I didn’t want to pass up the chance today to remind us of one of the US. Gov’s most heroic moments. These events made us all safer.
Noted heroic Sniper Lon Horiuchi pictured above, making the world safe from shotguns with barrels s smidge too short. Lon would later go on to help save the hell out of a bunch of women and kids in a little known place in Texas. He would later still get a pie job working for H-S Precision while his heroic spotter got hooked up working for Spike’s Tactical. Well done boys.
The sequence of events during the ensuing shootout is disputed, with Weaver and Harris saying that the camouflaged marshals fired first and did not identify themselves. The marshals’ version of events is when they were rising to identify themselves, they were fired on first by Sammy and Harris. In another version of events, the Weavers’ dog, Striker, was shot as he exposed a hiding Bill Degan. Sammy Weaver then shot Bill Degan in retaliation. While running away, Sammy was then shot in the back by a dying Bill Degan and/or other federal agents. Both died. After this, the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team (HRT) was called in to assist with the situation. Much controversy was later generated by the fact that, after the first day’s events, the FBI had changed its usual rules of engagement; specifically, “deadly force can and should be used against any armed adult male if the shot could be taken without a child being injured.” No request for surrender or announcement of officials’ presence would be needed to shoot.
The next day, August 22, 1992, HRT sniper/observer teams were deployed on the north ridge overlooking the cabin. Randy Weaver, Harris, and Weaver’s 16-year-old daughter Sara were seen outside the cabin. Weaver went to view the body of Sammy Weaver, which had been placed in a shed after being recovered the previous day. Weaver’s back was to FBI HRT sniper Lon Horiuchi, who aimed to sever Weaver’s spine for an instant kill. Weaver moved at the last second as Horiuchi fired, and the bullet entered Weaver’s right shoulder and exited through his armpit. As the three ran back to the house, Horiuchi fired again at Kevin Harris as he ran away, but this time hit Weaver’s wife Vicki in the head as she held their 10-month-old daughter Elishiba at the door. Vicki Weaver collapsed on the floor, dying instantly. Harris was hit in the chest by the same bullet. A Justice Department review later found this second shot was out of policy and the lack of a request to surrender was “inexcusable”, since Harris and the two Weavers were running for cover and did not pose an imminent threat. The task force also specifically blamed Horiuchi for firing at the door, not knowing whether someone was on the other side of it, and criticized those who had decided on the special rules of engagement allowing shots to be fired with no previous request for surrender. Much later, a robot vehicle approached the cabin and announced the presence of law enforcement. According to the Weavers, this was the first announcement of the source of the violence.”