The FBI released full video of the stop along a snowy Oregon highway in which an Arizona rancher who had been holed up with other protesters at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge was shot and killed.
The aerial footage shows federal and state law enforcement officials stopping a white SUV and a green Jeep on Highway 395 as a group of occupation leaders headed from the refuge to a meeting in the city of John Day.
Armed officers take up defensive positions behind the SUV as it pauses in the center of the road. The vehicle sits for several minutes before taking off — but down the road, another roadblock is waiting. The SUV veers off into a snowbank. A man in a cowboy hat jumps out of the driver’s seat with his arms outstretched at first and walks through the snow, appearing to reach into his coat as two officers close in on him — one from the roadside and one from the woods.
Greg Bretzing, special agent in charge of the FBI in Oregon, told reporters on Thursday that they released the video to counter “various versions of what occurred during this event: most inaccurate, some inflammatory.”
“To that end, we want to do what we can to lay out an honest and unfiltered view of what happened and how it happened,” Bretzing said.
Oregon State Police troopers were the ones who “utilized deadly force due to their proximity to LaVoy Finicum as the situation unfolded.”
“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,” Bretzing said. “At this time, OSP troopers shot Finicum.”
“Approximately 30 seconds after the shooting, law enforcement officers at the scene deployed flash bangs to disorient any other armed occupants. Shortly after that, they deployed less-lethal sponge projectiles with OC capsules. Those OC capsules would be similar to pepper spray.”
Finicum wasn’t given medical assistance for about 10 minutes after the shooting — “as soon as the agents and troopers were confident that they had addressed any further threats.”
“Agents and troopers did find three other loaded weapons inside the truck. They included two loaded .223 caliber semi-automatic rifles. There was also one loaded .38 special revolver,” Bretzing said.
There are four occupiers left at the wildlife refuge headquarters.
“Since the establishment of checkpoints, a total of nine people have left the refuge. Of those, the FBI released six and arrested three,” the special agent in charge said. “…There has been some media reporting that the situation at the refuge is resolved. That is NOT true. Again, we still believe there are occupiers on the refuge. The negotiators continue to work around the clock to talk to those four people in an effort to get them to come out peacefully.”
Ammon Bundy, who was arrested in the vehicle stops on Highway 395, urged occupiers in a statement to “turn yourselves in and do not use physical force.”
Those still in the refuge wants promises from authorities that they won’t face any charges.