Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Randy Weaver: Siege at Ruby Ridge

Negotiations

Colonel Bo Gritz (AP/Wide World)
Colonel Bo Gritz
(AP/Wide World)

As the days wore on, none of the maneuvers being employed by the "HRT" appeared to be working and they decided to try one last tactic. On Friday August 28, 1992, the FBI brought in Colonel Bo Gritz, in hopes that he might be able to negotiate with the Weaver family. The Washington Post at one time named Colonel Bo Gritz the "American Original" and The Atlanta Constitution had referred him to as a "Renaissance Green Beret". Decorated 62 times for valor during his combat service in Vietnam and elsewhere, Gritz became a prominent figure on the right-wing fringe after leading several unsuccessful commando-style missions to rescue alleged American POW's in Vietnam during the 1980s. He ran briefly for Vice President in 1988 and was currently running for president on the Populist Party ticket. Gritz was also the founder of several survivalist-oriented land developments, for the purpose of paramilitary boot camps. With close ties to both the anti-government movement and white supremacists, Gritz seemed to be the perfect nongovernmental negotiator.

When "HRT" Commander Richard Rogers met with Gritz, he informed him that a special operations group would launch a full-scale assault against the Weavers on Monday if Gritz could not negotiate surrender. With the weight of the situation seemingly on his own shoulders, Gritz was taken up to the cabin at approximately 5:00 p.m. Randy Weaver was well aware of who Bo Gritz was and had often times referred to him as the original "Rambo," so when Bo announced his presence outside the Weaver cabin, Randy agreed to speak with him through the door. Randy and his daughters told Gritz that they had developed an intense hatred for Fred Lanceley because of remarks directed to Vicki and questions he asked about what they were having for breakfast. Randy said that the remarks "Pissed them off," and strengthened their resolve. When informed of Kevin and Randy's current condition and the wounds they had both received the previous week, Gritz pleaded with Randy to let him get medical attention. Nonetheless, Randy quickly shot the idea down and stated that he would not leave the cabin under any circumstances.

Negotiations between Gritz and Randy continued again the next day and, after much persuading, Randy finally agreed to allow Gritz to step inside the cabin so that they could talk face to face. As the cabin door opened and Gritz made his way inside, he was immediately struck by the foul odor of death. Nearly seven days had passed since Vicki Weaver's death and it did not take Gritz long to find the origin of the horrendous odor. Lying on the kitchen floor, partially under a table, Gritz saw the body of Vicki protruding from a cloth, which had been placed over top of her. Gritz told Randy that Vicki's body should be removed and they should surrender, so that Kevin and Randy could get immediate medical attention. Randy, convinced that law enforcement personnel wanted to kill each of them, refused to surrender. But, he ultimately did agree to the removal of Vicki's body.

 

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