Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Randy Weaver: Siege at Ruby Ridge

An Unexpected Discovery

On Sunday morning, August 23, 1992, "HRT" Commander Richard Rogers took two teams of "HRT" personnel to the Weaver cabin in armored personnel carriers. Using a bullhorn, Rogers announced that there were arrest warrants for Randy Weaver and Kevin Harris and asked Randy to accept a negotiation telephone. Randy shouted back, "Get the f—k out of here," and made other statements that could not be understood. Rogers then delivered an ultimatum that if they did not come out, he would knock down the outbuildings and then start knocking down the house. Randy replied that he would not take the telephone.

Later that evening, armored personnel carriers began to destroy the outbuildings, such as the shed, and the water tanks, near the Weaver cabin. During the destruction of the shed, the body of Sammy Weaver was reportedly "unexpectedly" discovered. According to later statements by federal authorities, they were not aware of Sammy Weaver's death before the discovery and initially presumed that Randy had begun killing his own children.

The discovery of Sammy Weaver's body brought more aggressive tactical actions. The carriers destroyed every standing building around the cabin and placed high-powered spotlights around the entire perimeter, aiming them directly at the cabin. When the lights were turned on they were so bright that they were visible from over a mile away in any direction. As soon as the lights illuminated the cabin, Randy yelled out the door, "You killed my f—king wife!" Elisheba then began crying out, "Mama, Mama." Kevin Harris was in so much pain, that he began pleading with Randy to kill him and put him out of his misery.

The psychological warfare became even worse the following day. "Good morning Mrs. Weaver," Fred Lanceley, an FBI negotiator, called out. "We had pancakes this morning. And what did you have for breakfast? Why don't you send your children out for some pancakes, Mrs. Weaver?" Following the statements made by the negotiator, the whole family began sobbing loudly. The phone, which had been placed outside the cabin door, rang continuously every 15 minutes as the negotiator continued yelling through the bull horn, at times stating that if they failed to come out, they were all going to die. A robot was soon deployed in an attempt to take a telephone inside the cabin by breaking out a front window. Randy was convinced that the robot would use tear gas on them and shouted, "You'd f—king better back off," and stated that he would shoot the robot if it came any closer. Following his statements, the robot retreated and a negotiator began speaking again, "Vicki, how's the baby?" he said. "Let me know if there is anything that can be done for the baby."

As news of the Ruby Ridge casualties reached the press, the small group assembled at the bottom of the mountain began turning into a mob. Signs were held up to oncoming vehicles — "Death to Zog" and "Baby killers." Those present later stated that they had never seen such an angry crowd before in their life. At one point a group of heavily armed anti-government sympathizers were arrested as they made their way up the mountain to support the Weaver family.


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