Sheriff: 'Go home, be with your own families and end this peacefully'

Harney County Sheriff David Ward

Video and text of Harney County Sheriff David Ward's January 4 Press Conference

Good afternoon.

My name is David Ward, and I am the Sheriff of Harney County.

The Hammonds have turned themselves in today at 1:37 p.m., in accordance with the law, and are currently in custody at Federal Correctional Institution in California.

Harney County is a community of approximately 7,000 people; almost 5,000 of us live here in the community of Burns and Hines.

This event has had a significant impact on that community.

Our goal is to work together to restore calm and regular services for the people we serve.

This incident originally started when people from outside the state arrived in an attempt to prevent the Hammonds from returning to prison. This began as a peaceful protest.

It took an unfortunate turn when some of those people broke off and began an armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

The Harney County Commissioners and I have requested law enforcement assistance from Oregon State Sheriff's Association and Oregon State Police.

Sheriff's Offices from around the state have also sent resources to assist us.

We requested this additional support to make sure the citizens of Harney County are safe. This is our top priority.

I want to directly address the people at the wildlife refuge: You said you were here to help the citizens of Harney County. That help ended when a peaceful protest became an armed and unlawful protest.

The Hammonds have turned themselves in. It is time for you to leave our community. Go home, be with your own families and end this peacefully.

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