Following several weeks of silence from federal officials in the wake of the April 12 showdown between federal agents and several hundred heavily armed antigovernment “Patriots” near Cliven Bundy’s Nevada ranch, Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie confirmed Thursday that FBI agents are investigating the behavior of participants that day who aimed their loaded weapons at law enforcement officers.
Such behavior constitutes assault against an officer and a is federal crime that can carry a sentence of up to 20 years in prison when a deadly weapon is involved. FBI agents were also investigating verbal threats that were made that day.
“Everyone anticipated that this would occur,” said Gillespie. “I’ve said all along there has to be accountability for what took place on April 12.”
Assistant Sheriff Jim Lombardo, who oversaw local police operations at the scene of the standoff, earlier vowed to investigate the threats.
"Yes, there will be consequences, definitely. That is unacceptable behavior. If we let it go, it will continue into the future," Lombardo said.
Lombardo told reporters that his officers had collected a great deal of intelligence regarding the actions of individuals that day and would move accordingly.
Gillespie said agents expected to interview every law enforcement officer who was on the scene that day near Bunkerville, including Bureau of Land Management agents and Las Vegas Metro police officers who were brought in to bolster their numbers. He said they were mostly interested in identifying the people who pointed guns at federal agents, and would be poring over photos and video taken during the confrontation to do so.
KLAS-TV also confirmed the FBI investigation.
Bundy supporters have been adamant they did not point weapons at officers at the standoff – rather, that it was the other way around. But the officers who were on the other side say that’s not the case.
"It is not a rumor,” Metro Police Sgt. Tom Jenkins told KLAS. “When we first got out there and made a left to divide I-15, that is all you saw. You saw kids and women and horses in the backdrop and then men with guns, laying on the ground, in the back of pickup trucks. We're going, 'Wow, this would never happen in Las Vegas.' But it was there. That is not a rumor. It is reality and I saw it with my own eyes."