FBI agents lied to Oregon investigators in shooting of LaVoy Linicum
Five members of the FBI's elite Hostage Rescue Team are being investigated for lying to Oregon law enforcement authorities about the shooting of militiaman LaVoy Linicum, one of the occupiers of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge last month.
An agent told investigators twice that he never fired his weapon. But an examination of Linicum's truck showed that at least one bullet from an FBI agent's gun struck the vehicle, while authorities suspect he fired a second shot that missed. The other four agents are under investigation for their subsequent behavior following the shooting.
The discovery of that gunfire and conduct afterward by the agent and four other agents have triggered a criminal investigation that could result in the prosecution of all five. The agents all serve on the FBI's Hostage Rescue Team. Authorities on Tuesday released few details about the matter and didn't identify the agents by name.
But the disclosure is a jolt to the FBI. The Oregon investigators two weeks ago flew to Washington, D.C., to directly brief top FBI officials about their findings. The U.S. Justice Department's Office of Inspector General is now investigating what it said in a statement were "allegations of FBI misconduct." The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office is separately investigating whether agents were justified in using deadly force that day.
As the 41-day takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge unfolded, the violent outcomes of standoffs at Idaho's Ruby Ridge and in Waco, Texas, were on the minds of law enforcement, occupiers and self-styled militia. No one wanted to trigger a confrontation similar to those events, which resulted in the deaths of civilians and led to harsh criticism of federal agents.
Detectives investigating the Finicum shooting questioned the five FBI agents at least twice -- the night of the shooting and 10 days later. Such questioning is standard for officer-involved shootings.
This is video, which syncs up a video from the FBI helicopter tracking Linicum's attempted escape and a camera video taken inside Linicum's car:
Note that the state and county police continue firing into the car even after Liicum has been killed, despite the fact that there are women in the vehicle.
LaVoy Linicum was shot in the back while reaching for a gun in his coat pocket, the investigation concluded. Linicum's wife and eyewitnesses in the truck claim that Linicum was unarmed. The autopsy concluded that the fatal bullets were fired by a deputy sheriff.
For some, no "official"explanation of the events will ever be accepted. But perhaps more information will come out if the FBI agents are prosecuted for lying to authorities.