Randy Weaver, participant in Ruby Ridge clash, dies at 74

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SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Randy Weaver, patriarch of a family embroiled in an 11-day standoff in Idaho with federal agents 30 years ago that left three people dead and helped grow anti-government extremists, died at the age of 74.

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

“I still love you Dad” was written on Sara Weaver’s Facebook page, posted with a photo of an older Randy and a smiling Sara, along with the dates January 3, 1948 and May 11, 2022.

Sara Weaver did not immediately return Facebook messages and email inquiries. Details of Randy Weaver’s death were not immediately available.

The standoff in the mountains near Ruby Ridge in the Idaho Panhandle transfixed the nation in August 1992.

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

To avoid arrest, Weaver holed up on his land near Naples, Idaho.

On August 21, 1992, a team of U.S. Marshals scouting the forest to find suitable locations to ambush and arrest Weaver encountered his friend, Kevin Harris, and Weaver’s 14-year-old son, Samuel, in the wood. A shootout broke out. Samuel Weaver and U.S. Deputy Marshal William Degan were killed.

The next day, an FBI sniper shot Randy Weaver. As Weaver, Harris and Sara ran home, the sniper fired a second bullet, which went through Vicki Weaver’s head as she was holding a baby and injured Harris in the chest.

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

Harris and Randy Weaver were arrested, and Weaver’s three daughters went to live with their mother’s family in Iowa. Randy Weaver was acquitted of the most serious charges and Harris was acquitted of all charges.

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

“Ruby Ridge was the first kick-start to a new era of anti-government hatred unseen since the Civil War,” said Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center in a 2012 interview on the 20th anniversary of the headquarters.

After Ruby Ridge, federal agents besiege the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas. It ended violently after 51 days on April 19, 1993, when a fire destroyed the compound after an assault was launched, killing 76 people.

Timothy McVeigh cited both Ruby Ridge and Waco as motivations when he bombed the Oklahoma City Federal Building in 1995. Since then, Ruby Ridge has often been cited by militias and patriot groups.

In the 30 years since the standoff, Ruby Ridge has remained a rallying cry for anti-government extremists. Spokesperson-Review reported that Weaver remained popular among white supremacists and extremists in the years following the standoff, and was often seen selling his book, “The Federal Siege at Ruby Ridge.” , at gun and survivalist shows.

Sara Weaver lives near Kalispell, Montana, a town in the northwest of the state 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 a violent act in Ruby Ridge’s name. “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 wouldn’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 soon after.

She returned to Ruby Ridge, to the land her family still owns. All that remains of the family’s modest home is the foundation, she said.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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