Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Randy Weaver: Siege at Ruby Ridge


When the Weavers learned of the arrest warrant, they were outraged and convinced that it was a government conspiracy against them. They vowed that they would never again set foot off their mountain. They were at war now, and the federal government was their prime enemy. Vicki began writing letters to government agencies peppered with phrases like "The tyrant's blood shall flow" and "Whether we live or die we will not obey you...war is upon our land." For the next 16 months, the Weavers stayed atop their mountain and survived off the land. No one, not even the children, ever left the house unarmed. During this time Vicki became pregnant again and on October 24, 1991, Randy delivered a healthy baby girl, which they named Elisheba Anne Weaver, which translates to "El is my savior." There was no birth certificate and only a single log in Vicki's Bible recorded the birth.

As the Weaver family awaited a showdown with the government, the US Marshals began making plans to send in a Special Operations Group or "SOG," a voluntary unit in the Marshals Service specifically trained to handle dangerous or complex matters. The marshals wanted the SOG unit to gather intelligence information on the Weavers' cabin and to try and determine a weakness, which would cause Randy Weaver to leave his home. Following jet reconnaissance overflights of Ruby Ridge and the placement of high-resolution video equipment that recorded activity by the Weaver family from sites one and a 1/2 miles away, SOG Deputy Commander Louis E. Stagg briefed Commander John Haynes and Idaho's U.S. Attorney Maurice Ellsworth about his findings. Stagg recommended against a tactical assault on the Weaver compound and recommended that the indictment be dismissed and the files sealed. Stagg then requested an opportunity to present his findings to Chief Judge Ryan, however Ellsworth refused the request. Stagg then said that this "was the worse (sic) situation he had seen in 23 years."

Deepcreek location where agents congregated (David Lohr)
Deepcreek location where agents congre-
gated (David Lohr)

The SOG team set forth its final findings in a Law Enforcement Operations Order, which portrayed the situation as exceedingly difficult and Randy Weaver as "extremely dangerous and suicidal." The team concluded that the Weavers had been looking for a war with law enforcement and that Randy had most likely established numerous fortifications and defensive positions on his property. It is also concluded that since Randy was a former Green Beret, he had probably placed booby traps or command-detonated explosive devices throughout the property.

On March 4, 1992, Chief Deputy Marshal Ronald Evans and Deputy Marshal Jack Cluff decided to drive up the mountain road leading to the Weaver cabin. They were in plain clothes and rode in an unmarked four-wheel drive vehicle. As the two men made their way up to the Weavers', they saw signs reading, "White Power is Supreme" and "Bow Down to Yahweh." Cluff and Evans then saw Randy Weaver, armed with a rifle, and a boy and a girl, also armed, standing above them on a rock formation. When Randy informed them that they were trespassing, the two marshals said that they were interested in buying property. Randy told them to return with a realtor. Cluff and Evans left. It was then determined that additional reconnaissance would be necessary.


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