Authorities fired eight gunshots at Lavoy Finicum and his vehicle, investigators said — and they found all of them were justified.
The rancher was shot three times in the back as he reached for a loaded gun in his pocket, according to investigators from the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office. Six shots were fired by state police and two by FBI agents, and all three shots that struck Finicum were fired by state troopers.
Finicum and passengers in his SUV agreed to flee police during a Jan. 26 traffic stop on Highway 395, which prosecutors said is a class C felony, The Oregonian reported.
One of the passengers, Shawna Cox, recorded cell phone video that authorities showed during a Tuesday news conference announcing the results of their investigation.
“You back down or you kill me now,” Finicum shouted at Oregon State Police before fleeing the traffic stop. “This is going to get real! You want my blood on your hands?”
“You want a blood bath? It’s going to be on your hands. We’re going to see the sheriff,” Finicum said.
Authorities stopped another car filled with armed militants who had been occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Reserve, but they agreed to surrender peacefully.
Finicum, however, said on the video recorded by Cox that he intended to drive on to nearby Grant County, where he would seek help from a sympathetic sheriff.
His plan went awry when he crashed into a snowbank as he sped toward officers at 70 mph as he attempted to elude a road block. Investigators said police were justified in firing on Finicum and his vehicle.
He was gunned down by officers after he refused to comply with orders to lie down and then reached for a weapon in his jacket pocket.
Finicum can be heard on the video repeatedly yelling, “Shoot me!”
He was shot near the clavicle, shoulder and lower abdomen.
Prosecutors said officers had been told that Finicum carried a firearm on his left side — where he was reaching when he was killed.
Another passenger, Victoria Sharp, claims officers fired hundreds of gunshots at the vehicle and killed Finicum as he attempted to surrender. But the investigation found that only four shots had struck Finicum’s truck.
An aerial video released by the FBI shortly after the shooting also appears to back investigators’ claims about the fatal shooting.
The names of the officers will not be released due to concerns about their safety.
Two shots were fired by FBI agents at Finicum but missed, and those officers are under investigation for failing to immediately report the shots.
Watch the press conference below: