The situation at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Ore., appears to be nowhere near a climax, despite Tuesday’s shooting death of the spokesman for the armed occupiers and the arrest of two Bundy brothers.
The biggest question is: How did Arizona rancher Robert “LaVoy” Finicum die? While resisting arrest? Or while cooperating with his hands in the air?
The Oregonian/OregonLive reports that sources say Finicum was shot to death and Ryan Bundy wounded when they disobeyed orders to surrender and resisted arrest.
But in a YouTube recording, a young woman who says she was in Finicum’s vehicle when it was pulled over claims his hands were in the air, although he was saying to police “just shoot me.” She also claims the vehicle was riddled with bullets, so her story could rise or fall when the vehicle is shown.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting today, “The arrest of Mr. Bundy’s group turned violent when one of his supporters pulled out a weapon, law-enforcement officials familiar with the incident said. At that point, FBI agents fired. The individual who was brandishing the weapon suffered fatal injuries, officials said.”
Nevada state Assemblywoman Michele Fiore posted on Facebook: “My heart & prayers go out to LaVoy Finicum’s family. Ammon Bundy, Ryan Bundy, LaVoy Finicum, Shawna Cox, Brian Cavalier, Ryan Payne and Mark McConnell were driving on the way to meet with ranchers when they were ambushed by authorities. LaVoy Finicum had his hands up cooperating with authorities and they shot him 3 times. This is homicide and the shooter needs to be prosecuted. Ryan Bundy has been shot in the arm. Please be thoughtful with comments.”
Another Facebook page claims:
LaVoy Finicum was unarmed and had his hands in the air when he was gunned down. This is confirmed in this audio recording of an 18 year old passenger who was in one of the two vehicles.
Not only did the feds open fire while passengers were still in the vehicle, but the cars were riddled with bullets by the time the ambush was over. LaVoy got out of his vehicle with his arms in the air to approach the authorities to demand the chance to speak with the Grant County Sheriff. In response, he was shot in the face. After his body fell to the ground lifeless, the authorities continued to shoot his body.
At no point did anyone in the Bundy party threaten the authorities or shoot at them. This was a cold blooded murder. Given the number of bullet holes in the vehicles, it is clear that the feds intended to kill them all.
Finicum earlier told a reporter, “I have been raised in the country all my life. I love dearly to feel the wind on my face, to see the sun rise, to see the moon in the night. I have no intention of spending any of my days in a concrete box.”
USA Today is reporting that a Jason Patrick, one of those remaining inside the refuge, has been talking with the FBI about leaving.
“It’s hard to decide what to do,” the newspaper quotes Patrick as saying, noting that he could see a number of law enforcement officers in a convoy of armored vehicles.
“Sounds like the definition of peaceful resolution is either forcefully kidnapping me or death,” he said. “A peaceful resolution is not dead people.”
WSJ is reporting that anyone now leaving the refuge will be checked for identity and their vehicles searched. Anyone attempting to enter will be blocked unless they are local residents. Those who do not comply will be arrested.
There is supposed to be a press conference by authorities sometime today.