Newly released video of the Wednesday shootout between armed militiamen and federal agents in Oregon shows the confrontation between the groups escalated quickly when one of the militia’s members reached for a loaded weapon in his pocket.
On Wednesday, members of the militia were taken into custody along Highway 395 by authorities with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Five of the seven individuals surrendered. The other two, the militia leader’s brother, Ryan Bundy, and LaVoy Finicum, resisted arrest. Bundy was wounded. Finicum was subsequently shot and killed.
After the incident, reports surfaced that Finicum was shot with his hands up in the air, outraging supporters of the group.
From CNN: “The occupiers also claimed Finicum had his hands in the air when he was shot. Nevada Assemblywoman Michele Fiore said Ammon Bundy called his wife, Lisa Bundy, from the back of a police car on Tuesday night and said Finicum was cooperating with police when he was shot, according to The Oregonian.”
However, video released Thursday night by the FBI shows Finicum was not cooperating, nearly ran over an agent with his truck, and just before he was shot, had his hands in or around his jacket pockets where a loaded 9 mm semi-automatic handgun was located.
In the video (approximately at the 5:45 mark), Finicum’s truck approaches a roadblock. He slows at first, but then attempts to bypass the vehicles on the left. He nearly strikes an officer as his truck plows into the snow bank and comes to a halt. Finicum exits the truck with his hands in the air, but as two agents come near, Finicum lowers his hands and reaches into his pockets.
A moment later he falls into the snow. Inside Finicum’s truck, officers also found two loaded .223 caliber semi-automatic rifles and one loaded .38 special revolver. After the video was released, the special agent in charge of the FBI in Oregon, Greg Bretzing, said at a press conference, “The take-away from [the video] for me, and for the rest of those who are involved in this operation during the last three weeks, first, that we did everything we could to bring this situation to a peaceful resolution.”
“When the vehicle then took off, you can see that it just about seriously injured a law enforcement officer as it barreled towards that barricade,” added Bretzing. “Based on the deadly force policies of both the FBI and OSP, deadly force was utilized in that situation.”
The five individuals who surrendered remain in custody until the armed militia occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon leaves the site. The group has held the federal building under siege since January 2.