LaVoy Finicum walked toward police yelling “just shoot me” in the seconds before Oregon State Troopers fired rounds that killed the Oregon Occupation leader, a fellow protester now claims.
Finicum served as the de facto spokesman for the armed group occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in a protest against the federal government. As state and federal authorities moved in last week to arrest two cars filled with protesters who were heading for a town meeting, Finicum sped away in his white truck and tried to evade a police roadblock.
After his car became stuck in heavy snow, LaVoy Finicum exited and appeared to reach into his jacket, where police said he had a handgun. Finicum was shot and killed.
Now Shawna Cox, who was arrested with four other occupiers and was in the car when Finicum died, has shared new details via an interview with Rick Koerber (which he recounted during a broadcast on Periscope).
Oregon Live had the details:
Cox said Finicum, 54, charged towards the roadblock and hit the brakes.
“We kind of slid through the snow,” she said. “Then bullets started flying.”
Finicum jumped out but Cox didn’t see what happened because she was on the floor. She said she thought he was wearing a bulletproof vest.
“He was yelling, ‘Just shoot me, just shoot me, just shoot me,’ That’s all he said. And then they did,”
Cox also claimed that police fired “hundreds of bullets” and intended to kill others in the car.
“They open fire and keep blowing holes in it,” she said. “It was evidence that they had every intention of killing us. They didn’t want us to live.”
“It was like riddling a tin can,” she said. “And the lasers were everywhere.”
The FBI disputes this account, saying only three shots were fired. Last week the FBI released overhead video of the incident, which showed LaVoy Finicum moving toward police officers and at least two times reaching for his gun.
“Finicum leaves the truck and steps through the snow,” FBI agent Greg Bretzing said in a statement. “Agents and troopers on scene had information that Finicum and others would be armed. On at least two occasions, Finicum reaches his right hand toward a pocket on the left inside portion of his jacket. He did have a loaded 9 mm semi-automatic handgun in that pocket. At this time, OSP troopers shot Finicum.”
— KATU News (@KATUNews) January 27, 2016
Cox may have other reasons for speaking out on the killing of LaVoy Finicum. She has remained true to the cause of the occupiers, who believe the federal government is illegally holding federal land they occupiers believe belongs to ranchers.
“We can’t let this die,” she said. “We still have to stand on the Constitution.”
— The Oregonian (@Oregonian) February 1, 2016
LaVoy Finicum was one of the most vocal members of the protest, uploading videos to YouTube listing the demands of protesters as well as more mundane videos showing the day-to-day life inside the occupation. He also frequently gave interviews to reporters, giving ominous predictions that he did not plan to go peacefully when authorities finally moved to end the occupation.
“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.”
Video of the killing of LaVoy Finicum can be seen here, but be warned that it contains graphic images.
[Image via YouTube]