A Nevada Republican compared slain rancher LaVoy Finicum to both Jesus and Moses in an over-the-top Facebook post.
Assemblywoman Shelly Shelton, a first-term Republican, heaped praise on Finicum -- who was shot to death by law enforcement officers as they executed arrest warrants for the armed militants who took over a wildlife refuge in Oregon.
"In any given generation there are men who are willing to stand for what they believe," Shelton said in a Facebook post. "Most of the time they are demonized and the uninformed are made to believe they are criminals."
"From Moses who killed an Egyptian for abusing his people, to Jesus who died on a cross as a condemned criminal, many of those who operate outside the box and promote love and justice over the current form of government are treated as outcasts and many times murdered," she added.
Shelton's fellow Las Vegas Republican lawmaker, Michele Fiore, helped promote the claim that Finicum was shot to death as he raised his hands and kneeled in surrender.
But two witnesses say the rancher -- who vowed to die for his interpretation of the U.S. Constitution -- charged at law enforcement officers while attempting to flee an arrest.
"Today we were reminded that the power of evil is still alive and well as LaVoy Finicum was gunned down and murdered in Oregon," Shelton said.
The Arizona rancher was killed after law enforcement officers stopped and arrested militant leader Ammon Bundy, who hoped the armed occupation would force the federal government to turn over public land to his control.
Finicum, who was on his way to help Bundy establish a militant-friendly shadow government in nearby Grant County, crashed his pickup while trying to evade capture and was shot when he leaped from the vehicle, witnesses said.
Shelton lauded Finicum, who had sheltered 11 foster children with his wife at their ranch, as a hero.
"He represented the spirit of patriotism, justice, bravery and honesty that didn't put 'getting home safe to his family' over integrity," she said. "Men like that have defended and built great civilizations for centuries. Today they are almost extinct."
Seven militants, including Bundy and his brother, Ryan Bundy, were arrested Tuesday evening on federal charges of conspiracy to impede officers.
"For any who feel he was a criminal, like those who felt Moses and Jesus were criminals, I would implore you to investigate the peaceful work that Lavoy did in his life from the Bundy Ranch where thousands protested without a shot fired, to today in Oregon, where the shots fired came from the government at an unarmed Lavoy Finicum," Shelton said.