Lavoy Finicum was shot and killed after a highway stop with the FBI and Oregon police late Tuesday evening. Finicum was the spokesman for the Citizens for Constitutional Freedom group that was occupying the Malheur Wildlife Center in Burns. Ryan Bundy was injured during the police shootout, a total of eight “Oregon Militia” members were arrested during and after the roadside incident. Ammon Bundy, Ryan’s brother, was among those handcuffed and taken into custody.
A recording shared on the Bundy Ranch Facebook page claims to be relaying statements from witnesses to the shooting. The audio recording maintains that Ammon Bundy still had his cell phone when place in the back of a cruiser and was able to call his wife Lisa and give details of the shooting scene. According to the relayed message from Ammon Bundy, Finicum was unarmed and surrendering when he was “cold blooded murdered.”
An investigation into the “enforcement action” is currently underway. The Oregon State Police have only stated publicly that the Lavoy Finicum death and Ryan Bundy injuring were the result of an “officer-involved shooting,” NBC reports.
Witnesses of LaVoy’s MURDER!!!!!! https://t.co/610su5dDl8
— Bundy Ranch (@BundyRanch) January 27, 2016
Cliven Bundy, the father of both Ryan Bundy and Ammon Bundy, released a statement on Wednesday morning claiming that Finicum was murdered in “cold blood” by law enforcement agents. According to the Nevada rancher who garnered nationwide headlines when taking on the BLM over grazing rights, Lavoy exited the vehicle with his hands up in a surrender position.
Lavoy Finicum, 54, was a Mormon rancher from Arizona. He was a father of 11, grandpa to 19, and was married to his wife for 23 years. The details surrounding the fatal shooting along Highway 395 near Burns, Oregon, remain slight. Ryan Bundy took a round to the arm and was treated and released from the hospital. Finicum, who previously stated he would prefer death to being arrested and locked up behind bars, was on his way to a community meeting with area residents about an hour from the Malheur wildlife refuge when he was mortally wounded.
LaVoy Finicum, reportedly killed in Oregon standoff, said he was willing to die for cause. https://t.co/8WbMcCVCok pic.twitter.com/hCaJrngHwh
— FOX 12 Oregon KPTV (@fox12oregon) January 27, 2016
When the media deemed “Oregon Militia” took control over the Malheur wildlife center, Finicum reportedly opted to keep guard and slept outside in the cold January air in his sleeping bag with a rifle. During an interview with MSNBC from his little outpost at the refuge, Lavoy said he was “prepared to defend freedom.”
Finch Finicum, one of Lavoy’s daughters, told the media that her father and the other Citizens for Constitutional Freedom members were committed to not firing upon FBI agents.
“We all thought it would end but not like this. My dad did stress that they wouldn’t pull a gun on them unless they pulled a gun,” she added.
Lavoy Finicum Gives Oregon Standoff Update On January 22 — Video
The day before being fatally shot along the highway, Lavoy Finicum granted an interview with the Oregonian. He maintained that the tone of the FBI had changed when the two groups held discussion. According to Finicum, the federal agents had become more “hardened.”
“They’re doing all the things that show they want to take some kinetic action against us,” Lavoy added. “And we’re saying, ‘Why be so unfriendly?’ “
Oregon Governor Kate Brown is urging patience as law enforcement officials work toward a “swift and peaceful resolution” to the standoff in Burns.
LaVoy Finicum, the man (with his family) killed by the Feds at bogus traffic stop…. pic.twitter.com/7TyYvZ0S4z
— ~ Billy Black ~ (@BillyBlac) January 27, 2016
— Gordon Friedman (@gordonrfriedman) January 27, 2016
Concerns that the Citizens for Constitutional Freedom standoff would lead to another Waco or Ruby Ridge may have been the primary reason that federal agents did not storm the refuge during the 3-week occupation. At least for now, the occupiers are still standing their ground in Burns and have not been met with an armed response by law enforcement on the grounds.
What do you think about the Oregon militia arrests and the death of Lavoy Finicum?
[Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]