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Radical involved in 11-day stand-off with federal agents at Ruby Ridge dies aged 74

By Rachel Sharp
AP1995

Randy Weaver, the radical figure at the centre of the infamous 11-day stand-off with federal agents at Ruby Ridge, has died at the age of 74.

Weaver’s daughter Sara Weaver announced her father’s death in a Facebook post on Thursday, revealing that he had passed away one day earlier.

“Love you always Dad,” she wrote, alongside a smiling photo of her with her father.

"See ya next time I see ya. January 3, 1948 - May 11, 2022.”

Ms Weaver, who survived the standoff that resulted in the deaths of her mother, brother and a government agent three decades ago, did not reveal her father’s cause of death.

Weaver gained national attention back in August 1992 over the deadly siege with FBI agents and US Marshals that fuelled the growth of anti-government extremists and militia groups in America and came eight months before a second botched standoff in Waco, Texas.

Weaver, a military veteran, had been the focus of federal investigation for some time over his suspected ties to white supremacist and anti-government groups.

He was then charged with selling illegal firearms to a government informant but skipped his trial, instead holing up with his family at their remote cabin at Ruby Ridge in the Idaho Panhandle.

On 21 August, US Marshals went to the remote area with a plan to ambush and arrest the fugitive.

But the agents caught the attention of Weaver’s dogs and he, his 14-year-old son Samuel and his friend Kevin Harris went into the woods searching for the cause of the alarm.

In the woods, Samuel and Mr Harris encountered some agents and a shootout broke out.

The 14-year-old boy and Deputy US Marshal William Degan were both shot and killed.

The following day, an FBI sniper then opened fire on Weaver, Harris, Ms Weaver and her mother Vicki Weaver who was carrying her baby at the time.

Vicki Weaver was shot in the head and died.

Weaver and Harris also suffered gunshot wounds but survived.

The surviving family members holed up in the house for another 10 days during which time far-right groups including Neo-Nazis descended on the area in support of Weaver.

The siege finally came to an end on 31 August 1992 when Weaver and the other survivors inside the house surrendered.

Altogether, three people died in the siege and the Weavers were later awarded $3.1m in a wrongful death lawsuit over the deaths of the boy and his mother.

Weaver was arrested and slapped with a string of charges including murder, conspiracy, and assault over the standoff.

He was acquitted of all charges except for his failure to appear in court on the original firearms charge and received 18 months in jail.

Mr Harris was also arrested and charged over the siege but was acquitted.

Eight months after the siege, 76 people were then killed in a 51-day siege at a compound in Waco, Texas.

The two standoffs together severely damaged the reputation of the FBI at the time and are widely believed to have led to a growth in anti-government extremism among the far right.

The terrorist behind the Oklahoma City bombing, Timothy McVeigh, said that both Ruby Ridge and Waco motivated him to carry out his 1995 attack that killed 168 people.

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Dive Deeper:
Attempted murder, fatal stabbing and an ex’s mystery ‘suicide’: Casey White’s long history with the law before jail breakout with prison guard lover
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