Ryan Bundy Holds the Key
Burns Chronicles No 59
by Gary Hunt
August 30, 2017
On January 26, 2016, several people, in two private vehicles were on their way to a scheduled meeting John Day, Oregon. While in a forested area, with extremely poor, if not non-existent, cell phone coverage, they were set upon by modern day highwaymen (highwaymen were people who stopped travelers and robbed them). The driver and passengers of the second vehicle submitted to the demands of the heavily armed interlopers, at gunpoint, to leave the vehicle and sit on the side of the snow-covered roadway.
The driver second vehicle, a white pick-up truck, following the exit of one of the passengers, sped away, seeking the assistance of a peace officer, Sheriff Glenn Palmer, of Grant County, Oregon. However, within a couple of miles they found that the highwaymen had set up a barricade across the road, barring passage. The highwaymen, hidden behind their vehicles, began firing shots at the white truck. This forced the truck off the road, where some rather adept driving may have saved one of the highwaymen’s life, by swerving, at the last moment.
The truck then came to a stop, and the driver, LaVoy Finicum, exited. In the back seat were three people; Shawna Cox, Victoria Sharp, and Ryan Bundy. Bundy sat on the left and Cox on the right.
Having already been shot at, there was concern for the safety of the party. Finicum, in an effort to draw fire away from those still in the truck, began moving towards the rear and away from the truck.
There were lots of loud noises. Some from 40 mm projectiles of rubber bullets and tear gas (OSP recovered 13 40 mm casings), others from flash-bang type grenades. Included, however, were two shots that came from the left-rear of the truck. One hit the top of the truck and one broke the driver side rear window. The round that broke the window may well have hit the side of the truck, pressuring the window to break, and deflecting into the shoulder of Ryan Bundy. This is the more logical explanation, as the velocity of the bullet, absent any other external resistance, should have penetrated much further than the fleshy part of Bundy’s shoulder.
Now, this gets interesting since the Oregon State Police (OSP) had to account for shots fired, though they could not account for two shots. Shell casings were missing, and the rather perplexing task resulted in speculation regarding the bullet impact on the driver’s side of the truck. Their conclusion was that it must have come from the shooter that fired three shots as the white truck approached the highwaymen, as shown in this OSP exhibit:
The government tried to attribute the shot at the rear door to the three shots fired as the vehicle approached the barricade. However, this does not quite work, as if you look at the yellow line in the third image. You see that if it did hit the truck, it would be a glancing strike. It would have been deflected upon impact, and the initial point of impact would be the most damaged. Any additional damage would have been less, as the bullet was deflected away from the truck body. As you can see, the greater impact was on the right side of the gap between the door and frame.
We must consider the possibility that the shot came from the left rear of the truck, which was the location of the FBI HRT (Hostage Rescue Team) members, including FBI HRT SA W. Joseph Astarita. Its initial impact would be the greatest, then, if it dented the side of the truck sufficiently, it would possibly enter the door, itself, behind the sheet metal surface. Upon impacting the door bracket that holds the window in place, if it exerted pressure on that frame, it could cause sufficient pressure for the window, itself, to buckle, spewing out pieces of glass when it burst, as seen in the video (linked below), rather than a break because of a direct impact by a bullet.
That same bullet could then deflect off the door/window frame and enter Ryan Bundy’s shoulder moving upward into the fleshy part, from the rear of the shoulder, as Ryan had turned to the right, and had bent over in an effort to protect the women.
Now, the question is, is that a bullet in Ryan’s shoulder? Well, the medical records from Harney District Hospital, in Burns, where Ryan was taken after the highwaymen kidnapped him and the others, except LaVoy, who lay dead where he fell after being shot in the back three times. The hospital reports indicate that there was “oozing” bleeding from Ryan’s right shoulder. Some of the language used in various reports from the hospital includes a written notation, “… consistent with bullet fragment versus other metallic foreign bodies.” Then, in two typed reports, we find, ” INDICATIONS: Gunshot wound to right shoulder”, and ” INDICATIONS: penetrating gunshot wound”. So, based on the X ray and the medical reports made within hours of the shooting, there can be little doubt that the highwaymen shot Ryan Bundy.
