The man injured during a shootout with law enforcement officers over the weekend near Ferdinand was identified Monday as Sean L. Anderson, 52, of Riggins, a participant in the 41-day armed occupation in early 2016 at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Burns, Ore.
Anderson, according to an Idaho State Police news release, allegedly led deputies from three agencies on a pursuit from U.S. Highway 12 near Kamiah to Ferdinand early Saturday, and was hospitalized following the shootout. The hospital where Anderson was taken and the nature of his injuries could not be verified Monday.
Idaho County Sheriff Doug Giddings confirmed Anderson was one of the last four holdouts during a protest at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, along with Ammon Bundy of Emmett, Idaho. Anderson and his wife, Susan, were radicalized by the occupiers at the refuge but otherwise were good citizens, Giddings said at the time, and he spoke on Anderson’s behalf during a later federal court hearing. Sean Anderson pleaded guilty to trespass and was sentenced to a year of probation and fined $1,000 in restitution to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
According to a state police news release Saturday, a Lewis County deputy attempted a traffic stop on U.S. Highway 12 for an apparent equipment violation. The driver initially stopped for the deputy but then drove off. Two Lewis County deputies, along with an Idaho County deputy and an officer with the Nez Perce Tribal Police joined the pursuit that ended when the driver stopped in a residential area of Ferdinand and shots were fired.
The driver was injured but none of the officers were hurt, according to the news release.
The agencies involved requested a critical incident investigation that is being led by detectives with the Idaho State Police and the FBI. Captain Rich Adamson with the state police in Lewiston said Monday no further information could be released at this time.
Lewis County Sheriff Jason Davis said his office wants to ensure the integrity and impartiality of the critical incident task force and declined to comment further.
Giddings also declined to name the officers involved but said, according to protocol, his deputy was placed on paid administrative leave until the investigation is complete. He said it is typical in such situations that officers involved in a shooting immediately turn over their weapons, body cameras, clothing and any other possible evidence to the investigating team. The agencies involved do not comment on any phase of the investigation, he added, referring all questions to the state police.
In February of 2016, Sean and Susan Anderson joined the Malheur occupiers who were protesting what they said they believed was the federal government taking over private land in the area. After one of the occupiers, Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, was shot to death by the FBI, the Andersons said they feared they, too, might be gunned down and refused to leave.
On one video posted online during the Malheur standoff, a man identified as Sean Anderson yells: “American people better wake up and get here and fight for your country right now. It is on. If they stop you from getting here, kill them.”
Later, during a federal court hearing releasing him from jail, Anderson apologized for the statements and said he was embarrassed about them.
Giddings was criticized for saying the Andersons were good citizens in Riggins and not radical militia members before they went to Oregon. The sheriff maintained the Andersons went to the Oregon refuge only to lend their support to the occupiers.
Hedberg may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or (208) 983-2326.