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LaVoy Finicum funeral in Kanab has mourners, criticisms, armed guards

LaVoy Finicum funeral in Kanab has mourners, criticisms, armed guards

Matthew Piper | Salt Lake Trib

LaVoy Finicum was a quiet, soft-spoken man whose ideal funeral might have been a small gathering of family.

This, according to his daughter, Arianna Brown, cornered by a phalanx of cameras Friday as she dug her black heels into the roadside mud. Across the street, armed men patrolled the entrances of the church parking lot. As Brown spoke, a nearby man put in, "This is what the federal government does."

Between 600 and 700 people descended upon Kanab to pay respects to the family of Finicum, killed by law enforcement a day shy of his 55th birthday after three weeks occupying an eastern Oregon federal wildlife refuge.

Floyd Farnsley, a retired letter carrier who drove up with a friend from Peoria, Ariz., said he could explain his presence in one word.

"Freedom."

Brown, a 26-year-old who lives in Glendale, Ariz., said she remembers her father for the family board games he would play until late in the night, and for never missing his children's basketball games, even if he might bring along a book about the Founding Fathers.

Some knew Finicum only vaguely as a resident of Fredonia, Ariz., one of the small communities that dot the vast, arid region. Some had never met him, knowing him as the spokesman for a small group of activists who say the federal government's ownership of Western lands violates their Constitutional rights.

But Finicum will be more broadly remembered for his role in the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and his death, filmed by an FBI plane: Finicum, having veered into a snowbank to avoid a roadblock and narrowly missing a law enforcement officer, runs through the show with his hands at first held up, then appears twice to reach toward what the FBI would later say was a 9mm handgun.

He's shot an unknown number of times and falls into the snow, dead.

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