Was Finicum Murdered in Cold Blood?

By John Friend —

Controversy surrounds the exact manner and circumstances in which iconic Arizona rancher Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, 54, was killed on January 26. Finicum had been serving as a key leader and spokesman during the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge just south of Burns, Oregon, when he was shot and killed in a joint Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)-Oregon State Police operation.

Two days after Finicum’s death, the FBI released aerial video footage captured by a surveillance plane directly above the encounter on U.S. 395 in an effort to clarify the circumstances and dispel rumors of law enforcement misconduct.


Unsurprisingly, the video footage, coupled with eyewitness testimony put forth by some of the individuals present during the confrontation, have only fueled more heated debate about the fatal encounter between the leaders of the occupation and state and federal law enforcement authorities.

Results of the investigation currently being conducted into Finicum’s death will not be made public for four to six weeks, according to law enforcement officials. The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office is the lead agency responsible for the investigation, but will be assisted by local and state police officials.

“This is an on-going investigation and in order to maintain its integrity, no further information will be released until a thorough investigation and review is completed by Malheur County District Attorney, Dan Norris,” Deschutes County Sheriff L. Shane Nelson explained in a statement.

On that fateful day, Finicum and other leaders of the occupation, including Ammon Bundy, Ryan Bundy, Ryan Payne, Shawna Cox, and Victoria Sharp—all key figures involved in the occupation and protest—were traveling to John Day, a small town roughly 70 miles north of Burns.

Locals in John Day, which is located in Grant County, Oregon, had invited Bundy and his entourage to address a community meeting which was to be attended by Grant County Sheriff Glenn Palmer, who had met with some of the occupation leaders in the past and had shown support for some of the demands they issued, including the release of Dwight and Steven Hammond, the local ranching family whose re-sentencing late last year under federal anti-terrorism laws initiated the occupation of the Refuge.

While driving to John Day, Finicum and those in his truck noticed police SUVs and other law enforcement vehicles on a side road just off of U.S. 395.

“It’s a set-up,” Finicum is reported to have stated at the time.

Finicum, who was driving in front of the Jeep transporting Ammon Bundy to the community meeting, was then followed by law enforcement vehicles with their emergency lights on. According to Shawna Cox, who was in the vehicle with Finicum, Ryan Payne, Ryan Bundy, and Victoria Sharp, Finicum did not want to stop for law enforcement authorities. An argument ensued between Payne and Finicum, and Finicum eventually stopped his truck in the middle of the highway.

Payne proceeded to roll down his window and put his hands out.

“That very second, I see a red laser light, right by the mirror,” Cox recently explained in an interview with The Oregonian. “I heard the ping—they shot at him. He jumped back. I thought it hit his bracelet.”

Emigrate While You Still Can! Learn More . . .

Payne eventually surrendered to authorities after exiting the vehicle. Shortly thereafter, Finicum sped away, only to discover a major police roadblock as he continued north on U.S. 395. Finicum swerved his truck off the highway in order to avoid the roadblock, running into a snowbank.

Cox claims that law enforcement officials immediately began shooting at Finicum’s truck after it became stuck in the snowbank, and Finicum exited in order to draw fire away from the women inside. Shortly after exiting the vehicle, Finicum was reportedly shot and killed by an Oregon State Police officer. Cox claims Finicum was yelling, “Shoot me! Shoot me! Shoot me!” at law enforcement authorities.

Finicum’s family has released two separate statements questioning the FBI’s and Oregon State Police’s version of events, who allege Finicum was disobeying officers’ orders and made attempts to reach for a firearm. The Finicum family’s second statement, released February 2 through the family’s lawyer, describes the death of LaVoy as “unjustified,” alleging the FBI and Oregon State Police are involved in a cover-up.


“It is our position that not only was the shooting death of LaVoy Finicum completely unjustified, but that the FBI and Oregon State Police may also be engaging in a cover-up, and seeking to manipulate and mislead the media and the American public about what really happened,” the statement reads in part. It continues:

[ . . . ] what we believe the video [FBI video] shows is that LaVoy was being fired upon before he even got out of the truck. He exited very quickly and ran away from the vehicle to draw the gunfire away from the truck and its remaining occupants. He had his empty hands in the air. He never wielded a weapon. He never posed any genuine threat to anyone. It is our position that he was cornered like a helpless animal, with nowhere else to turn, and executed in cold blood. We believe he had already been shot before he ever lowered his hands. We believe some of his hand movements were a natural physical reflex to being shot. He was shot multiple times in the back with his hands in the air. He was then completely ignored and disregarded for an extended period of time, and left to die with no attempt to provide any medical attention, while officers and agents (estimated to be at least 20 at that location), thoroughly terrorized the remaining occupants of the vehicle, including two women, by shooting the truck full of holes.

