Samuel Hanson Weaver (April 1978 - 21 August 1992) was the son of Randy and Vicki Weaver who was killed by a US Marshal during the Ruby Ridge incident in 1992. Born in Cedar Falls, Iowa he was called Sammy by his family and friends.
Described as a "sickly child" Sammy relocated to Idaho with his family in 1983 and was reportedly excited about the move even though he had recently broken his leg. His parents purchased property near the town of Bonners Ferry in a remote location called Ruby Ridge, only 40 miles south of the US - Canadian border. Home Schooled by his mother, Sammy helped the family build their cabin on top of the ridge and by the time he was six-years-old his father Randy had taught him gun handling and shooting skills.
Looking forward to visits from his grandparents, Sammy would immerse himself in the books that they brought with them. By age nine he was memorizing encyclopedias and could recite the United States Constitution. He enjoyed adventure stories and fishing for brook trout which he would clean and bring home for meals. He taught his Yellow Labrador, Striker, to pull containers of water on a sled from the spring nearby to the cabin and also to help his grandfather walk up the hills on the property.
At one point, Roderick threw two rocks at the Weaver cabin to test the reaction of the dogs. The dogs became alerted, and Weaver's friend Kevin Harris, and Weaver's 14 year old son, Samuel, emerged and followed the dogs to investigate. Harris and the younger Weaver were hoping that the dog had noticed a game animal since the cabin was out of meat. Sammy Weaver told his father he believed the dogs had sensed either a large animal or a man in the woods. The recon team marshals (Roderick, Cooper and Degan) initially retreated through the woods in radio contact with the OP team, but later took up hidden defensive positions.
Sammy and Harris followed the dog Striker on foot through the woods while Randy also on foot took a separate logging trail. Vicki and the girls Sara, Rachel and baby Elisheba, remained at the cabin, at first appearing anxious to the OP team, but later appearing relaxed. Randy encountered the marshals at the "Y", Roderick recalled yelling "Back Off! US Marshal!" and Cooper recalled yelling "Stop! US Marshal!" Later statements by Roderick, Cooper and Randy agreed that Randy responded by cursing and running away. About a minute later the dog and the boys came out of the woods and a firefight erupted between the marshals and Sammy and Harris.
Accounts differ at this point as to who first opened fire, but agree that DUSM Roderick shot and killed Weaver's dog and Samuel Weaver fired at Roderick. Samuel Weaver was shot in the back while retreating, and DUSM Degan was shot and killed by Harris.
The version of the firefight told by DUSMs Roderick and Cooper was that the dog, followed by Harris then Sammy, came out of the woods. DUSM Degan challenged Harris, who turned and shot Degan dead without Degan firing a single shot. Roderick then shot the dog once, Sammy fired at Roderick twice, and Roderick fired once again. Roderick and Cooper heard multiple gunshots from the Weaver party. Cooper fired two three shot bursts at Harris and Cooper saw Harris fall "like a sack of potatoes". An impact caused leaves to fly up in front of Cooper who then sought cover. Cooper saw Sammy run away. Cooper radioed to OP team Dave Hunt that he had wounded or killed Harris.
Harris' version was that, when the dog followed by Sammy then Harris came out of the woods, the dog ran up to Cooper and danced about as he did in playing with the children. The dog then ran to Roderick, who shot the dog in front of Sammy, who cursed Roderick and shot at him. Degan came out of the woods firing his M16 and hit Sammy in the arm. Harris then fired and hit Degan in the chest knocking him down. Cooper fired at Harris who ducked for cover. Cooper fired again and Sammy was hit in the back and fell. Harris fired about 6 feet in front of Cooper and forced him to take cover. Cooper announced that he was a US Marshal. Harris checked Sammy's body, found him dead, and ran to the cabin.
In testimony about the firefight at the 1993 trial, Larry Cooper admitted "You have all these things compressed into a few seconds.... It's difficult to remember what went on first." The ballistics experts called by the prosecution testified on cross examination by defense that the physical evidence did not contradict either the prosecution or defense theories on the firefight (trial testimony, Martin Fackler on 8 June 1993 and Lucien "Luke" Haag on 10 June 1993). Fackler testified that Roderick shot and killed the dog, Degan shot Sammy through the right elbow, Harris shot and killed Degan, and Cooper "probably" shot and killed Sammy. The 1993 trial jury accepted the defense theory of the firefight and acquitted Harris on grounds of self-defense. In 1997 Boundary County Sheriff Greg Sprungl conducted an independent search of the "Y" and Lucien Haag confirmed that a bullet found in that search matched Cooper's gun and contained fibers that matched Sammy Weaver's shirt.)
After the firefight at the "Y", marshals Hunt and Thomas went from the hillside to a neighbor's house in order to request assistance from the USMS Crisis Center while marshals Norris, Cooper and Roderick stayed with Degan's body at the "Y". Randy and Vicki went to the "Y" and retrieved Sammy's body. Randy, Vicki and Harris placed Samuel's body in a guest cabin near the main cabin.
- Walter, Jess (1995). Every Knee Shall Bow. New York: Harper Collins. ISBN 006039174x. OCLC 33007659.
- Weaver, Randy; Weaver, Sarah (1998). The Federal siege at Ruby Ridge : in our own words. Marion, MT: Ruby Ridge, Inc. ISBN 0966433408. OCLC 39774735.
- This article partially includes text from related Wikipedia articles.
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