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On August 22 1993, an FBI agent began shooting at Randy Weaver's cabin in Idaho, igniting the start of an 11-day siege, known as "Ruby Ridge."
Randy Weaver, along with friend Kevin Harris, began resisting arrest a year prior. After he failed to appear in court on firearms charges, US Marshals surrounded his home. On this day, a siege began which ultimately resulted in the deaths of Deputy US Marshal William Francis Degan, 42, the Weavers' 14-year-old son Samuel and 43-year-old wife Vicki as well as a Weaver family dog. In the end, Weaver, Harris and the surviving children surrendered.
The standoff became a media sensation, and supporters of the Weaver family gathered near the Weaver home during the standoff. One such supporter was Timothy McVeigh, who was later convicted of killing 168 in the Oklahoma City bombing two years later. He claimed that "Ruby Ridge" inspired him to bomb the government building.
Both Weaver and Harris were arraigned on federal criminal charges, including first-degree murder of Degan. Harris was acquitted of all charges, and Weaver was acquitted of all charges except for the original weapons violation and its related missed court date. During the men’s criminal trial, Weaver's attorney accused the FBI, ATF and other involved organizations of "criminal wrongdoing." Both the Weaver family and Harris brought civil suits against the government over the siege. The Weavers collected an out-of-court settlement for $3.1 million and Harris was awarded a $380,000 settlement. Starting in 1991, U.S. Marshals developed a Threat Source Profile on Randy Weaver which was later criticized in a 1995 report by a subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee. It was found that the report exaggerated the dangers that Weaver was capable of.
Pictured above: Randy Weaver (center) shows a model of his Ruby Ridge, Idaho cabin to Republican US Senator Arlen Specter.
[Photo: Getty Images]
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