Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc./Kenny Chmielewski

The site of the Ruby Ridge incident of Aug. 1992.

Ruby Ridge

Ruby Ridge” is a place right near the Canadian border in northern Idaho which was the site of a grisly incident in August of 1992.

Our story begins with a Randy Weaver, a not-so-charming, illegal arms dealing, and white supremacist doomsday prepper living with his wife and three daughters in a cabin he built in the woods near Ruby Ridge in 1983. Randy befriended an ATF informant, and stupidly sold him two illegal (too short) sawed-off shotguns. When Weaver refused the ATF agents’ offer to become an informant to dodge prison time, the ATF filed an illegal weapons charge against him. He failed to appear for his trial hearing, and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

The ATF believed (emphasis on “believed”) that he would not allow himself to be arrested, so a federal strike team was sent to his home. Weaver’s dog noticed the agents, and was shot dead. A shootout ensued between the agents and Weaver’s 14-year-old son Sammy who was also shot dead. After this, the FBI was dispatched, helicopters and all. 

One day after the shooting, on August 22, FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi fired a shot at Weaver because he thought Weaver would fire on a helicopter. Randy was struck in the arm, and a second shot was fired, missing Weaver, but striking his wife, Vicki Weaver in the face while she was holding her infant daughter, killing her instantly. Vicki Weaver’s body was left in the house for 11 days during the siege.

After this, Randy Weaver as well as his friend Kevin Harris surrendered, and were both charged with a shopping list of crimes, including murder, assualt, and conspriacy. Harris was acquitted by a jury, but Weaver spent 18 months in jail after being convicted of just the original weapons charge. The FBI sniper, Lon Horiuchi was charged with manslaughter, but a federal court rendered him immune to prosecution in all forms.

If you’re really interested, this link can provide you with pages and pages of the whole story, and tells it better than I can.

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