Militia Leader Receives U.S.-Mail Dildos: LaVoy Finicum; the Oregon militant who gained fame for conducting a television interview from beneath a blue tarp — was shot and killed by law enforcement officers. The Arizona rancher, who was caring for 11 foster children with his wife, vowed at the start of the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Preserve that he was willing to die for his interpretation of the U.S. Constitution.
“I have been raised in the country all my life,” Finicum said in a widely viewed television interview with a rifle on his lap. “I love dearly to feel the wind on my face. To see the sun rise, to see the moon. I have no intention of spending any of my days in a concrete box.” He was reportedly shot Tuesday evening during a shootout when law enforcement officers stopped a group of militants on their way to establish a shadow government in nearby Grant County. State Rep. Michele Fiore (R), who is close to the Bundy family and other militants, has identified Finicum as the militant who has been reportedly killed. Six others — including Ammon and Ryan Bundy — were arrested following the shootout. Reports indicate that one other person might have been wounded in the gunfire.
Watch the interview with Finicum posted online by MSNBC:
Eyewitnesses knock down conspiracy theories about LaVoy Finicum dying with his hands up:
State Rep. Michele Fiore (R) and the “Bundy Ranch” Facebook page shared similar accounts of Finicum’s fatal shooting, each claiming the rancher had been shot with his hands up while his friends were arrested.
But that’s not exactly what happened, according to two accounts posted in Facebook videos.
Melvin Lee cited one of militant leader Ammon Bundy’s bodyguards, Mark McConnell in his video, saying that McConnell and Bundy were in a vehicle traveling north up US 395 with a second bodyguard, Brian “Booda” Cavalier, when they were stopped by law enforcement officers serving an arrest warrant. A second vehicle — which contained Ryan Bundy, Ryan Payne, Shawna Cox, Finicum and Victoria Sharp — went around their stopped comrades’ vehicle but ran into a blockade about a mile away.
“There happened to be some arguments between the guys in the truck,” Lee said. “Somehow they got Ryan Payne pulled out of the truck, apparently. LaVoy had took off — he ended up hitting a snowbank, I guess, trying to get around the blockade. After he hit that snowbank, he came out of that truck and he charged at the law enforcement (officers) — as I understand it.”
McConnell — who was taken into custody, questioned and released — recorded a second video early Wednesday morning, saying that Payne told him that he and Finicum got into an argument in the pickup after the rancher fled the police stop. He said Cox told him that Finicum crashed into the snowbank, jumped out of the manual transmission diesel pickup with the rear wheels still spinning and charged toward law enforcement officers.
The bodyguard said Cox and Payne each told him that Finicum charged toward officers before he was shot, and he explicitly denied that the rancher had surrendered or complied with law enforcement. “He was not on his knees, none of that,” McConnell said. “He was none of that nonsense. You know, that was a miscommunication on somebody else’s part. But he went after them. He charged them. You know, LaVoy was very passionate about what he was doing up here.”
Sharp, an 18-year-old singer from Montana, claimed in an interview that Finicum had gotten out of the crashed truck and walked toward officers with his hands up, daring them to shoot. “He’s like, just shoot me then, just shoot me — and they did, they shot him dead,” Sharp said. “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.” Finicum claimed early on during the occupation that he was willing to die for his interpretation of the U.S. Constitution.
“I have been raised in the country all my life,” Finicum said in a widely viewed television interview, shrouded in a blue tarp with a rifle on his lap. “I love dearly to feel the wind on my face. To see the sun rise, to see the moon. I have no intention of spending any of my days in a concrete box.”
McConnell said the Finicum’s death should not be used to encourage further violence.
“If you weren’t up there, shut your mouth, shut your f*cking mouth — no one wants to hear from you,” McConnell said. “What happened up there, it was tragic — bottom line. We were all arrested, some of them are still in federal custody. LaVoy is deceased, but Ryan was not wounded, he was hit with a piece of shrapnel. Right now this town is being flooded with law enforcement.
All or most of the women or children left the wildlife refuge overnight, but some of the armed militants remain — apparently under the command of Arizona militiaman Blaine Cooper — and McConnell said the area was being “flooded with law enforcement.”
“The stuff got stopped,” McConnell said. “You’re going to rush up here now because somebody got hurt, somebody got killed? Quite frankly, I’m going to ask you where you were before, where was your loyalty? Where was your support when this was going on? It’s pretty sad if people got to run up here now because somebody got hurt, somebody got killed. You know, I guess it was convenient — armchair quarterback it the rest of the way, but now we can move on something. You guys got to stop.”
Lee struck a similar tone in his video.
“This right here is a way to slow you down, calm you down and think — wait for the information to come out, people,” Lee said. “And another thing, we’ve been trying to negotiate with the refuge, as far as Blaine and them, but they’re not answering the phone.”
