BEND, Oregon – The Malheur district attorney’s office say that the shooting of Arizona rancher LaVoy Finicum is justified.
Finicum was shot by Oregon State Patrol troopers during a road block on January 26th 2016. He was among a group of occupiers on their way to meet with a group in a neighboring county.
A total of eight shots were fired, six by Oregon State patrol troopers, two by FBI agents. Malheur district attorney Daniel Norris says only three of the trooper’s shots actually hit Finicum.
In a press conference, Norris said, “The major incident team confirmed that these three bullets were fired by OSP troopers.
“The troopers knew that Mr. Finicum carried a weapon in his let side, Mr. Finicum was reaching for that loaded 9mm gun when the troopers used lawfully deadly physical force.”
The district attorney’s office released additional video of the encounter Tuesday. It was shot from inside the truck by fellow occupier Shawna Cox. In the video Finicum is seen telling troopers he’d rather be shot than surrender.
Finicum is heard saying, “I’m going to go meet the sheriff.
“You back down or you kill me now.
"Go ahead, put the bullet through me.”
Finicum’s wife, Jeanette, refutes the claim her husband was reaching for a gun. She says LaVoy was trying to surrender peacefully.
“He was shot with both hands up,” said Jeanette. “He was not reaching for anything at the time of the first shot. He was walking with his hands in the air, a symbol of surrender.”
The Finicum family says they’ve hired a private investigator to prove the roadblock was an ambush, and that troopers intended to kill.
“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,” said Jeanette. “How could they have reached this decision in the face of evidence that clearly shows intent to kill my husband?”
Norris said troopers had tried to take Finicum in peacefully. He said in the FBI video a trooper can be seen trying coming up behind him, reportedly to deploy a TAZER. But Norris said when Norris reached for his gun, troopers shot.
“Any person is justified in using deadly physical force when they reasonably believe that another person is using or about to use unlawful deadly physical force,” said Norris.
The Finicum says they plan to release additional evidence this week to support their claim that the roadblock was a planned attack on the group.
Deferral agents arrested seven other individuals during the road stop.
The FBI said they are investigating the two additional shots that were fired. Investigators say neither of the shots hit Finicum.