The Finicum family is demanding that the FBI release all audio recordings and unedited video captures of the confrontation, as well as photographic images of Finicum’s truck following the confrontation.

Finicum, who AFP spoke with and interviewed on January 7, died defending his beliefs, according to family members.

“My dad knew he needed to stand up for what was right, to defend freedom,” Arianna Finicum Brown, one of Finicum’s daughters, told The Oregonian. “He was willing to die defending them.”

Donate to us

John Friend is a California-based writer who maintains a blog.

8 Comments on Was Finicum Murdered in Cold Blood?

  1. This has been over a year ago. Why has no further stories been written on this? No further probing? It’s chilling to think that mercenaries are allowed on American soil to shoot an American citizen in cold-blood. And absolutely nothing ever becomes of it. Chilling.

  2. If you examine the FBI video of the Lavoy Finicum shooting, you will find that it is another FAKE:

    LAVOY FINICUM FBI HOAX FOOTAGE (Pt 01) (Hey America, It’s Just Another Lie You Believe)

    LAVOY FINICUM FBI HOAX FOOTAGE (Pt 03) Fake Helicopter Positions

    These videos show that the original video was edited, since it depicts several sequences that were shot over several hours. The changing level of the snow, the snow clearance around the car, the position of the car, the vantage point of the helicopter, and the movement of people within the video all prove that this was not depicting a “live” event.

    Ask yourself why the FBI, which covers up all sorts of government criminality, would suddenly release a video showing a possible murder by federal agents? Because this who “stand-off” is yet another government psy-op.

  3. The shooting death of Robert LaVoy Finicum was, indeed, a deliberate, planned act by the FBI, Oregon State troopers and unknown mercenaries. They staged an ambush, meant to kill all eight patriots; but only Finicum, the group’s spokesman, was killed in the ambush.

    These cold-blooded reptilian murderers must be arrested, prosecuted and convicted of this act of terrorism and executed accordingly. They won’t ever win this event, as neighboring Utah has found the courage to claim all public lands within its borders as state property and kick the Feds and their psycho mercenaries out. They just made a huge mistake in creating a huge backlash from 100s of thousands of ranchers, farmers and militias across the American Heartland.

    As the saying goes, pride comes before the fall. And another one, the bigger they are, the harder they fall.

  4. So Mr K, I guess any person misinterpreting the U.S. Constitution deserves to be ambushed and murdered by the F.B.I.? Mr. Finicum posed no threat to the animals that shot him. A man was murdered and the persons who committed the murder will face no retribution.

    As far as marrying 12 year olds, WTF does that have to do with the murder of Levoy Finicum? The world would be a better place if your sorry a*s was laid out there in the snow off northbound U.S. 395.

  5. “K”:

    You better stick to your comic books. Your interpretation of Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17 and Article 4, Section 3 is, well…comical.

    State legislatures are to make the ultimate decision for federal land purchases.

    And take note, a State is not a territory. So, Article 4, Section 3 refers to territories like Guam, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, etc.

  6. A few uneducated people continue making an interpretation of the U.S. Constitution which is clearly indefensible. Their commitment to these strongly-held beliefs does not mean they are correct, or knowledgeable about the subject.

    Those protesting Federal land ownership typically cite Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17 of the U.S. Constitution, which outlines the initial setup and layout of the federal government’s property in Washington, D.C. This section notes that state legislatures must approve any expansion of this land, which in an incomplete assessment could be thought of as giving the Federal Government no right to own other lands.

    However, those referencing this singular section of the U.S. Constitution to justify their beliefs against Federal land ownership are missing the complete legal picture. Namely, the U.S. Constitution’s Article 4, Section 3, wherein:

    Congress shall have the power to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or property belonging to the United States.

    This has been consistently decided and upheld time and time again in the courts. To those who just can’t wrap their tiny brains around this fact, all I can say is just because you don’t like these decisions doesn’t mean you get to make up your own narrow misinterpretation ignoring legal precedent. That just makes you look stupid. Bringing a gun to your fight with ‘the government’ and making violent threats just makes you guilty of treason, sedition, and subversive activities punishable by up to 20 years in prison. And yes, still stupid. Maybe there should be a law against old men marrying 12-year-old girls. Oh wait, that’s what got their prophet imprisoned.

  7. Finicum was tasered by the officer who came from the woods.

    That means the FBI special agent Bretzling has lied in the video.

Comments are closed.