The Siege of Ruby Ridge

The Ruby Ridge Siege was an eleven-day siege on Randy Weaver, his wife and children, and his friend, Kevin Harris. Randy and his wife, Victoria “Vicki”, Weaver were both Iowa natives, Randy was born in Villisca, Montgomery County, Iowa. He went to high school at Jefferson High School and went to the Iowa Central Community College but dropped out in 1968. After he dropped out, he enlisted in the Army and fought in the Vietnam War as a Green Beret although it was only a support role. In 1970 he was honorably discharged by this time he was a sergeant. Vicki and Randy got married in 1971 in Fort Dodge, Iowa, Randy then enrolled at the University of Northern Iowa. His education there only lasted one semester because he had found a well-paying factory job for John Deere. Vicki was a very religious person were thought the apocalypse was imminent and for her family’s survival they moved to a 20-acre property in Ruby Ridge, Idaho in 1983. In 1988 Randy ran for Boundary County Sherriff. In 1989 Randy met Kenneth Fadeley, an undercover FBI agent, at a meeting for the Aryan Nations, a neo-Nazi group. Randy sold Kenneth 2 illegally sawed-off shotguns, and promised Kenneth 4 or 5 of these every week. In 1990, Illegal weapons charges were brought against Randy in connection to the deal in 1989.

                On April 21, 1992, the United States Marshals Service came to the Weaver residence to arrest Randy for not appearing in court. During the Marshal’s surveillance operation, a shootout with Sammy Weaver, Randy’s 14-year son, Kevin Harris, and the Weaver’s dog, Striker. The Marshalls shot and killed Striker, this resulted in Sammy becoming enraged and shotting at the marshals, the marshals shot and killed Sammy   Harris shot U.S. Marshall William Degan, later resulting in Degan’s death. The day after the shootout, April 22, FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi set up his position 200 yards north of the Weaver cabin. When Randy, Sara, and Harris went to visit Sammy’s dead body, Horiuchi shot Randy aiming for his spine but missed it. While Randy, Sara, and Harris ran back to the cabin, Harris was shot in the chest, this bullet went through Harris and killed Vicki while she was holding Elisheba, the Weavers’ 10-month-old baby.

                On April 23, the FBI attempted to negotiate with the Weaver’s, of course Randy was silent to the offers of negotiations. On the next day, Danny Coulson, FBI Deputy Assistant Director, wrote a letter to Vicki, not knowing she had been killed tow days prior, the note read as follows:

  1. Charge against Weaver is BS.
    2. No one saw Weaver do any shooting.
    3. Vicki has no charges against her.
    4. Weaver's defense. He ran down the hill to see what dog was barking at. Some guys in camys [camouflage] shot his dog. Started shooting at him. Killed his son. Harris did the shooting. He is in pretty strong legal position.

                The standoff was solved by Bo Gritz, a civilian negotiator. Gritz managed to get Harris to surrender, on April 30, even though Harris wanted Randy to “end his suffering”. Harris was transported to a hospital in Spokane, Washington. Weaver also allowed the Marshals to take Vicki’s body. Randy and his daughters surrendered the next day. Randy was brought to Boise, Idaho and given a medical evaluation. He was held at the Ada County Jail and had court date of September 1.

                Weaver was only charged with failing to the show up to his original court date for his weapon charges. He got 18 months and a $10,000 fine, but only served 16 months for good behavior. Harris was acquitted of all charges. Exactly five years after the siege Denise Woodbury indited him for the murder of Degan but was dismissed because of double jeopardy. In August of 1995, the US government gave the 3 Weaver Daughter $1,000,000 each and Randy $100,000.

                In 1995, Randy was interviewed by the New York Times and admitted that he was not without fault in the siege. In 1998, Randy published The Federal Siege at Ruby Ridge: In Our Own Words. In 1999, Randy married Linda Gross, in Jefferson, Iowa. In 2007, Randy denounced his religious beliefs during a press conference and stated, “I ain’t afraid of dying no more, I’m curious about the afterlife, and I’m an atheist.” Randy’s daughter Sara said he died May 11, 2022, at the age of 74, he was sick since mid-April, but no cause of death was given.

                I personally think that this siege was a terrible mistake, and that the government messed up in many ways, and that Randy got the charges he deserved. The FBI and US Marshals should not have escalated this situation by killing the Weavers’ dog.


Do you think that the killing of Sammy and Vicki Weaver were justified, why?

Do you think the raid was justified, why?

What should the Feds have done differently, if any thing?


Mug Shot of Randy Weaver

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  • Even thought ita a weel late, I appreciate youi doing this topic. Well done!!

  • I don't know much about this case so I don't know if the raid was justified or not. He was already breaking the law by being an illegal farmer so he should have been punished for that. I am not sure what the Feds should have done differently. 

    • I mostly agree, with this but the feds could have done multiple things differently to make sure innocent lives were not taken.

  • I haven't heard about this case until now so I'm unsure about whether the killing was justified. I don't know if the raid was justified either, but the Feds should have investigated more and got more evidence to prove him guilty/not guilty. I'm sure having more evidence for the case would've helped.

    • I disagree the feds had enough evidence to put Randy away for a long time, and that gathering more evidence wouldn't have helped in the raid.

  • I don't know anything about this case so I can't say if I think it was justified or not. But, if you have an illegal fire arm, police don't know what you're going to use it for. I personally dont know what the feds should have done differently.

    • I agree that having illegal weapons makes a raid justified, but the way they handled this raid was horrible.

  • I am not sure whether or not he should have had any charges in the first place. However, if you do have an illegal firearm in the first place, it IS ILLEGAL. I don't think that they should have been killed, however, if the government is so concerned about these people, they probably should be.

    • I disagree with government killing Sammy and Vicki because these two may have known what was going on, but the government had no evidence that the rest of the family had done anything.

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