SPRINGDALE, Utah, Feb. 11, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — A member of the core militia group that took over the Malheur Wildlife Refuge on Jan. 2 was arrested Thursday in Southern Utah.
Blaine Cooper, 36, of Arizona, was in Springville’s Canyon Ranch Motel with his wife Melissa and their two daughters when he was arrested by the FBI and booked into the Washington County Jail. Like others involved in the occupation, Cooper was charged with conspiracy to impede officers.
Cooper’s wife turned to Facebook to report her husband’s arrest and to seek donations.
According to media reports, Melissa Cooper also had participated in a portion of the 41-day refuge occupation, helping organize supplies and cooking. The Coopers live in Dewey-Humboldt, Arizona, a suburb of Prescott.
In an interview that ran on Intellihub.com, Blaine Cooper said he left the refuge only after the traffic stop operation that resulted in the arrest of multiple militia leaders and the death of Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, who was shot by officers who found his movements threatening.
“I didn’t leave until after LaVoy was killed and murdered,” Cooper said in the article. “We were there at the refuge holding it down while they went into the neighboring county to talk about the Constitution. While we were there at the refuge someone said LaVoy was killed and the others arrested.”
“Once we found it was in fact real, that they killed him, we got everybody together and we were preparing for a defense because we thought they were coming in right then to kill us.”
Cooper reportedly attended Finicum’s funeral in Kanab, Utah, on Feb. 5.
Also arrested on Thursday were the four remaining occupiers left at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge, located in southeast Oregon. For a full report on the three who surrendered without incident and the one needed more convincing, click here.