BEND, OR -- Investigators released new information Tuesday, regarding the fatal shooting of LaVoy Finicum, one of the occupiers of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Finicum was shot three times by Oregon State Police during a traffic stop, which led to the arrest of a number of other militia members January 26, outside of Burns.
The Tri-County Major Crimes Team, led by the
Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, released video taken during the incident by Shawna Cox inside Finicum’s truck. Finicum told officers, "I’m going to meet the [Grant County] Sheriff. The Sheriff is waiting for us. So, you do as you damn well please, but I’m not going anywhere. Here I am, right there. Right there, put a bullet through it." He then sped from the scene of the initial stop, topping 70 MPH, before crashing into a 3-foot snow bank at a secondary road block. He then can be heard telling officers multiple times "You'll have to shoot me," before and after exiting the truck.
Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson says Finicum tried to reach for a gun under his coat twice without officers firing their weapons. They repeatedly told him to get on the ground. "In the midst of that command, Mr. Finicum grabs his jacket with his left hand, and again reaches with his right hand into the area of his jacket where his gun was found."
The Malheur County District Attorney reviewed the case and determined the use of deadly force by OSP troopers was justified, based on officers’ belief that Finicum was a threat when he reached toward the inside of his jacket. A number of photos were released Tuesday, showing a gun in his coat pocket.
to access the full video released by investigators, showing Cox's cell phone footage synced with video taken by an FBI aerial unit.
Sheriff Nelson said Tuesday, "You have a heard a statement from Shawna Cox that ‘hundred of bullets’ were fired at the truck, and from Victoria Sharp that ‘as many as a hundred bullets were fired at the truck.’ After Mr. Finicum was shot, numerous gas projectiles and flash bangs were deployed to get the remaining occupants of the truck to surrender peacefully. But again, only eight shots were fired." Investigators say three of those shots were fired by OSP prior to the truck hitting the snowbank, three others were fired by troopers into Finicum's back. A trooper seen in front of Finicum in the FBI aerial footage
was determined to be pointing a tazer at the man.
Officials cited safety concerns stemming from numerous threats from militia supporters, as the reason they haven't released the names of those officers involved. They say some have offered rewards for the death of the officers responsible for his death.
A federal investigation is now underway to determine why two shots fired by FBI Hostage Rescue Team agents were not initially disclosed to Major Crimes Team investigators. One hit the roof of the truck; none hit Finicum.