LaVoy Finicum: Father of 11 who was killed in Oregon said he was willing to die

Updated 1:23 PM EST, Wed January 27, 2016
LaVoy Finicum takes down what he said was a government spy camera near the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on January 15. He was killed during an arrest of refuge occupiers.
Sara Weisfeldt/CNN
LaVoy Finicum takes down what he said was a government spy camera near the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on January 15. He was killed during an arrest of refuge occupiers.

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LaVoy Finicum was killed during an arrest; other protesters were arrested

"It's OK. I've lived a good life," Finicum told CNN this month

CNN —  

By his own account, LaVoy Finicum had plenty to live for.

The Arizona rancher and published author had 11 children, including some who were adopted.

“It’s kind of like the Brady Bunch on steroids,” he told CNN this month.

But he left his family for the snowy, barren lands of southeast Oregon, joining other armed protesters to take over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

“We will not leave these buildings. We will not turn them over to the federal government,” Finicum said in a video posted on his Twitter page on January 22.

He, like the other armed occupiers, were decrying what they called government overreach with federal lands. They said they would maintain their siege as long as necessary.

It’s an occupation that drew ire from the Harney County sheriff and local residents. Schools shut down for a week. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said the siege is costing the state about $100,000 a week.

But Finicum remained defiant, at times sitting outside the compound in a rocking chair, a rifle in his hands.

“I’m here to make it easy for the FBI to find me,” he said, adding that he wouldn’t use the rifle “unless someone points a weapon at me.”

On Tuesday, Finicum’s protest came to an end. He and several fellow occupiers were pulled over on Highway 395, a law enforcement official said. According to The Oregonian, they were headed to the city of John Day, where they were set to participate in a community meeting set up by local residents.

Everyone obeyed orders to surrender except two people, including Finicum, the source said. Shots were fired, but it’s unclear who fired first, and Finicum died.

It’s an outcome he said he didn’t want – but was prepared for.

“I think there’s a way this can all be peacefully resolved,” he told CNN this month. But if authorities tried to arrest him, he said, he would never go behind bars.

“I’m just not going to prison,” Finicum said. “Look at the stars. There’s no way I’m going to sit in a concrete cell where I can’t see the stars and roll out my bedroll on the ground. That’s just not going to happen. I want to be able to get up in the morning and throw my saddle on my horse and go check on my cows. It’s OK. I’ve lived a good life. God’s been gracious to me.”

He said that while his children were “very concerned” about him, he was looking forward to going home.

“I’m expecting two grandchildren on the way,” he said. “I’d sure like to see those two new babies. So I’ve got a lot to live for.”