Samuel Weaver

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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.

Death

More information is available from the article Ruby Ridge on Wikipedia

On 21 August 1992 a team of US Marshals were conducting reconnaissance near the Weaver property when Deputy Marshal Roderick threw two rocks at the Weaver cabin to test the reaction of the dogs. The dogs became alerted, and Sammy along with Kevin Harris, a friend of the family followed the dogs to investigate. Weaver and Harris were hoping that the dog had noticed a game animal since the cabin was out of meat. Sammy told his father he believed the dogs had sensed either a large animal or a man in the woods. The recon team of Marshals (Roderick, Cooper and Degan) initially retreated through the woods but later took up hidden defensive positions. Sammy and Harris followed the dog Striker on foot through the woods and 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 Deputy Marshal Roderick shot and killed Striker and Sammy fired at Roderick. Sammy was shot in the back while retreating, and Deputy Marshal Degan was shot and killed by Harris.

The version of the firefight told by Deputy Marshals Roderick and Cooper was that the dog, followed by Harris then Sammy, came out of the woods. 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 only then announced that they were US Marshals. Harris checked Sammy's body, found him dead, and ran to the cabin.

Aftermath

After the Marshals retreated, Randy and Vicki Weaver went to the "Y" and retrieved Sammy's body. Randy, Vicki and Harris placed Sammy in a guest cabin near the main cabin were they washed his body and wrapped it in a sheet. Two days later while the FBI was converging closer to the Weaver cabin they discovered Sammy's body described by them as "A little boy, stripped naked and cleaned and wrapped in a green sheet. Less than 5ft tall, about 70-80 pounds and uncircumcised with bruises on his knees and shins". Agents then removed Sammy's body for a coroners exam. Sammy's remains were cremated several days later.

On 6 September 1995 in testimony before a United States Senate sub-committee, Randy Weaver said this of the incident involving Sammy:

"On 21 August 1992, Federal marshals shot my son Samuel in the back and killed him. He was running home to me. His last words were 'I'm coming Dad.' They shot his little arm almost off, and they killed him by shooting him in the back with a 9-millimeter submachine gun. The gun had a silencer on it. He was not wanted for any crime. He did not commit any crime. The marshals killed his dog right at his feet. He only tried to defend himself and his dog.

Sammy was just 14 years old. He did not yet weigh 80 pounds. He was not yet 5ft tall. The marshals who killed Sammy were grown men. They were in combat gear. They had their faces painted with camouflage. They were carrying machine guns and large caliber semi-automatic pistols. They were trained to kill. Two of them were hiding behind trees and rocks in the woods where they could not be seen. A third was around a bend in the trail in thick forest. They were under direct orders from Washington to do nothing to injure the children. They were to have no contact or confrontation with my family or me. They killed him anyway in violation of their orders."

Trial testimony

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.

Sources

  • Walter, Jess (1995). Every Knee Shall Bow. New York: Harper Collins. ISBN 006039174x. OCLC 33007659. 
  • Weaver, Randy; Weaver, Sara (1998). The Federal siege at Ruby Ridge : in our own words. Marion, Montana: Ruby Ridge, Inc. ISBN 0966433408. OCLC 39774735. 
  • This article partially includes text from related Wikipedia articles.