Randy Weaver, participant in Ruby Ridge standoff, dies at age 74

Randy Weaver, participant in Ruby Ridge standoff, dies at age 74

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Randy Weaver, patriarch of a family involved in an 11-day standoff with federal agents in Idaho 30 years ago that left three dead, has died at the age of 74.

His death was announced Thursday in a Facebook post by daughter Sara Weaver, who lives near Kalispell, Montana.

“Love you always Dad” read Sara Weaver’s Facebook page, posted with a picture of an older Randy and a smiling Sara along with the dates January 3, 1948 and May 11, 2022.

A cause of death was not released, according to the Associated Press.

Randy Weaver holds the door of his cabin, which has holes in it from bullets fired during the 1992 siege of his home in Ruby Ridge, Idaho, model left, during testimony before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Capitol Hill in Washington March 6, 2007. Sep 1995.

Randy Weaver holds the door of his cabin, which has holes in it from bullets fired during the 1992 siege of his home in Ruby Ridge, Idaho, model left, during testimony before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Capitol Hill in Washington March 6, 2007. Sep 1995.
(AP Photo/Joe Marquette, file)

On August 21, 1992, Randy Weaver, a self-proclaimed white separatist, was involved in a gun battle with six federal agents in Ruby Ridge. The altercation had Weaver’s wife Vicki and 14-year-old son Samuel killed by an FBI sniper during the 11-day standoff.

The standoff was in the Idaho Panhandle about 40 miles south of the Canadian border.

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The incident shook the nation in 1992.

Randy Weaver moved his family to north Idaho in the 1980s to escape what he saw as corrupt. Over time, federal agents began investigating the Army veteran for possible ties to white supremacists and anti-government groups. Weaver was eventually suspected of selling two illegal sawed-off shotguns to a government informant.

White Separatist Randy Weaver is sworn in on Capitol Hill in Washington September 6, 1995 before testifying before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee.

White Separatist Randy Weaver is sworn in on Capitol Hill in Washington September 6, 1995 before testifying before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee.
(AP Photo/Joe Marquette, file)

The standoff began when the US Marshall Service attempted to arrest Weaver for failing to appear on a firearms arraignment.

To avoid arrest, Weaver holed up with his family on his land near Naples, Idaho, for a year and a half.

On August 21, 1992, a team of marshals showed up at the property to find suitable locations for an ambush and arrest. Weaver ran into his friend Kevin Harris and Weaver’s 14-year-old son, Samuel, in the woods. A shootout ensued. Deputy US Marshal William Degan was also killed.

The next day, an FBI sniper shot Randy Weaver. As Weaver, Harris, and Sara ran back to the house, the sniper fired a second bullet that went through Vicki Weaver’s head as she was holding a child, wounding Harris in the chest.

During the siege, Sara Weaver crawled around her mother’s blanket-covered body to retrieve food and water for the survivors until the family surrendered on August 31, 1992.

Harris and Randy Weaver were arrested, and Weaver’s three daughters moved to live with their mother’s family in Iowa.

Randy Weaver was sentenced to 18 months in prison on the original gun charge, but was released after 16 months on good behavior charges. Harris was acquitted of all charges.

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The surviving members of the Weaver family filed a wrongful death lawsuit. In 1995, the federal government awarded Randy Weaver a $100,000 settlement and his three daughters $1 million each.

After Ruby Ridge, federal agents laid siege to the Branch Davidian estate in Waco, Texas. It ended violently after 51 days on April 19, 1993, when a fire devastated the compound after an attack was launched, killing 76 people.

Timothy McVeigh cited both Ruby Ridge and Waco as motivators when he bombed the federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995. Ruby Ridge has since been widely cited by militia and patriot groups.

Randy Weaver, the target of the Siege of Ruby Ridge, attends the main FBI roadblock in front of the Freemen compound in Montana with the media on April 27, 1996.

Randy Weaver, the target of the Siege of Ruby Ridge, attends the FBI’s main roadblock in front of the Freemen compound in Montana with the media on April 27, 1996.
(AP Photo/Jim Mone, file)

Randy Weaver talks to a reporter about his book on Tuesday, June 9, 1998 in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

Randy Weaver talks to a reporter about his book on Tuesday, June 9, 1998 in Fort Dodge, Iowa.
(Renee Dietrich/The Messenger via AP, file)

Sara Weaver lives near Kalispell, Montana, a northwestern town that is the gateway to Glacier National Park and more than 100 miles east of Ruby Ridge.

Sara Weaver said she is devastated every time someone commits an act of violence on behalf of Ruby Ridge. “It killed me inside,” she told The Associated Press in 2012 of the Oklahoma City bombing. “I knew what it was like to lose a family member to violence. I don’t wish that on anyone.”

After graduating from high school in Iowa, Sara Weaver moved to the Kalispell area in 1996. Her sisters and father followed shortly thereafter.

She was back in Ruby Ridge, on land her family still owns. All that remains of the family’s modest home is the foundation, she said.

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Randy Weaver is survived by his wife Linda Gross, whom he married in 1999, and daughters Sara, Rachel and Elisheba.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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