BEND, Ore. (CN) - While the shooting death of Bundy militia member LaVoy Finicum by Oregon police was found to be justified, two FBI operatives may have lied to investigators and concealed the shots they fired at the man, authorities said Tuesday.
Finicum, 54, was one of the leaders of the month-long occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. He was en route to a community meeting in John Day, Oregon, on Jan. 26 when he tried to barrel through a police roadblock.
A team of local investigators used FBI footage, a video taken from inside Finicum's truck, and interviews with both police at the scene and the defendants to conclude that the shooting death of Finicum was justified, police announced Tuesday.
Police gunned down Finicum and arrested the Bundy brothers and four cohorts riding along with them. Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson said eight shots were fired that day. Six of them, fired by Oregon State Police, were "justified and necessary," Nelson said.
But the other two shots, fired by members of the FBI's elite Hostage Rescue Team, are still under investigation. One of those bullets hit the top of the truck's cab, while the other missed the truck entirely.
The FBI agents who had fired the two shots didn't immediately report that fact and had omitted other actions from their report as well. The reasons behind those two shots are the subject of an ongoing federal investigation.
"The question of who fired these shots has not been resolved," Greg Bretzing, special agent in charge of the FBI in Portland, said at Tuesday's news conference.
The FBI and the Inspector General for the Department of Justice are working together with a team of local investigators. They refused to release the names of the officers involved and said they didn't know when they would have more answers.
"You never know how many interviews you'll have to conduct and you never know where the investigation will lead you," Nelson said.
Finicum was leading a caravan to a community meeting, accompanied by fellow militia members Shawna Cox, 59, Ryan Bundy, 43, Ryan Payne, 32 and 18-year-old Victoria Sharp.
Following in a Jeep were Ammon Bundy, 40, Ryan Cavalier, 44, and Mark McConnell, 37.
Police stopped the caravan about halfway between the refuge and John Day. They arrested the three men in the Jeep without incident.
But aerial footage already released by the FBI shows that the white truck driven by Finicum stopped for several minutes in the middle of the highway before it took off again.
On Tuesday, police released photos of the pistol hidden in the inside pocket of Finicum's jeans jacket, two loaded semi-automatic rifles stowed under the seats of his truck and a video taken by Shawna Cox, who rode in the truck with Finicum as he sped along Highway 395 trying to evade police.
Police matched the FBI aerial video of the event they had already released with the video taken by Cox so they play simultaneously, with Cox's video in the lower left corner of the aerial video.
Cox's video begins when state troopers first stopped the caravan.