(Editor’s note: New details added to include information shared by McConnell in a second video recorded Wednesday morning.) (Update: The headline was changed to reflect additional eyewitness testimony from Sharp, which was also added to the story, as well as Melvin Lee’s account of the encounter on route 395.)
(Additional update: McConnell and Lee were initially described as eyewitnesses, but some readers pointed out their accounts were second-hand. The headline has also been changed to describe their claims as disputing conspiracy theories, rather than definitively knocking them down. The investigation remains ongoing.)
Militia Leader Receives U.S.-Mail Dildos: He was on his way to cover the community meeting when he was told the road was closed due to a crash — and law enforcement officers told him alternate routes might take hours to reach the meeting in Grant County. Gupta soon learned rumors of what happened — here’s his account from Harney County:
We were right there, where Ammon Bundy was allegedly shot tonight, at approximately 5 p.m., on Highway 395. But we didn’t know it. We were climbing the mountain and saw police lights ahead. There were at least two police cars, a car across the road, and a few cars ahead of us stopped. We thought it was an accident as an ambulance came into view. A cop told us to turn around, said it would be hours.
We were lamenting our bad luck because we were intending on attending the meeting in neighboring Grant County where Ammon Bundy, Ryan Payne and others were going to set up a new Committee of Safety. We were hoping to find an alternate way to the meeting. When we came back down the mountain the road was already blocked by state police with automatic rifles. In town, we happened upon an arrest scene.
Militia members we have seen are visibly angry. One claimed, “Now you’re going to see the Pacific Patriot Network mobilized.” Everyone, from police to elected officials to militia members, who have talked to The Raw Story over the last week said they didn’t want this end in bloodshed. We don’t have any confirmation if anyone was shot. It’s rumors right now. But even if there hasn’t been violence, bloodshed seems a lot more likely now with scores if not hundreds of armed militia members in and around Burns, Oregon.
(Editor’s note: This article was updated to clarify that Joseph D. O’Shaughnessy is not a member of the Oath Keepers.) . The FBI issued a statement early Wednesday saying the 32-year-old Ritzheimer had turned himself in and was arrested without incident.
Additional Arrest Made in Arizona Related to the Occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge
Joint Statement by the FBI and OSP
|FBI Portland January 26, 2016|
At 8:30 p.m. (PST) on Tuesday, January 26, 2016, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Phoenix Division made a probable cause arrest of Jon Eric Ritzheimer, age 32, on a federal charge related to the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Harney County, Oregon. Ritzheimer turned himself into the Peoria, Arizona, Police Department. The arrest was without incident.
Ritzheimer faces one federal felony charge of conspiracy to impede officers of the United States from discharging their official duties through the use of force, intimidation, or threats, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 372. The FBI made the Arizona arrest in conjunction with a series of other arrests made by FBI and Oregon State Police in Harney County, Oregon, earlier in the evening. The following individuals also face the same charge:
- Ammon Edward Bundy, age 40, of Emmett, Idaho
- Ryan C. Bundy, age 43, of Bunkerville, Nevada
- Brian Cavalier, age 44, of Bunkerville, Nevada
- Shawna Cox, age 59, Kanab, Utah
- Ryan Waylen Payne, age 32, of Anaconda, Montana
- Joseph Donald O’Shaughnessy, age 45, of Cottonwood, Arizona
- Peter Santilli, age 50, of Cincinnati, Ohio
We continue to work with Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward and his deputies and the United States Attorney’s Office to address any further outstanding issues. As the investigation is ongoing, we cannot comment further at this time.
All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
- Statement by SAC Greg Bretzing at Press Conference (02/11/16)
- FBI Arrests All Remaining Occupiers at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge (02/11/16)
- FBI Surrounds Occupiers at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge (02/10/16)
- Remarks by SAC Greg Bretzing at Press Conference (01/28/16)
- Additional Arrests in the Occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge (01/27/16)
- Additional Arrest Made in Arizona Related to Occupation (01/26/16)
- Joint Statement by FBI and Oregon State Police (01/26/16)
The militant also shared a video of his reunion with his two young daughters, but he warned them “daddy has to go away for awhile.”
“I came home to visit my family,” Ritzheimer said in a comment on the Facebook video. “The Feds know I am here and are asking me to turn myself in. I need an attorney so I can get back to my girls. Please help my family. Donations can be made at www.rogueinfidel.com to help with legal fees. Thank you all in advance. I just want the country to live by the Constitution and I just want the government to abide by it.”
Ritzheimer’s close friend, Blaine Cooper, apparently vowed to a talk radio host close to the militants — Pete Santilli — that he would not be taken alive. Drama, drama, drama! The loosely organized anti-government radicals who took over the Malheur…