-- The man killed during a shootout with police in Oregon yesterday was allegedly the spokesman for the group of armed occupiers who took over a federal wildlife refuge earlier this month.
Friends and relatives of Robert "LaVoy" Finicum said he was killed in the raid. Government officials, however, have not released the identity of the man.
Finicum's Family Speaks Out
Finicum, who is originally from Arizona, has 11 children, according to The Oregonian. He had spent the past week at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon as part of a protest.
"My dad was such a good, good man, through and through," his daughter Arianna Finicum Brown told The Oregonian.
"He would never ever want to hurt somebody, but he does believe in defending freedom and he knew the risks involved," Finicum Brown said.
Finicum’s family, who is calling his death a “murder,” released a statement today thanking supporters for their prayers.
“This fight against tyranny is not over. Press forward,” according to the statement. “Forgiveness is what we can extend and understanding is what we want. Christ was and is LaVoy’s exemplar. Though there are evil and conspiring men at work, Christ still forgave the executioners for they knew not what they did.”
"LaVoy's hands were in the air and he was shot in the face. Ammon Bundy reported there were six witnesses," according to a Facebook message posted by the group LaVoy Finicum's Stand For Freedom.
Finicum was the public spokesperson for the armed anti-government group. Ammon Bundy, the group's militant leader, was among the seven militia members arrested in the raid at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
His Involvement With the Militia
Finicum, reportedly 55 years old, had spoken out in defense of the group, saying that the government had taken aggressive measures toward group members.
"You need to understand, we have no intent of pointing a gun at anybody," Finicum said on Jan. 4 during an interview on "Good Morning America." "But let's be clear here. Who's pointed guns at me? Who's pointed guns at Ammon? They have who said that we will shoot you? We never have. They have. When we stood there at Bundy's, they were pointing guns at us and saying they would shoot us. We had no intent on doing that."
His Final Interview
Finicum told The Oregonian this week that the attitude of government forces monitoring the compound had shifted.
"The tenor has changed. They have become more hardened and when they step out of their vehicles now they're stepping out with their rifles and they're not willing to engage in just friendly dialogue," Finicum said in the interview.
"They're doing all the things that show that they want to take some kinetic action against us," he said.