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OSP Officer Regretted Grabbing Taser During Finicum Shooting


Law enforcement officials were able to sync aerial FBI footage with footage recorded from inside LaVoy Finicum's SUV to piece together a timeline of events in the Jan. 26 fatal shooting.

Law enforcement officials were able to sync aerial FBI footage with footage recorded from inside LaVoy Finicum's SUV to piece together a timeline of events in the Jan. 26 fatal shooting.

Courtesy Central Oregon Major Incident Team

Investigators released new documents Monday related to the shooting death of Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, a spokesman for the group that occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Included in a release of new documents Monday is an interview with the Oregon State Police officer who tried to use a Taser on Finicum. 

During the Jan. 26 confrontation on Highway 395 between Burns and John Day, one OSP officer initially pointed a handgun at Finicum, but then switched to a Taser when the militant turned away.

That was a move the officer regretted moments later when Finicum appeared to be reaching for a gun.

“That was my perception of it. He’s going for a gun and I can tell you right now I was very uncomfortable. … I remember actually being angry and I was pretty, pretty freakin’ worried that I made the worst time to transition to Taser,” the officer told investigators. 

As the officer moved to deploy the Taser, two other state police shot Finicum.

“I’m looking at Finicum. I’m messing with that stupid Taser,” the officer said. “He was moving something out of the way and the other hand was moving in — in a movement that was to me, it just looked familiar. It was consistent with drawing a handgun.”

The officer went on to describe the moments before Finicum was shot as “terrifying.”

“To be perfectly blunt,” the officer said, “he had the drop on me at this point.”

Investigators ultimately concluded those fatal shots fired by OSP officers were justified.

The documents released Monday by the Central Oregon Major Incident Team, which investigated the incident, also revealed that Finicum’s 9mm Ruger pistol was a gift from his stepson, Thomas Kinne.

Kinne bought the gun from a private party. A deputy with the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office in Arizona was able to trace the handgun to its original owner, who bought it in Fredonia, Arizona.

Investigators also noted in their reports that Jeanette Finicum called OSP dispatch at 8:02 p.m. Jan. 26 to ask if her husband had been shot.

Lastly, the documents contain a report of Finicum’s autopsy and a list of the evidence recovered from the scene of the shooting.

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