Extra Police Presence in Jordan for Waco, Oklahoma City Anniversaries
JORDAN, Mont. (AP) _ Fearful of possible violence on the anniversaries of the Oklahoma City bombing and the fiery end to the siege near Waco, Texas, authorities locked in a standoff with the Freemen brought in more police.
``It’s just a little extra security to make sure nothing happens,″ Garfield County Sheriff Charles Phipps said Thursday.
Some people decided to keep their children home from school today, citing past Freemen threats and fear of the April 19 anniversary, but the schools were quiet this morning. Two sheriff’s deputies patroled the area in a pickup truck, as did two men in another vehicle who appeared to be FBI agents.
School officials declined to say how many of the town’s 229 students were absent.
The extra security in town was prompted by concern that outside supporters of the Freeman _ about 18 of whom remained barricaded at a farm _ would arrive and cause trouble, said Carol Hellyer, a sheriff’s dispatcher.
Authorities would not say how many extra officers brought in; Hellyer said they included sheriff’s deputies from three other counties.
One year ago today, at 10:02 a.m. EDT, a bomb blast ripped apart the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people and injuring more than 500 others. On April 19, 1993, 81 members of the Branch Davidian cult died in the fiery ruins of their compound near Waco, Texas, after federal agents moved to end a 51-day siege.
There was little activity inside the Freemen’s compound Thursday, a day after five Freemen met for almost two hours with two negotiators. The talks, the first since four Montana legislators met with the anti-government Freemen on April 4 and 5, raised hopes that the standoff might be ending.
The FBI has isolated the farm since March 25, when agents captured two Freeman leaders and a follower. About 10 holed-up Freemen face charges ranging from writing bad checks to threatening to kidnap and murder a federal judge.