An FBI agent is suspected of lying about firing twice at Robert "LaVoy" Finicum and may have gotten help from four other FBI agents in covering up afterward, authorities revealed Tuesday.
The bullets didn't hit Finicum and didn't contribute to his death, but now all five unnamed agents, part of an elite national unit, are under criminal investigation by the U.S. Justice Department. Inspector General Michael Horowitz is leading the independent inquiry.
The remarkable disclosure came as a team of local investigators released findings that two state troopers shot Finicum three times in the back during the chaotic scene at a police roadblock Jan. 26. One bullet pierced his heart, an autopsy showed.
"The question of who fired these shots has not been resolved," said Greg Bretzing, special agent in charge of the FBI in Portland. The federal agency is cooperating with the inspector general's investigation, he said at a news conference.
The revelation is certain to inflame suspicions about Finicum's death and shake confidence in the FBI, which came under intense fire for botched handling of violent sieges at Ruby Ridge in Idaho and Waco, Texas.
Some supporters have claimed Finicum was shot while surrendering, that he was unarmed and that he was shot nine times. The sheriff in neighboring Grant County, Glenn Palmer, described the police operation as an "ambush."