FBI video purports to show slain Oregon occupier LaVoy Finicum reaching for a gun

Aerial FBI footage of the shooting of LaVoy Finicum
(Image credit: FBI/YouTube)

Robert "LaVoy" Finicum, a spokesman for the armed occupiers of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon, reached toward a gun in his pocket before he was shot by law officers on Tuesday afternoon, according to a video the FBI released Thursday night at a news conference. (Note: the video does show Finicum being shot.) Filmed from an FBI aircraft, the footage appears to show occupation leader Ammon Bundy and passengers in his truck surrendering at the FBI and Oregon State Police checkpoint, but Finicum speeding off, then running into a snow bank when he encountered a roadblock, nearly running down an FBI agent.

When he got out of the car, Finicum at first raised his hands, but "on at least two occasions, Finicum reaches his right hand toward a pocket on the left inside portion of his jacket," Greg Bretzing, the FBI special agent in charge or Oregon, said at the news conference. "He did have a loaded 9mm semi-automatic handgun in that pocket. At this time, OSP troopers shot Finicum." Bretzing said law officers provided Finicum medical assistance after about 10 minutes, after they were "confident that they had addressed any further threats." The FBI released the video in part to counter the claims of some Finicum supporters that the Arizona rancher had been shot without provocation.

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Peter Weber, The Week US

Peter has worked as a news and culture writer and editor at The Week since the site's launch in 2008. He covers politics, world affairs, religion and cultural currents. His journalism career began as a copy editor at a financial newswire and has included editorial positions at The New York Times Magazine, Facts on File, and Oregon State University.