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Social media postings key to case against Oregon group

Last Updated Jan 29, 2016 10:30 PM EST

BURNS, Ore. -- Ammon Bundy and his armed followers made ample use of social media while occupying an Oregon wildlife refuge, and federal officials are using those posts, videos and photos to build the case against them.

Two criminal complaints show that federal authorities have carefully scrutinized the group's social media postings and video interviews.

A day after the Jan. 2 occupation began, Bundy posted a video saying the group planned to stay for several years and calling on "people to come out here and stand" and "we need you to bring your arms."

Another defendant, Jon Ritzheimer, posted a video Jan. 4 saying he was "100 percent willing to lay my life down."

Bundy and several other jailed leaders appeared Friday in federal court in Portland, where a judge denied their release. U.S. Magistrate Judge Stacie Beckerman said Bundy, his brother Ryan Bundy and Ryan Payne pose a danger to the community and she is concerned they would not follow orders to return to Oregon for criminal proceedings.

A total of 11 people have been charged. Authorities fatally shot another during a traffic stop.

Four holdouts are still occupying Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

FBI spokeswoman Beth Anne Steele said "nothing at all" happened overnight at the refuge, and she wouldn't discuss any strategic decisions planned for Friday.

The holdouts have been frequently posting to the YouTube channel "DefendYourBase" during the nearly four-week-old standoff but have not issued a video update since Thursday morning.

The three men and one woman have refused to leave without assurances they won't be arrested.

The group came to Oregon to protest federal land restrictions and the prison sentences of two local ranchers convicted of setting fires.

Video of the fatal police shooting appears to show the man reaching into his jacket before he fell into the snow on a remote Oregon high-country road Tuesday. The FBI said the man had a loaded gun in his pocket.

It's extremely rare for the FBI to release this kind of video just 48 hours after a shooting, CBS News correspondent Carter Evans reports. However, the bureau is trying to dispel rumors that Robert "LaVoy" Finicum was on his knees when he was shot.

The occupation by ranchers and others began on Jan. 2, and at one point there were a couple of dozen people holed up, demanding that the federal government turn public lands over to local control. But the compound has been emptying out since the arrest of Bundy and 10 others over recent days and with the death of Finicum.

A federal judge said Thursday she will not release any of those arrested while the occupation continues, the Oregonian reported. The judge's comments came shortly after Bundy, through his attorney, repeated his call for the holdouts to leave peacefully.

The aerial video shows Bundy's vehicle stopped by police. He and an occupier riding with him - Brian Cavalier - were arrested. A white truck driven by Finicum was stopped but took off, with officers in pursuit. The video shows Finicum's vehicle plowing into a snowbank when encountering a roadblock.

A man identified as Finicum gets out of the truck. At first, he has his hands up, but then he appears to reach into his pocket at least twice.

"He did have a loaded 9mm semi-automatic handgun in the pocket," said Greg Bretzing, special agent in charge for the FBI in Portland.

Bretzing also said Finicum's truck nearly hit an FBI agent before it got stuck in the snow.

"Actions have consequences," Bretzing said. "The FBI and (Oregon State Police) tried to effect these arrests peacefully."

The FBI posted the video to its YouTube channel.

With Finicum lying in the snow, the video shows the arrest of two other occupiers as they got out of the stuck truck: Ryan Bundy, who is Ammon's brother, and Shawna Cox. Bretzing said another woman was in the truck but was not arrested. He did not identify her.

Bretzing said agents and troopers provided medical assistance to Finicum after they were confident they had addressed any further threats. He said that happened about 10 minutes after the shooting.

Two loaded .223 caliber semi-automatic rifles and a loaded revolver were found in the truck, Bretzing said.

Bundy and his followers were on their way to a meeting in the community of John Day when they encountered the FBI-led operation to apprehend them. The FBI acted amid growing calls that something be done to end the occupation, including from Oregon's governor.

Oregon Public Broadcasting on Thursday spoke with the holdouts and identified them as David Fry, who is from Ohio, husband and wife Sean and Sandy Anderson of Idaho, and Jeff Banta of Nevada.

All 11 people under arrest have been charged with a felony count of conspiring to impede federal officers from carrying out their duties through force or intimidation. Three of the 11 were arrested Wednesday night when they left the refuge. The charges say the refuge's 16 employees have been prevented from reporting to work because of threats of violence.

The Bundys are sons of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who was involved in a tense 2014 standoff with the government over grazing rights.