In a video posted to YouTube by CNN on Wednesday, Cliven Bundy, the father of Ammon Bundy, said in no uncertain terms that law enforcement authorities killed rancher and Bundy spokesman LaVoy Finicum in cold blood. Finicum, according to reports, was shot after he exited a vehicle stopped by authorities on the road to John Day, Oregon.
“My son Ryan had been shot in the arm,” Bundy said. “LaVoy Finicum, they cold-blooded killed him.” Bundy went on to say that his son, Ammon, told him by phone that Finicum was “out, had his hands in the air, said he wasn’t armed, he wasn’t any threat, so they cold-blooded just killed him.”
One other account, provided by a young woman who said she was in the car at the time of the shooting, said Finicum was shot while holding his hands in the air. He was shot at least three more times after he fell, she alleged. The woman described what sounds more like the final scene of “Bonnie and Clyde” than a modern traffic stop. According to her recorded statement, the vehicle was struck by an estimated 120 shots.
Another account, provided by Bundy bodyguard Mark McConnell, differed somewhat. McConnell, who was questioned but later released, alleged that Finicum charged the officers, although he admitted the incident took place some 200 yards away and he was unable to witness the entire encounter.
Law enforcement officials said they made the decision to arrest Ammon and Ryan Bundy away from the wildlife refuge headquarters in an effort to minimize the potential for violence. The FBI, however, did not explain why shots were fired and it is not known who shot Finicum.
A law enforcement official said both vehicles initially obeyed orders to pull over, but the lead vehicle sped off for a short distance. That account corroborates McConnell’s recollection. According to officers, Finicum was allegedly “brandishing a firearm,” but Bundy and the woman in the vehicle said otherwise.
Ryan Bundy was struck in the shoulder and received treatment at a local hospital. Brian Cavaliers, Shawna Cox, and Ryan Payne were also arrested with both Ryan and Ammon Bundy and face federal felony charges of conspiracy to impede federal officers from discharging their official duties through the use of force, intimidation or threats. Two others, Joseph Donald O’Shaughnessy and Peter Santilli, were arrested in Burns and Jon Ritzheimer turned himself in to authorities in Peoria, Arizona, CNN said.
Finicum, a Mormon rancher, leaves behind 11 children, 19 grandchildren and a wife of 23 years, NBC News added. The CNN video report can be seen above.