FBI investigating Bundy Ranch supporters in BLM dispute
LAS VEGAS — A dramatic development in the saga surrounding rancher Cliven Bundy, the FBI has entered the case.
The 8 News NOW I-Team has learned that FBI agents have started an investigation into the events surrounding a potentially deadly showdown one month ago.
It is one thing for Cliven Bundy and his supporters to square off against an assortment of Bureau of Land Management employees. It is quite another when the FBI enters the picture, and that is exactly what has happened.
The I-Team has confirmed that FBI agents have launched a formal investigation into alleged death threats, intimidation and possible weapons violations that culminated with a dangerous showdown on April 12, and the first people to be interviewed by FBI agents are Metro Police, starting with Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillispie.
Federal employees suspended their roundup of Cliven Bundy’s cattle, following a confrontation outside the BLM compound near Bunkerville. At the urging of Metro Police, Bundy’s cattle were released, but BLM’s new director announced the matter wasn’t over and would be resolved, one way or another. We now know what that means.
Last week, the I-Team talked with Metro officers who intervened to protect the lives of federal employees from the 400 or so Bundy supporters and armed militia members. Officers told the I-Team they feared for their lives that day because of the assembled firepower, and because many in the crowd had pointed weapons at officers, taunted them, told them they should be ready to die.
Assistant Sheriff Joe Lombardo, who was left in charge of the Metro contingent by Sheriff Doug Gillespie, told the I-Team that such alleged behavior would be the subject of a criminal investigation.
“The federal authorities are conducting an investigation and I am pretty confident it is going to go into the future,” Lombardo said.
“(Would there be consequences for somebody there on video tape, on a news camera pointing a gun at a Metro officer, pointing a gun at a federal ranger?) Yes, there is definitely going to be consequences, definitely. That is unacceptable behavior. If we let it go, it would continue into the future,” Lombardo said.
The I-Team has learned that Lombardo was interviewed by FBI agents earlier this week. The first person to be questioned by the FBI team was Lombardo’s boss, Sheriff Gillespie.
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