BURNS, OR— The Oregon standoff became deadly this week with the death of Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, and some supporters are calling his death a “blood sacrifice.”
While Ammon Bundy and his supporters were traveling to a meeting in the community of John Day, they encountered an FBI-led operation to apprehend them and end the Oregon refuge standoff.
— Dave Blanchard (@blanchardd) January 27, 2016
In the video released by the FBI, it appears Finicum walked away from his vehicle with his hands up. Moments later, he was shot.
According to the FBI, Finicum reached twice for a pocket that police say contained a 9 mm semi-automatic handgun before they shot him. (Read full FBI statement here.)
“Actions have consequences. As the video clearly shows, it was a reckless action that resulted in consequences you have seen here today,” said Greg Bretzing, special agent in charge of the FBI in Portland.
An eyewitness, Victoria Sharp, tells a different story that contradicts the FBI’s statement.
According to Sharp, Finicum was shot with his hands up, and he only reached for his side reacting to being shot.
“He’s like, ‘just shoot me then, just shoot me’— and they did, they shot him dead. They shot him right there, he was just walking— I saw it. I swear to God, he was just walking with his hands in the air,” said Sharp.
Listen to Sharp’s account here.
The FBI has not released any audio of the confrontation and has not commented on Sharp’s statements.
According to OregonLive, “five people involved in the traffic stop were arrested while two were questioned and released. Those arrested were: Ammon Bundy, 40, of Emmett, Idaho; his brother, Ryan Bundy, 43, of Bunkerville, Nevada; Ryan W. Payne, 32, of Anaconda, Montana; Brian Cavalier, 44, of Bunkerville, Nevada; and Shawna J. Cox, 59, of Kanab, Utah.”
Joshua Cook recently interviewed Sheriff Richard Mack, who said he asked Ammon Bundy to peacefully withdraw from Oregon. Sheriff Mack told Cook during that interview, “you never know what this corrupt government is going to do.”
The FBI’s statement makes it clear that the standoff is not over.