An Occupation In Eastern Oregon

4 Things To Know About The LaVoy Finicum Shooting

By David Stuckey (OPB)
March 9, 2016 2:46 p.m.
The vehicle driven by militant leader Robert "LaVoy" Finicum. The Central Oregon Major Incident Team released photos of evidence from Finicum's Jan. 26 killing.

The vehicle driven by militant leader Robert "LaVoy" Finicum. The Central Oregon Major Incident Team released photos of evidence from Finicum's Jan. 26 killing.

Courtesy Central Oregon Major Incident Team


On Tuesday, law enforcement tasked with investigating the Jan. 26 fatal shooting of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupant LaVoy Finicum during a traffic stop outlined their findings to the public. Their report answered the biggest question surrounding Finicum's death -- were state police justified in killing him? -- but raised others about the FBI's role in the showdown along a snowy Eastern Oregon highway.

Authorities also released a graphic video of the moments leading up to and following the shooting. Here's where we stand with the investigation.

Shooting Clarity: Despite claims from occupiers and their supporters that law enforcement fired more than 100 times into the truck carrying Finicum and other militants, investigators say only eight shots were fired. Video evidence provided Tuesday outlined in detail the actions taken during the traffic stop and shooting. Finicum was hit with three bullets in the back, all fired by Oregon State Police troopers.

1,000 Words: Both video and photographic evidence were released to the public by law enforcement on Tuesday in regard to the shooting. During a press conference law enforcement showed a cellphone video shot by Shawna Cox, one of five people inside Finicum's truck during the traffic stop. Finicum can be heard on the video repeatedly ignoring commands from law enforcement to surrender. He's also heard insisting that officers shoot him.

The Central Oregon Major Incident Team released photos of evidence, including detailed pictures of the truck Finicum and other militants were riding in. Also included are photographs of the weapons inside the truck at the time of the shooting.

Phantom Shots: Investigators say that along with six shots fired by state police, FBI agents fired twice at Finicum's vehicle -- and that those shots were initially not disclosed to the joint task force examining Finicum's death. U.S. Attorney Billy Williams said an investigation into those shots and possible misconduct is ongoing by the Department of Justice's inspector general.

Related: Accused Malheur Refuge Occupants Appear In Court

In a press release Tuesday afternoon, U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Oregon, said he was “disturbed and bewildered” by the revelation of the two unaccounted for shots.

Reaction To Findings: Finicum's wife, Jeanette, released a statement Tuesday following the investigation's press conference. In part it read: "I can hardly believe that a team of qualified law officers could look at the facts in this case and say that no criminal laws were violated," she said.

"Many people including my lawyers, have tried to prepare me for this — 'be strong,' 'accept this with peace' — but I don't think anything could prepare me to accept what is so clearly a finding that challenges the Constitution that my husband died defending."

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