Oregon arrests: Dead occupier LaVoy Finicum was dad of 11

1 Dead as Oregon Occupation Leaders Ammon and Ryan Bundy, Others, Arrested

A cowboy-hat-wearing Mormon rancher who died during the arrests of his fellow Oregon occupiers on Tuesday night had vowed weeks ago never to be taken alive by authorities.

READ MORE: 1 killed as FBI arrests leader of Ore. standoff

LaVoy Finicum, one of the protesters' de facto spokesmen, died after shots were fired when police stopped the group on Highway 395 as they headed to a public meeting. Five of his cohorts were arrested at the scene, officials said.

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Ranching dispute in Oregon; protesters take over National Wildlife Refuge
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Oregon arrests: Dead occupier LaVoy Finicum was dad of 11
KANAB, UT - FEBRUARY 5: A man holds a flag as two armed private security guards look on outside a Mormon church for the funeral of rancher Robert 'LaVoy' Finicum on February 5, 2016 in Kanab, Utah. Finicum who was part of the Burns, Oregon standoff with federal officials was shot and killed by FBI agents when they tried to detain him at a traffic stop on February 27, 2016. ( Photo by George Frey/Getty Images
Law enforcement personnel monitor an intersection of closed Highway 395 in Burns, Oregon on January 26, 2016, during a standoff pitting an anti-government militia against the US authorities. One person died in an armed clash with police as they arrested the leaders of a group laying siege to an American wildlife refuge, the FBI said January 26. AFP PHOTO / ROB KERR / AFP / ROB KERR (Photo credit should read ROB KERR/AFP/Getty Images)
Duane Ehmer rides his horse Hellboy at the occupied Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on the sixth day of the occupation of the federal building in Burns, Oregon on January 7, 2016. The leader of a small group of armed activists who have occupied a remote wildlife refuge in Oregon hinted on Wednesday that the standoff may be nearing its end. AFP PHOTO / ROB KERR / AFP / ROB KERR (Photo credit should read ROB KERR/AFP/Getty Images)
Duane Ehmer rides his horse Hellboy at the occupied Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on the sixth day of the occupation of the federal building in Burns, Oregon on January 7, 2016. The leader of a small group of armed activists who have occupied a remote wildlife refuge in Oregon hinted on Wednesday that the standoff may be nearing its end. AFP PHOTO / ROB KERR / AFP / ROB KERR (Photo credit should read ROB KERR/AFP/Getty Images)
BURNS, OR - JANUARY 07: A member of an anti-government militia stands next to a campfire outside of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters on January 7, 2016 near Burns, Oregon. An armed anti-government militia group continues to occupy the Malheur National Wildlife Headquarters as they protest the jailing of two ranchers for arson. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
BURNS, OR - JANUARY 07: A man wearing a patriotic jacket rides his horse on the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on January 7, 2016 near Burns, Oregon. An armed anti-government militia group continues to occupy the Malheur National Wildlife Headquarters as they protest the jailing of two ranchers for arson. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Members of an armed anti-government militia, monitor the entrance to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters near Burns, Oregon January 5, 2016. The occupation of a wildlife refuge by armed protesters in Oregon reflects a decades-old dispute over land rights in the United States, where local communities have increasingly sought to take back federal land. While the standoff in rural Oregon was prompted by the jailing of two ranchers convicted of arson, experts say the issue at the core of the dispute runs much deeper and concerns grazing or timber rights as well as permits to work mines on government land in Western states. AFP PHOTO / ROB KERR / AFP / ROB KERR (Photo credit should read ROB KERR/AFP/Getty Images)
BURNS, OR - JANUARY 05: Members of an anti-government militia stand outside of a building at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters on January 5, 2016 near Burns, Oregon. An armed anti-government militia group continues to occupy the Malheur National Wildlife Headquarters as they protest the jailing of two ranchers for arson. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Ammon Bundy(2nd-L), leader of an armed anti-government militia, returns to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters near Burns, Oregon January 5, 2016 following a news conference. The occupation of a wildlife refuge by armed protesters in Oregon reflects a decades-old dispute over land rights in the United States, where local communities have increasingly sought to take back federal land. While the standoff in rural Oregon was prompted by the jailing of two ranchers convicted of arson, experts say the issue at the core of the dispute runs much deeper and concerns grazing or timber rights as well as permits to work mines on government land in Western states. AFP PHOTO / ROB KERR / AFP / ROB KERR (Photo credit should read ROB KERR/AFP/Getty Images)
BURNS, OR - JANUARY 05: Ammon Bundy, the leader of an anti-government militia, speaks to members of the media in front of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters on January 5, 2016 near Burns, Oregon. An armed anti-government militia group continues to occupy the Malheur National Wildlife Headquarters as they protest the jailing of two ranchers for arson. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
BURNS, OR - JANUARY 05: A view of the visitor center at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters on January 5, 2016 near Burns, Oregon. An armed anti-government militia group continues to occupy the Malheur National Wildlife Headquarters as they protest the jailing of two ranchers for arson. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
BURNS, OR - JANUARY 05: A member of an anti-government militia stands outside of a building at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters on January 5, 2016 near Burns, Oregon. An armed anti-government militia group continues to occupy the Malheur National Wildlife Headquarters as they protest the jailing of two ranchers for arson. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Ammon Bundy, the leader of armed protesters who have taken over a federal building in rural Oregon, told TODAY Monday that the group has no intention of committing violence unless the government intervenes.

