Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Randy Weaver: Siege at Ruby Ridge

Fata Decisions

Soon after its arrival, the OP team, equipped with a spotting scope, a still camera, and a 8mm video camera, began to observe activity around the cabin. The marhalls saw Sammy Weaver and Kevin Harris conduct what appeared to be a security check around the cabin. The Weavers' dogs began barking, however Randy came out of the house and yelled at the dogs to "shut up." At about 9:00 a.m., Roderick Cooper, and Degan joined the other marshals at the observation post and both teams discussed their observations.

Keven Harris (AP/Wide World)
Keven Harris
(AP/Wide World)

The OP team reported that members of the Weaver family had run to the outcropping several times in reaction to the dogs' barking. Norris stated that he had seen Harris with a long gun, Sammy with a side arm and a long gun, Randy with a long gun, and Sara with a side arm in a holster. The Recon team stayed at the observation post briefly and watched the Weaver family with their spotter scopes. The men discussed different approaches to the property and the layout of the compound, including the various outbuildings and their possible purposes. Roderick wanted to show Cooper and Degan a spot he determined to be a good location for a "counter-sniper" for a possible undercover operation. The three men then crawled to the spot, which was near a large rock embedded in a hill some 250 yards from the Weavers' cabin. Roderick and Cooper then left Degan behind and made their way down to another rock about 50 yards below the first rock. They determined that this point lined up perfectly with the base of the Weaver driveway, approximately 100 yards away.

It was at this time that Roderick decided to toss some rocks to see if the dogs would react. He threw a total of two rocks and noted that there was no reaction from the dogs or the Weaver family. About 15 minutes later, Roderick and Cooper rejoined Degan and the three backtracked to the "switchback" road. Roderick then decided to take Cooper and Degan closer to the house to collect more data on the Weavers' cabin and surrounding buildings. Since no members of the Weaver family were outside, Roderick Cooper and Degan moved in closer to the cabin. Sensing their presence, the Weavers' dogs began barking frantically, thus alerting the Weavers of a possible threat. Randy came running out of the cabin, followed by Kevin Harris, Sammy Weaver, Sara Weaver, and Rachel Weaver. All of them were armed and looking around the cabin to see what was going on.

Roderick presumed that the Weavers would take defensive positions and instructed Cooper and Degan to take cover. Hunt immediately radioed Roderick and informed him that the situation appeared to be "a typical vehicle response" by the Weavers. Nonetheless, his assessment quickly changed. Rather than taking defensive positions at the rock outcropping, the Weavers began jogging down the driveway. Hunt warned Roderick, "You've got them all coming down the drive." Roderick then saw a large Labrador retriever running toward his position, followed by an armed Kevin Harris.

What happened next was not immediately clear. In the following two chapters we shall look at the accounts as those involved in the confrontation later described them.


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