Ryan held the door as Victoria climbed into the back seat of the four-door pick-up.
With five people squeezed into it, the truck headed down the road toward its destination. No one had any idea what was about to happen. Traveling up the winding mountain road, Ryan decided he would call ahead to advise Sheriff Palmer of their estimated time of arrival. As he lifted his cell phone to his ear … nothing. “Darn, I’m out of range,” he uttered in frustration.
Driving, LaVoy remarked, “We have company!” As they passed an intersecting dirt road, he’d noticed a dozen black vans and trucks with blacked-out windows and flashing red and blue lights pulling out behind his vehicle.
He slowed the truck, stopping in the middle of the road and Payne put both his hands out its front passenger window showing their mysterious visitors that he had no weapon. Immediately they heard a crackfrom behind them and the right passenger mirror shattered. He quickly jerked his hands back inside, realizing they were shooting at him.
LaVoy wasn’t having any of it. He leaned his head out the driver’s window and began shouting at the assailants.
“Shoot me, you shoot me. I’m going to meet the Sheriff; the Sheriff is waiting for us. So, you do as you damn well please; but I’m not going anywhere. Here I am.”
From a distance, a voice from behind them shouted the command to exit their vehicle.
“Who are you?!” Ryan bellowed out the left side rear passenger window. “Oregon State Police,” they shouted back.
“We should never have stopped. We should never have stopped.” Ryan stressed to LaVoy.
“I’m gonna keep goin’.” LaVoy replied.
“Okay get ... get down.” Ryan snapped at Shawna and Victoria, seated next to him.
LaVoy jammed the truck into gear, and as they sped off.
The black vehicles didn’t follow at first, their occupants instead, opening fire ‒ hitting the fleeing truck three or four times. But the attempted getaway only lasted for a few seconds. Just ahead, around a long bend in the highway, a roadblock of a dozen or more members of law enforcement awaited. Their vehicles and barricade materials blockaded the road surface, while these armed FBI agents and State Police positioned themselves behind and among them.
The trap was set, its victims lured in.
LaVoy, however, pointed his truck at the narrow, soft shoulder on the left, figuring that he could just barely fit the vehicle through ‒ between the barricade and the snow bank.
“Hang on!” he shouted.
Nearly simultaneously, Ryan barked, “Hey!” after being startled by a muzzle flash from around the roadblock. Two bullets pierced the cab of the truck at the window and roofline, while others hit the truck’s front grill and riddled the truck compartment. The passengers dropped to their knees on the floorboards.
As the truck careened to a stop, LaVoy jumped out the driver’s door while the truck was still under fire.
“Go ahead and shoot me. Shoot me! You’re gonna have to shoot me,” LaVoy shouted one more time. And they did, rapid the gunfire ensuing from many directions before stopping.
“Oh my God!” Victoria cried as she began to weep.
Removing his cowboy hat, like in old westerns, Ryan spied over the window frame, muttering, “I think they just killed LaVoy.” Then all hell broke loose once again with more bullets ripping through the truck.
“Why are they shooting us?” Victoria screamed.
“They’re hitting the windows. I don’t know. They’re trying to break out windows!” Shawna shouted through the noise. “Please protect us. Please protect us. Please protect us. We need help. We need help,” Shawna prayed, crying, as more and more explosions jolted the truck. Then, it became eerily quiet again.
“Come out of the left side door,” came the command from the outside. They’d had enough, they were trapped, and they knew it. Ryan climbed slowly out of the truck with hands raised. There, lying in the snow was LaVoy’s body ‒ lifeless ‒ face up toward the sky.
Victoria wept again. “He’s dead. LaVoy’s dead.”
With that, the assault ended.
The truck passengers were allowed to surrender.
Their decision probably saved their lives.
The story is true, condensed to its essentials here from the phone recording Shawna made of it in the truck, as it happened. And, as reported to this author by Ryan Bundy. The assault was perpetrated by law enforcement against Ryan Bundy, Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, Shawna Cox, Ryan Payne and Victoria Sharp.
If the name “Bundy” sounds familiar, it’s because Ryan Bundy is the son of Cliven Bundy, who rose to national prominence in 2014 during a standoff with Federal officials. This assault incident was just one chapter in an ongoing dispute that started in 1993, when Cliven Bundy declined to renew his permit for cattle grazing on Bureau of Land Management-administered public lands near Bunkerville, Nevada.
But there is much more to tell about the story of Cliven Bundy challenging the government’s authority over federal land … so, stay tuned.
Learn more about Cliven Bundy: American Terrorist Patriot or get your book copy here.
About Michael Stickler
Mike is an author, radio host, ex-felon, and a highly sought after motivational speaker. His best-selling book, A Journey to Generosity, is widely acclaimed throughout the Christian community. He is the publisher of Generous Living Magazine and writes for the Christian Post, 'A Generous Life' column. (MikeStickler.com)