Photo courtesy: NBC News

Members of a small militia at the entrance to the Malheur Wildlife Refuge Headquarters property some 30 miles from Burns, Oregon, January 3, 2016. The armed anti-government group have taken over a building at the federal wildlife refuge, accusing officials of unfairly punishing ranchers who refused to sell their land. The standoff has prompted some schools to call off classes for the entire week. AFP PHOTO / ROB KERR / AFP / ROB KERR (Photo credit should read ROB KERR/AFP/Getty Images)
Deserted N. Broadway Avenue in Burns, Oregon is seen January 3, 2016, where 30 miles away a militia group has occupied the Malheur Wildlife Headquarters complex. Anti-government militiamen from several US states continued to occupy the federal wildlife facility in Oregon, saying their protest against the jailing of two ranchers could last years, media reported. AFP PHOTO / ROB KERR / AFP / ROB KERR (Photo credit should read ROB KERR/AFP/Getty Images)
A vehicle occupied by members of a small militia group enter the Malheur Wildlife Refuge Headquarters property some 30 miles from Burns, Oregon, January 3, 2016. The armed anti-government group have taken over a building at the federal wildlife refuge, accusing officials of unfairly punishing ranchers who refused to sell their land. The standoff has prompted some schools to call off classes for the entire week. AFP PHOTO / ROB KERR / AFP / ROB KERR (Photo credit should read ROB KERR/AFP/Getty Images)
Media gather outside the entrance of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge Headquarters near Burns, Oregon, January 3, 2016, where an armed anti-government group have taken over a building at the federal wildlife refuge, accusing officials of unfairly punishing ranchers who refused to sell their land. The standoff has prompted some schools to call off classes for the entire week. AFP PHOTO / ROB KERR / AFP / ROB KERR (Photo credit should read ROB KERR/AFP/Getty Images)
Patric Batie, 14, walks along a road in Burns, Oregon, January 3, 2016, some 30 miles from the Malheur National Wildlife Headquarters where a group of armed anti-government protesters have taken over a building at the federal wildlife refuge, accusing officials of unfairly punishing ranchers who refused to sell their land. The standoff has prompted some school to call off classes for the entire week. AFP PHOTO / ROB KERR / AFP / ROB KERR (Photo credit should read ROB KERR/AFP/Getty Images)
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Oregon State Police said an investigation was being carried out into what it described as a "officer-involved shooting," following protocols used "when deadly physical force is used." The FBI and state police said they had conducted "enforcement action" along the highway at around 4:25 p.m. local time (7:25 p.m. ET).

Authorities would not confirm Finicum's death but his daughter Challice Finch told NBC News that she had been notified by another protester.

Robert LaVoy

Finicum was a Mormon rancher from Arizona who had 11 children, 19 grandchildren and a wife of 23 years.

During the occupation, the 54-year-old broke away from the rest of the group and set up a one-man camp on a chair outside the building, hunkered down under a sleeping bag, a tarpaulin, and clutching his rifle in the bitter January air.

Finicum vowed three weeks ago that he would rather die than be taken into custody.

"There are things more important than your life and freedom is one of them," he told MSNBC from his makeshift post. "I'm prepared to defend freedom."

Watch more coverage:

There Are Things More Important Than Your Life: LaVoy Finicum

Finch, one of Finicum's 11 kids, told NBC News late Tuesday the protesters "were all committed to not firing on federal agents."

The group seized Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on January 2 in the wake of a protest in the nearby town of Burns against the imprisonment of two ranchers convicted of setting fires on government land.

They vowed to stay there until federally owned land was returned "back to the people."

In the early days of the occupation, Finicum hinted that he was keen for a swift end to the dispute.

"I need to get home," he said. "I got cows that are scattered and lost."

READ MORE: Oregon protesters find support and scorn on social media

Some of the protesters said that there had been negotiations with the FBI. Finicum said in an interview with The Oregonian newspaper a day before his death that "the tenor has changed, [law enforcement] have become more hardened."

He added: "They're doing all the things that show they want to take some kinetic action against us, and we're saying, 'Why be so unfriendly?'"

Watch more coverage:

Oregon Protester's Anger at Occupation Death and Arrests

According to Finch, the group was traveling to the town of John Day, where some of them had been due to appear at a public meeting Tuesday night.

Five people were arrested, one of whom was injured and later discharged from hospital and taken into custody, according to a joint statement by the FBI and state police. Two were arrested in a separate but related incident and one person turned themselves in later Tuesday, it added.

All the suspects face federal felony charges of conspiracy to impede federal officers from discharging their official duties through the use of force, intimidation or threats, authorities said.

It was unclear how many protesters remained in the federal wildlife refuge. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown asked for "patience as officials continue pursuit of a swift and peaceful resolution."

The Bundys are sons of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who was involved in a high-profile 2014 standoff with the government over grazing rights.

The other three highway arrests were Brian Cavalier, 44, of Bunkerville, Nevada; Shawna Cox, 59, of Kanab, Utah; and Ryan Waylen Payne, 32, of Anaconda, Montana.

Joseph Donald O'Shaughnessy, 45, of Cottonwood, Arizona, and Peter Santilli, 50, of Cincinnati, were arrested later in separate but related incidents, the FBI said.

Later Tuesday night, another member of the group, Jon Eric Ritzheimer, 32, turned himself in at the Peoria, Arizona, Police Department, the FBI said.

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