was taken into custody in John Day and that shots were fired, but confirmation of these details is still lacking,” a supporter wrote. “We humbly seek the protection of God and ask for your prayers.”
Supporters later wrote: “The resolve for principled liberty must go on. It appears that America was fired upon by our government. One of America’s finest patriots is fallen. We will not go silent into eternity. Our appeal is to heaven.”
On the Bundy Ranch Facebook page Tuesday evening, supporters of Ammon Bundy reacted angrily to the news, with some vowing to go join the fight in Oregon.
State and local officials had grown increasingly frustrated in recent days with what appeared to be a strategy by federal law-enforcement officials not to confront the armed group.
Federal authorities generally have been reluctant to engage with armed protesters like the Oregon group, mindful of past violent outcomes like those at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, in 1992 and Waco, Texas, in 1993.
But in recent days, Oregon authorities had arrested or sought some of Mr. Bundy’s supporters on charges including felony possession of a firearm and driving federal vehicles stolen from the refuge. Many of the protesters openly carried firearms when they made trips into nearby Burns, including at a community meeting Jan. 20 in the local high school where Mr. Bundy and his entourage were greeted by boos.
Last week, Mr. Bundy spoke by phone with an FBI negotiator, giving hope that the standoff could end peacefully. But those hopes were dimmed on Friday when Mr. Finicum said in a Facebook video statement the group has no intention of leaving yet.
“All of those of you who are worried that we are about to negotiate a withdrawal with the FBI, that is not the case,’’ said Mr. Finicum, repeating demands the wildlife facility be taken out of federal control and handed over to Harney County.
Mr. Grasty said Tuesday evening that he was saddened by the way Mr. Bundy’s arrest ended with gunfire.
“It hits me in the pit of my stomach” said Mr. Grasty, who has criticized federal officials for not arresting Mr. Bundy and his supporters during the many times they have left the national wildlife refuge in to get supplies and run other errands over the last several weeks.
Mr. Grasty said he hopes that the arrest of Mr. Bundy, who has served as the leader of the militia, will result in the other supporters choosing to go home now. “Let’s hope we can move on,” Mr. Grasty said.