The Utah Highway Patrol is investigating reports that a federal worker driving a U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) vehicle was threatened with a handgun on Tuesday after anti-government rancher Cliven Bundy was recently accused of inciting militia members.
BLM Fillmore Field Office supervisor Eric Reid informed the The Salt Lake Tribune that a federal wrangler was driving on I-15 on Tuesday when he encountered a dark blue Dodge 1500 extended-cab pickup truck with two men who "told him he was No. 1 with that certain gesture."
Within minutes the truck returned, but this time the men were wearing hoods and holding up a sign that read, "You need to die."
Reid said that the federal worker was not able to record the license plate because it was covered in duct tape.
In an interview with KLAS last week, Clark County Assistant Sheriff Joe Lombardo had accused Bundy of inciting the militia members supporting him to use violence.
Lombardo said that he had gone to the Bundy ranch recently during a standoff after militia members refused to let the BLM remove cattle because the rancher had not paid $1 million in grazing fees for using federal lands. Although the BLM had agreed to suspend the cattle roundup, Lombardo recalled how militia members pointed guns at police officers as Bundy demanded that the sheriff's office disarm the federal agents.
"There was a possibility of somebody just having an accidental discharge causing a blood bath, because the individuals that were showing up, the militia quote unquote, were armed to the teeth," Lombardo pointed out. "Mr. Bundy, in my personal opinion, incited the crowd."
"That bunch, the SS squad or something to do with Hitler, shouldn't have guns there aimed at the people," one Bundy supporter told KLAS.
"At some point, you have to draw a line in the sand. I guess this is it," another militia member said.
On Friday, Cliven Bundy and "two to three-dozen Bundy family members and supporters" filed criminal complaints against the BLM at the Metropolitan Police Department headquarters.
The BLM has responded by warning employees to "be prepared to encounter unfriendlies."
"We never know in life when we will cross paths with these types," the agency told employees in an email after the BLM worker was threatened with a gun earlier this week.
BLM field office supervisor Eric Reid has said that worker had been ordered to remove all agency logos from vehicles as a "precaution."
"It’s one of those things now we’re going to be dealing with," Reid explained. "A lot of [people] have taken that attitude toward the government."