Wednesday pm update: Alexander Samuel Parker Lowe, 24 years old, of Worcester, Massachusetts (2nd tree sitter) was arrested and charged with Obstruction of Justice and Interfering with the Property Rights of Another. He is being held in the Montgomery County Jail with no bond.
Earlier Wednesday: Crews have successfully extracted the second and last remaining tree sitter. The Virginia State Police extraction team continued work from a crane suspended basket to remove him safely from both the “sleeping dragon” and the tree. He was then lowered to the ground in the basket and checked by medics. He received no injuries during the extraction and will be taken before the magistrate. Arrest information will be provided later this afternoon.
PREVIOUS: Claire Marian Fiocco, 23 years old, from Dorset, Vermont (first tree sitter extracted) was arrested and charged with VA Code 18.2-121 Interfere W/Property Rights of Another. She is currently being held in the Montgomery County Jail without bail. Mug shot is attached.
Crews ceased working at sunset and have secured the worksite. Law enforcement from the Sheriff’s Office, Virginia State Police, and Christiansburg Police Department will continue to be on scene throughout the night in order to maintain the worksite and surrounding areas. Negotiations with the remaining tree sitter will continue in the morning. We appreciate everyone’s patience as we steadily work to bring a safe resolution to a difficult situation.
Crews have successfully extracted the first of the two remaining tree sitters. The Virginia State Police extraction team worked from a crane suspended basket to remove her safely from both the “sleeping dragon” and the tree. She was then lowered to the ground in the basket and checked by medics. She received no injuries during the extraction and will be taken before the magistrate. I will release arrest information once I have it later this evening. Crews will remain on site overnight and continue negotiations with the second and last tree sitter.
PREVIOUS: the removal of the remaining two (2) tree sitters off Yellow Finch Road is currently on schedule. Crews spent the morning providing access for and setting a crane to assist with removal. The crane is now in place; however, negotiations continue with the two sitters in the hopes that they will choose to come down on their own. The area is extremely steep and difficult to access. Crews will continue to work slowly and steadily in order to maintain a safe environment for everyone on scene.
Though the work site has been closed for safety purposes, we have been able to arrange for site visits by both Montgomery County Board of Supervisor member Sara Bohn and Commonwealth’s Attorney Mary Pettit. Supervisor Bohn has acted as liaison for local protesters and Commonwealth Attorney Pettit has been consulted regularly for legal guidance since the court order was issued. Legal observers for the protesters have also been provided access to observe the work from a safe zone. Work will continue into the evening, more updates will be sent as information is made available.
Click here to see a video posted from the scene by one of the tree sitters.
PREVIOUS: Staging is completed and negotiations with the remaining sitters have begun. Between 7:00 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. deputies went door to door to roughly 80 residences in the Cove Hollow Community to pass out [information flyers] to make them aware.
PREVIOUS: This morning, pursuant to the Montgomery County Circuit Court injunction dated November 12, 2020, deputies from our office with the assistance of the Virginia State Police Device Extraction Team and officers from Christiansburg Police Department began the process of accessing, staging, and then safely extracting tree sitters from tree platforms off of Yellow Finch Lane in Montgomery County. This is a multi-day operation.
This action follows months of planning and coordination in order to provide the safest operation for everyone involved. It is our hopes that the remaining tree sitters will vacate the area on their own; however, we are prepared to extract them safely if necessary. Specific tactics being utilized are not being released for safety/security purposes. Access to Cove Hollow Road will be restricted to ONLY residents of the area beginning at 7:00 a.m. on 03/23/2021 until the conclusion of the operation. Citizens living on Cove Hollow Road will notice an increased law enforcement presence for the duration of this operation.
Due to the potential length of the operation and to ensure consistent information sharing to all media sources, updates regarding the progress of the removal will be sent via e-mail to our media press release listserv. We will also use this listserv to notify and update everyone once the operation concludes. All law enforcement on site have specific assignments and are not available for interview.