Federal officials announced Tuesday that while they justified the shooting of Robert “LaVoy” Finicum when a group of protesters was apprehended in January, FBI agents involved in the encounter are being investigated for firing shots that were not reported.
Finicum, 54, was part of a group of protestors occupying the Malheur Wildlife Refuge headquarters in Burns, Oregon. He was shot and killed on Jan. 26, after the FBI confronted the protestors’ vehicle while it was traveling along U.S. Highway 395.
Following an investigation into the shooting by the Justice Department, Malheur County District Attorney Dan Norris said Tuesday that all six of the shots fired by Oregon State Troopers at Finicum were justified.
However, officials also announced that one FBI agent is suspected of lying about firing twice at Finicum and four other agents are suspected of helping him cover up the lie. While the bullets reportedly did not contribute to Finicum’s death, the five agents involved are now under criminal investigation.
The FBI released footage from a plane flying above, which showed Finicum exiting the driver’s seat of the vehicle, after it ran off the road when it encountered a blockade set up by the FBI.
Finicum exited the vehicle with his hands up, and was immediately surrounded by FBI agents. He appeared to collapse moments after he lowered his hand to his pocket. While the FBI claim Finicum was reaching for a 9 mm. semi-automatic handgun, there is speculation that Finicum was reacting to a gunshot to the left.
Officials did not release the names of the Oregon State Troopers or the FBI agents who were involved in the Finicum shooting, but investigators reportedly said they “intend to release police reports, interview transcripts, photographs, the autopsy report and new video to allow the public to evaluate the police findings in Finicum’s death.”