A cross has been erected and roses placed at its base along the side of Highway 395 where LaVoy Finicum was shot and killed by federal agents Jan. 30, 2016 in Burns, Oregon. (Matt Mills McKnight/Getty Images)
An eyewitness to the fatal shooting of rancher Robert “LaVoy” Finicum outside an Oregon wildlife refuge tells Newsmax TV their peaceful attempt to negotiate with a local sheriff turned into a bloodbath as authorities opened fire when Finicum screamed, “Go ahead and shoot me! Shoot me!”
In an exclusive interview with “Dennis Michael Lynch: Unfiltered,” Shawna Cox says that on Jan. 26th, she and fellow protestors, Finicum, Ryan Payne, and Victoria Sharp were in a truck headed to meet with the Grant County Sheriff’s Office to discuss their armed siege of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon.
But as they braked at a traffic light and Oregon State Police troopers who had been trailing them closed in, all hell broke loose.
“[LaVoy] didn’t want to stop in the first place. He knew that our safety was with the sheriff in Grant County who had invited us to come,” Cox said.
“He knew that if we could get to that county line we would be protected because he had seen all these vehicles that were trying to pull us over and knew that it was a setup and was trying to get to safety.”
Finicum hit the gas and his late-model Dodge Ram pickup began a dangerous skid and hit a snowbank.
“As soon as Ryan Payne opened the windows and put his hands out, empty handed, he reaches across and I see the red laser and a bullet strikes … He recoiled back quickly into the car and said, ‘We’re getting shot!”‘ Cox recalled to Dennis Michael Lynch.
“We had lasers all over us and bullets were flying. [LeVoy] jumped out. with his hands wide open, no weapons, and is running away from the vehicle in over 3 feet of snow, as fast he can run … He was yelling, ‘Go ahead and shoot me! Shoot me! Go ahead, shoot me,’ over and over as he’s running away from the vehicle.”
“We’re slumped down, and we’re trying to not get hit because there are bullets coming and breaking out the windows and I have a window by me just being hit, we’re pinned down.”
Cox said Finicum was shot and killed, even though she doesn’t believe he was armed.
“I did not see any weapons when we went. I saw no weapons in the vehicle … I know he didn’t have one in his hand,” Cox said.
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“The policy was that when we went to speak that nobody had any weapons on them. That has always been the policy, that we never took weapons into any meetings.”
Cox said that after a pause in the gunfire, they “put the cuffs on me, opened fire and blasted the truck again. They blasted it.”
Investigators are reviewing the shooting — which occurred along U.S. 395, 20 miles north of Burns — and say results won’t be available until March.
Finicum’s family believes authorities needlessly forced a violent ending to the siege and commissioned a private autopsy, the results of which they have not yet made public. State officials refuse to release results of Finicum’s official autopsy.
Among the questions still to be answered are: was Finicum reaching for a gun, was his truck shot at before he tried to escape and did authorities shoot the vehicle up as Cox has claimed.
Cox told Lynch while she shot video of the entire incident from start to finish, authorities seized her smart phone and have not yet returned it.
“The Lord needed us to be witnesses, two witnesses to the murder,” she said, describing the ranchers who seized the compound as “the most gentle people in the world.”
“I want to say to America, please pray,” Cox added. “Pray for justice, pray that this Constitution will be restored. We have to believe in God because he will return to save our country.”
On Thursday, the last four armed occupiers at the Malheur refuge turned themselves in following the 41-day standoff — a peaceful conclusion to the siege which made headlines around the world.
Newsmax reported on Thursday that Ammon Bundy was moved out of solitary confinement in a dark, windowless, six-by-six cell after his plight was featured on Newsmax TV’s “Dennis Michael Lynch: Unfiltered” show.
In a text message to Lynch, Bundy’s wife Lisa wrote: “I just talked to him and he said he wants you to know how grateful he is. Thank You!”
Ammon and his brother Ryan Bundy face conspiracy and weapons charges in connection with the standoff, the Oregonian newspaper reports.
Their father, Cliven Bundy, faces the same charges for a 2014 standoff with the government over Nevada grazing rights — a siege that ended with federal agents backing down in the face of 1,000 armed militiamen.
The most recent incident was triggered by the return to prison of two ranchers convicted of setting fires near the refuge, the crime committed partly as a protest against federal control over millions of acres of public land.