ST. GEORGE — Several FBI agents are under investigation after one allegedly lied about firing twice at Robert LaVoy Finicum and others helped cover up the incident after the fact, authorities said Tuesday during a press conference in Oregon.
While the bullets didn’t hit Finicum, all five unnamed agents, part of an elite national unit, are still under criminal investigation by the U.S. Justice Department. Inspector General Michael Horowitz is leading the independent inquiry.
The disclosure came as a team of local investigators released findings that two state troopers who shot Finicium three times in the back at the scene Jan. 26 are now cleared of any wrongdoing. An autopsy showed, one bullet pierced Finicum’s heart.
Prosecutors ruled Finicum’s fatal shooting was legally justified because Finicum kept moving his hands toward his pocket that officers later found contained a loaded handgun. Oregon state law allows use of deadly force when officers believe a person is about to seriously injure or kill someone, authorities said.
The Harney County district attorney asked Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office to handle the investigation of Finicum’s death. Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson and Malheur County District Attorney Dan Norris held a press conference Tuesday to release the findings.
This is a preliminary story and will be updated later today as Finicum’s wife, Jeanette, is scheduled to hold a press conference this afternoon to comment on the investigation findings and Oregon press conference. More information will be available at St. George News after that time.
St. George News Reporter Tracie Sullivan contributed to this report.
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