LaVoy Finicum was killed in a confrontation with police on Tuesday night, and the Oregon Occupation leader may have actually predicted his own death in the days leading up to the incident.
Finicum, whose real name was Robert, served as the public face of the armed group occupying a federal wildlife refuge in eastern Oregon. The Arizona rancher often spoke to reporters and posted regular updates on YouTube showing life within the occupation.
The man famous for his cowboy hat and giving interviews underneath a tarp also made ominous threats about how the occupation would end.
“I’m not going to end up in prison,” he said, via the New York Times. “I would rather die than be caged. And I’ve lived a good life.”
— The New York Times (@nytimes) January 27, 2016
Finicum was killed when police stopped two carloads of the occupiers, who were headed to a public meeting. Those arrested include Ammon Bundy, who has served as leader of the occupation.
Finicum was close to the Bundy family before coming to Oregon, and was connected to their anti-government stand in Nevada. LaVoy often appeared alongside Ammon Bundy during press conferences.
After Finicum’s death, family members remembered his occupation with mixed emotions.
“He is very, very passionate about freedom, and this is a fight that he’s been fighting for quite some time,” Robert Finicum said of his father. “I mean from my point of view — it’s hard. I can agree with so much of his cause, and, sure, I wish that it had happened a little bit differently. I wish that they wouldn’t have occupied that building. Even though there was nobody there. Because I imagine he would still be with us had that not happened.”
LaVoy Finicum was killed after charging at police, a witness later claimed. Mark McConnell, who said he was driving one of the two cars involved in the highway shooting, posted a video to Facebook claiming that Ammon Bundy was in the car as they drove to nearby John Day for a community meeting. Finicum was driving in a separate pickup truck.
As Oregon Live reported, LaVoy Finicum reportedly made a break for it while authorities were arresting the men.
“McConnell said he noticed movement, and Finicum ‘took off’ in the pickup with the remaining passengers. He said Payne and Cox described encountering a police roadblock about a mile north on the highway and apparently tried to get around it, becoming stuck in the snow.”
“When he exited the vehicle, the rear wheels were still spinning,” McConnell said. “He charged at law enforcement” and was shot.
Earlier reports claimed that LaVoy Finicum had surrendered and had his hands up when he was shot.
UPDATE: Sources say that LaVoy Finicum and Ryan Bundy disobeyed orders to surrender and resisted arrest. https://t.co/FuwpbZ46TZ
— The Oregonian (@Oregonian) January 27, 2016
She said that Finicum “got out of the car and he had his hands in the air and he was like, ‘Just shoot me then, just shoot me.'”
“And they did,” she said. “They shot him dead.”
Finicum was under other pressure, including at his home in Nevada. He had told reporters that child protective services took away the children he and his wife fosters, which he said was likely an attempt to pressure him and the other occupiers out of the federal reserve.
A small group still remained at the building even after the arrests and the killing of Finicum, and authorities said they were attempting to negotiate with them to leave.
Police have yet to release an official account of the killing of LaVoy Finicum.
[Image via YouTube]