Controversy rages over whether the killing of Oregon refuge standoff spokesman Robert "LaVoy" Finicum was a justified shooting or a murder by law enforcement. An aerial video released by the FBI of the incident on a rural highway last Tuesday has only intensified the debate. According to authorities, eye-witness accounts, and video footage, Finicum fled authorities after they stopped his truck and another vehicle on their way to a meeting in John Day, Oregon. Further down the road, Finicum encountered a roadblock and drove off the side of the road, getting stuck deeply in the snow. Video footage shows him exiting the vehicle and getting shot to death. At one point he lowered his raised hands. Authorities say he was reaching for a gun tucked in his waistband.
According to The Oregonian, Shawna Cox, one of the five people in the pickup truck, has given her account of what happened.
When Finicum's truck was first stopped, Cox says one of the passengers, Ryan Payne, put his hands out the window and was shot in the wrist. He then exited the vehicle and was arrested. That's when Finicum took off with Cox, Ryan Bundy, and 18-year-old Victoria Sharp inside.
According to Cox, Finicum was shouting, "We're going to see the sheriff, we're going to see the sheriff!"
Upon encountering the roadblock up ahead, Cox says Finicum charged toward it before hitting his brakes and sliding off the road.
She didn't see everything that happened next because she and Sharp were huddled on the floor of the vehicle, but she says she could hear Finicum shouting, "Just shoot me, just shoot me, just shoot me!"
Cox said authorities kept shooting Finicum after he fell, and then turned their guns on the pickup truck, firing hundreds of rounds.
Cox relates, "They open fire and keep blowing holes in it. 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. And the lasers were everywhere."
Authorities say they were using non-lethal rounds and other devices to drive the passengers out of the vehicle before arresting them.
Listen to fellow passenger Victoria Sharp's similar account of what happened (Parental warning: Graphic content of shooting):