Randy Weaver, the object of the Ruby Ridge siege, visits with the media at the main FBI roadblock outside the Freemen compound in Montana on April 27, 1996. Weaver, patriarch of a family that were involved in an 11-day Idaho standoff in 1992 with federal agents that left three people dead and served as a spark for the growth of anti-government extremists, has died at the age of 74. (AP Photo/Jim Mone, File)

Randy Weaver, the object of the Ruby Ridge siege, visits with the media at the main FBI roadblock outside the Freemen compound in Montana on April 27, 1996. Weaver, patriarch of a family that were involved in an 11-day Idaho standoff in 1992 with federal agents that left three people dead and served as a spark for the growth of anti-government extremists, has died at the age of 74. (AP Photo/Jim Mone, File)

Randy Weaver, participant in Ruby Ridge standoff, dies at 74

The 11-day standoff in the Idaho Panhandle mountains transfixed the nation in August of 1992.

By Nicholas K. Geranios / Associated Press

SPOKANE — Randy Weaver, patriarch of a family that was involved in an 11-day Idaho standoff with federal agents 30 years ago that left three people dead and helped spark the growth of anti-government extremists, has died at the age of 74.

His death was announced Thursday in a Facebook post by daughter Sara Weaver, who lives near Kalispell, Montana, a city in the northwestern part of the state that is the gateway to Glacier National Park and more than 100 miles east of Ruby Ridge.

“Love you always Dad” was written on Sara Weaver’s Facebook page, posted with a picture of an older Randy and a smiling Sara, along with the dates Jan. 3, 1948, and May 11, 2022.

Sara Weaver did not immediately return Facebook messages and email requests for information. Details of Randy Weaver’s death were not immediately available.

The standoff in the mountains near Ruby Ridge in the Idaho Panhandle transfixed the nation in August of 1992.

Randy Weaver moved his family to northern Idaho in the 1980s to escape what he saw as a corrupt world. Over time, federal agents began investigating the Army veteran for possible ties to white supremacist and anti-government groups. Weaver was eventually suspected of selling a government informant two illegal sawed-off shotguns.

To avoid arrest, Weaver holed up on his land near Naples, Idaho.

On Aug. 21, 1992, a team of U.S. marshals scouting the forest to find suitable places to ambush and arrest Weaver came across his friend, Kevin Harris, and Weaver’s 14-year-old son Samuel in the woods. A gunfight broke out. Samuel Weaver and Deputy U.S. Marshal William Degan were killed.

The next day, an FBI sniper shot Randy Weaver. As Weaver, Harris and Sara ran back toward the house, the sniper fired a second bullet, which passed through Vicki Weaver’s head as she held an infant and wounded Harris in the chest.

During the siege, Sara Weaver crawled around her mother’s blanket-covered body to get food and water for the survivors until the family surrendered on Aug. 31, 1992.

Harris and Randy Weaver were arrested, and Weaver’s three daughters went to live with their mother’s family in Iowa. Randy Weaver was acquitted of the most serious charges and Harris was acquitted of all charges.

The surviving members of the Weaver family filed a wrongful death lawsuit. The federal government awarded Randy Weaver a $100,000 settlement and his three daughters $1 million each in 1995.

“Ruby Ridge was the opening shot of a new era of anti-government hatred not seen since the Civil War,” said Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center in a 2012 interview on the 20th anniversary of the siege.

After Ruby Ridge, federal agents laid siege to the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas. It ended violently after 51 days on April 19, 1993, when a fire destroyed the compound after an assault was launched, killing 76 people.

Timothy McVeigh cited both Ruby Ridge and Waco as motivators when he bombed the federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995. Ruby Ridge has been cited often by militia and patriot groups since.

In the 30 years since the standoff, Ruby Ridge remained a rallying cry for anti-government extremists. The Spokesman-Review reported Weaver remained popular among white supremacists and extremists in the years following the standoff, and was often seen selling his book, “The Federal Siege at Ruby Ridge,” at gun shows and survivalist expos.

Sara Weaver said she is devastated each time someone commits a violent act in the name of Ruby Ridge. “It killed me inside,” she told The Associated Press in 2012, regarding the Oklahoma City bombing. “I knew what it was like to lose a family member in violence. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.”

After graduating from high school in Iowa, Sara Weaver moved to the Kalispell area in 1996. Her sisters and father followed shortly after.

She has been back to Ruby Ridge, to the land her family still owns. All that remains of the family’s modest home is the foundation, she said.

Talk to us

More in Northwest

King County Superior Court Judge Roger  Rogoff stands in court, Monday, Oct. 10, 2016, in Seattle. Rogoff announced Monday that a settlement had been reached in a lawsuit brought by survivors and family members of people killed in a 2014 Oso, Wash., landslide against the state of Washington and a timber company that logged an area above the site of the slide. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Former judge to head office probing Washington police shootings

The state’s new independent office will review cases where police use deadly force.

