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FBI agents at shooting of Arizona rancher are under investigation

(AP Photo)

PHOENIX — FBI agents who were at the fatal shooting of an Arizona rancher at the Oregon standoff were being investigated by the Justice Department for possibly lying about their involvement.

The Office of the Inspector General said the inquiry focused on the agents’ “connection with the shooting.” Agents had not previously told superiors they had fired shots during a Jan. 26 confrontation on a rural highway between Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, of Cane, Arizona and law enforcement.

The office said in a statement it would “disclose our findings” when the investigation was completed.

The Oregonian reported that one agent may have shot twice at Fincium, and that other agents possibly helped in a cover-up.

Deschutes County Sheriff L. Shane Nelson said neither of the federal agents hit the 55-year-old. Finicum had been one of the anti-government activists who took over a national wildlife preserve nears Burns, Oregon, in protest of federal land policies.

Authorities said Oregon State troopers shot and killed Finicum. Malheur County District Attorney Dan Norris said all six shots fired by the state troopers were justified.

Shortly after the shooting, officials said they were unsure how many rounds had been fired.

Still, Nelson said the FBI was concerned agents on the scene didn’t mention they had also fired their weapons.

The U.S. Justice Department said in a statement it was investigating the FBI agents’ actions during the confrontation with Finicum.

The FBI had released video of the shooting, which happened three weeks after a group of men assumed control of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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