Now, considering where the shot probably hit, LaVoy had just exited the truck, and Ryan Bundy had just leaned over to protect the women. It is obvious that the shooter did not hit his target; perhaps he flinched, or is just a bad shot. However, every indication is that Astarita was trying to murder either LaVoy Finicum or Ryan Bundy, or both.
Here is what appears to be the scenario that resulted in a bullet in Ryan Bundy’s shoulder:
Now, some will suggest that it was a bullet that shattered the window, as seen in the video of this moment in time. There are three versions:
Real Time (0:56)
Half Speed Slow Motion (1:51)
Quarter Speed Slow Motion (3:42)
Now, most people believe that the window that shattered was shattered when hit by a bullet. To put their minds to rest, when a bullet strikes a safety-glass window, it leaves a hole about the size of the projectile. Then there is a much-disrupted area of extremely shattered glass, though still bound by the plastic, usually just a few inches in diameter. Finally, there is some cracking outside of that radius.
Why is this so important? Well, Maxine Bernstein, Oregon Live, made the point in her recent article, “LaVoy Finicum Shooting: Prosecutors seeking missing shell casings, metal fragment from Ryan Bundy’s shoulder“, dated August 3, 2017. Maxine has covered the entire story, from the courtroom standpoint, from the beginning. In this article, she seems to have a little insight into what may be the defense’s strongest argument, a lack of evidence, when she wrote:
The case against an FBI agent charged with lying about firing two shots at Oregon standoff spokesman Robert “LaVoy” Finicum most likely will turn on expert testimony about the validity of the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office investigation, a defense lawyer said Thursday.
No one reported that they saw or heard agent W. Joseph Astarita fire and no direct evidence exists linking any bullet or shell casing to Astarita’s rifle, one of his lawyers said.
Prosecutors countered that the investigation continues and revealed for the first time that not only are shell casings from Astarita’s alleged shots missing, but so are shell casings from some of the Oregon State Police shots fired at the Jan. 26, 2016, roadblock.
Eight shots were fired. Six shell casings in roadway are all gone,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Pam Holsinger, chief of the Criminal Division in the Oregon U.S. Attorney’s Office. She didn’t elaborate. State troopers fired six of the eight shots, with the other two eventually linked to Astarita, investigators and prosecutors said.
Astarita is charged with three counts of making a false statement (18 US Code §1001) and two counts of obstruction of justice (18 US Code §1512(b)(3)). What he is not charged with is, though it has become apparent that he did in fact, attempt to murder LaVoy Finicum and/or Ryan Bundy. As indicated by Maxine’s article, the prosecution is suggesting that there is no evidence — not of murder, rather, that Astarita lied.
Astarita was first scheduled to stand trial beginning August 29. The trial was been designated :complex” (Yes, that is what they have done in both the Burns and Bunkerville trials) and rescheduled to February 27, 2018.
The roof shot was a shot taken at an occupied vehicle, a criminal offense under state law. The door shot, described above, was taken while LaVoy was still just outside of his door and Ryan was huddled over Victoria Sharp. The shot was fired just between the two of them, indicating that in Astarita’s haste, he simply missed his mark.
Back on March 5, 1770, the King’s soldiers fired on and killed five people. They stood trial before a jury of citizens, though were found not guilty because they had a right to self-defense. However, both the laws and the people had a right to determine what they government could do, and what it could not do.
On January 26, 2016, a government “soldier” (armed with military grade weapon and accoutrements) attempted to kill, or at least, recklessly endangered the occupants of the white truck. He is not charged with such a crime, even though one of the occupants sustained a gunshot wound. Instead, he is charged with being dishonest and impeding an investigation. That would never have happened if we were still under the King. Instead, we have the hens (the United States Attorney and the FBI) guarding the foxhouse (the FBI), so, well, we know, now, just how this may end.
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