New details were released today about the ongoing investigation of last month's killing of Robert "LaVoy" Finicum during the occupation of an Oregon wildlife refuge.
During a planned arrest of Finicum and other occupier leadership by Oregon State Police and the FBI on a remote highway, Finicum fled authorities before coming upon a roadblock further down the road. Finicum swerved away from the roadblock, getting his truck stuck in deep snow, before exiting the vehicle and being shot to death by state troopers. There have been numerous conflicting reports from authorities and witnesses about what exactly happened during the shooting, which has led many to believe that Finicum was murdered in cold blood by law enforcement.
According to The Oregonian, investigators have released a bigger picture of what they've concluded went down that day.
THE FIRST SHOTS FIRED
As Finicum raced towards the roadblock, made up of one Oregon State Police vehicle and two FBI vehicles, a trooper behind the trucks believed that Finicum was intending to ram the roadblock, injuring or killing the him and others. The trooper fired three times, hitting the front of the Finicum's truck but not anyone inside. Those shots have been deemed justified by a prosecutor.
An FBI agent who was behind the OSP truck believed that Finicum was heading straight for him and ran for his life, but as Finicum swerved off the road to avoid hitting the truck, the agent incidentally ran directly into his path. That's when the agent dropped into the snow, bracing for impact, and was narrowly missed.
THE LAST LETHAL SHOTS FIRED
Finicum immediately exited the truck with his hands raised at shoulder height. He repeatedly told officers to go ahead and shoot him as he stumbled through the deep snow. He moved his arms around a lot as he walked, and it's unclear if he was simply gesturing or keeping his balance or rather reaching for the 9mm Ruger pistol inside his open jacket. The troopers closest to him were convinced he was trying to draw his gun, and they fired, hitting him three times and killing him. That shooting was deemed by the prosecutor as justified as well.
NON-LETHAL SHOTS FIRED
A number of other non-lethal rounds were shot at Finicum's truck, which led the three people inside to believe officers were trying to kill them.
POSSIBLE MISCONDUCT INVESTIGATION
But what is still under investigation are two shots that were fired by an FBI agent between those two rounds of Oregon state trooper gunfire. According to The Oregonian, investigators revealed today that an FBI agent who may have fired twice as well is suspected of lying about it, and four other agents may have helped cover that up. All five are under criminal investigation.
Neither of those shots hit Finicum, but they may have been fired at him while he was exiting the truck with his hands up in an apparent act of surrender.
Many people, including Finicum's family, believe none of the shots were justified.