Whatcom County Superior Court Judge Raquel Montoya-Lewis, wearing an eagle feather honoring her Native American heritage, smiles as she speaks with media members after being named to the state Supreme Court Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019, in Olympia, Wash. Montoya-Lewis was appointed to the bench by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who said she will be the first Native American justice to serve on the state's highest court. Montoya-Lewis, an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Isleta and a descendant of the Pueblo of Laguna Indian tribes, will be sworn in next month to fulfill the remaining year of Chief Justice Mary Fairhurst's term, and the seat will be open for election in 2020. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
State Supreme Court Justice Montoya-Lewis on medical leave

Officials with the court didn’t release additional details, citing the justice’s desire for privacy.

Police: Arby’s manager in Washington peed in milkshake mix

He said he did it for sexual gratification, and he’s “almost sure” he threw the tainted bag away.

Andrew Cain Kristovich (Snohomish County Sheriff's Office)
Oregon fugitive with Snohomish County ties arrested in Nevada

Andrew Cain Kristovich escaped from a federal prison camp in April. He was considered armed and dangerous.

FILE - In this Monday, March 1, 2021 file photo, The first Alaska Airlines passenger flight on a Boeing 737-9 Max airplane takes off on a flight to San Diego from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Seattle. A Boeing pilot involved in testing the 737 Max jetliner was indicted Thursday, Oct. 14,2021 by a federal grand jury on charges of deceiving safety regulators who were evaluating the plane, which was later involved in two deadly crashes. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Alaska Airlines to keep canceling flights at high level for weeks

Flight cancellations since April will continue. The chaos has been damaging for Seattle’s hometown airline.

FILE - Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson speaks March 23, 2022, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. Months into a complex trial over their role in flooding Washington with highly addictive painkillers, the nation's three largest opioid distributors have agreed to pay the state $518 million. Ferguson announced the deal Tuesday, May 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
DNA from 372 state sex offenders added to national database

Officials have been unable to collect samples from some offenders, including three in Snohomish County.

FILE - Randy Weaver, the object of the Ruby Ridge siege, visits with the media at the main FBI roadblock outside the Freemen compound in Montana on April 27, 1996. Weaver, patriarch of a family that were involved in an 11-day Idaho standoff in 1992 with federal agents that left three people dead and served as a spark for the growth of anti-government extremists, has died at the age of 74. His death was announced Thursday, May 12, 2022, in a Facebook post by daughter Sara Weaver, who lives near Kalispell, Montana. (AP Photo/Jim Mone, File)
Randy Weaver, participant in Ruby Ridge standoff, dies at 74

The 11-day standoff in the Idaho Panhandle mountains transfixed the nation in August of 1992.

Barbara Williams, center, holds an umbrella for her mother, tribal chair Cecile Hansen, right, as they prepare to join other members of the Duwamish Indian Tribe in performing an "honor song" Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2008 near a location in Seattle where bones were found during construction activities near the Pike Place Market. The song was performed because the tribe felt at the time that the remains could have been from an ancient member of the tribe, but city authorities said later in the day that the remains appeared to have been from a small animal. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Duwamish Tribe sues again for federal recognition

Tthe lawsuit demands the court set aside the denial of recognition in 2015 by the Obama administration.

A pod of transient orcas, known as T124As, surfacing near Tacoma. (Craig Craker/Orca Network)
Sightings of mammal-eating orcas increasing in Puget Sound

The killer whales enjoy a diet of harbor seals, sea lions, porpoises and the occasional bird or squid.

FILE - Bill Gates discusses his book "How to Prevent the Next Pandemic" at the 92nd Street Y on May 3, 2022, in New York. Microsoft co-founder and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates posted on Twitter on Tuesday, May 10, 2022, that he tested positive for COVID-19. He said he was experiencing mild symptoms and was following the experts' advice by isolating until he is healthy again. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)
Bill Gates says he has COVID, experiencing mild symptoms

The billionaire philanthropist said he will isolate until he is again healthy.

FILE - Idaho Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin enters the house chambers at the state Capitol building on Jan. 10, 2022 in Boise, Idaho. McGeachin, a GOP candidate for governor, on Monday, May 9, 2022, called on incumbent Republican Gov. Brad Little to call a special session to eliminate rape and incest as legal exceptions to Idaho's abortion law. The law would go into effect if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. (AP Photo/Otto Kitsinger, File)
Idaho lieutenant governor wants harshest U.S. abortion ban

Janice McGeachin is angling for state lawmakers to eliminate exceptions for rape and incest.

Crews finish clearing the roadway on SR 20. (Washington State Department of Transportation)
The North Cascades Highway is set to open Tuesday

Officials warn that it’s still wintery and avalanche potential remains in the backcountry.