Senate Judiciary Committee Testimony:  The U.S. Marshals (Sept. 15, 1995)
Senator SPECTER. 
Today we turn to the marshals who were at the scene to give us the sequence of events which they saw and observed. What we would like to do is proceed to have each of you testify in turn. We will start with Mr. Larry Cooper, who is the supervisory deputy of the U.S. Marshals Service.
I know you have a prepared statement, Mr. Cooper, and I ask that, as an introduction, if you would focus on Mr. Degan's role. I know that I was in Massachusetts and was called specially into the service.  Begin with Mr. William Degan's participation and how he started. And may the record show that we have a large picture of Mr. Degan beside his fellow officers from the U.S. Marshals service.
Mr. COOPER. Thank you, Senator. Good afternoon. My name is Larry T. Cooper, and I currently serve as one of the 94 chief deputies of the U.S. Marshals Service. I have been employed by the U.S. Marshals Service since 1978. Prior to that time, I served in the U.S. Marine Corps, and I held various law enforcement positions on both the local and the Federal level. In my first 5 years of service with the U.S. Marshals Service, I worked both as a deputy in various judicial districts and as a part-time member of the U.S. Marshals Service Special Operations Group. As a part-time member of the SOG, a deputy essentially is on 24-hour call and can be summoned on a very short notice to participate in special operations activities. The deputy then returns to his judicial district upon the completion of each assignment.
In September 1983, 1 was asked to transfer to the Special Operations Group training center at Camp Beauregard in Pineville, LA, where I served as a full-time member of the Special Operations Group and a training instructor. In 1992, shortly before the events which are the subject of these hearings, I returned to the field to serve as a supervisory deputy U.S. marshal. In that capacity, however, I continued to receive assignments to serve on a part-time basis with the Special Operations Group or in support of other U.S. Marshals Service special activities. It was such an assignment that caused me to travel to Spokane, WA, and then to Boundary County in Idaho in mid-August 1992.
Before addressing the events that occurred in Idaho in August 1992, I would like to mention some general points regarding my prior experience with the U.S. Marshals Service. As is the case with most deputies who serve the U.S. Marshals Service in the field, I participated in the execution of literally hundreds of arrest warrants during my almost 15 years with the USMS prior to 1992. Not once during any of those arrests did I ever find it necessary to discharge a firearm. Similarly, during the more than 13 years that I served as a member of the Special Operations Group, I was summoned to participate in some of the most high-risk U.S. Marshals Service operations, both within the outside the continental United States, and never during any of those operations did I discharge a firearm in the line of duty.
My Special Operations Group assignments included participation in the U.S. Marshals Service Top Fifteen fugitive arrests; Fugitive investigative Strike Team arrests of violent offenders; course security for Federal trials of international narcotic figures, terrorists, and seditionists; and arrests and seizures made at the conclusion of major narcotics investigations. In particularly relvant Special Operations Group assignment, I participated in the surveillance, and eventually the arrest, of a fugitive hiding in a cabin in an extremely remote and mountainous section or eastern California. I believe it was because of my experience in the successful surveillance and arrest operation in California that I was selected to participate in the surveillance operation of Randall Weaver in Boundary County, ID.
I also believe that another U.S. Marshals Service deputy selected to participate in the surveillance of Randall Weaver in August 1992—William Degan—was selected because of his experience in locating and surveilling fugitives in remote rural or back-country locations. Bill Degan and I met when we were assigned to the basic USMS training during the same period in 1978, at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco. GA. Our careers with the USMS brought us together on a regular basis over the years, especially once we both began to serve with the Special Operations Group. Bill Degan and I were assigned to dozens of Special Operations Group operations together. In my view, all of those special assignments were completed successfully, and neither Deputy Degan nor I ever discharged our firearms during any of those Special Operations Group operations.. We became very close friends, and I believe I knew Bill Degan as well as anyone in the USMS. He was a highly trained and skilled professional law enforcement officer, but at the same time a devoted husband and father. While he was perhaps the most decorated member of the U.S. Marshals Service, I knew him to be a kind and gentle man. I considered him to be a role model in that he excelled in this very dangerous occupation while conducting himself with compassion and decency. Bill Degan will be missed most of all by his family, but there are many of us who knew him professionally and personally who feel we will never meet his equal.

Although I did not become actively involved in the fugitive investigation of Randall Weaver at the time, I believe it may have been in or around March 1992 that I was first made aware of the operation to conduct surveillance of the area where Randall Weaver was living with his family. I understood that consideration was being given to include me among the group of deputies who would perform surveillance of and security for an undercover deputy who was to buy property near where Randall Weaver was living. In or about May or June 1992, I reviewed some surveillance tapes that were sent to me, tapes that showed Randall Weaver and his family regularly carrying firearms in the immediate vicinity of their cabin. It was not until mid-August 1992 that I was actually notified of my assignment, in support of the U.S. Marshals Service Headquarters Enforcement Division, to serve as one of the deputies performing surveillance and security for the undercover operation then being considered.
Senator SPECTER. Marshal Cooper, I am going to have to interrupt you at that point. As you may have heard from the bells, we are in the process of a vote. We are going to have to recess at this point. And what I would like you to do is to stand by.
We will return just as soon as we can, and if we have a precise time as to when we are going to be able to reconvene, we will let you know that as soon as we can. The reason that it is uncertain is that we do not know if the votes are going to require rollcalls or if they are going to be accepted or exactly what is going to happen. But we will be right at hand to begin the hearings again just as soon as we can.
Mr. COOPER. Thank you, Senator Specter.
Senator SPECTER. We stand in recess.

Senator SPECTER. We will reconvene the subcommittee.
The expectation is that we will have a window now before the next vote occurs, but there are going to be additional votes. I regret that we cannot move through it continuously, but when we scheduled the witnesses for a 10 o'clock hearing this morning, we did not know that there would be votes this morning. That wasn't determined until 10:30 last night, and we had the option of doing it piecemeal as best we could or postponing it until Tuesday. And there is no certainty as to what is going to happen on Tuesday.
So, Mr. Cooper, it is with those regrets that we note your testimony has been interrupted. We are just going to have to do the best we can. One of the factors that I frankly do not like is that we have not been able to schedule all of our hearings in the morning because we are subject to the jurisdiction of the full Judiciary Committee, which has other hearings in the mornings, causing a complication for us.
So at this point, Mr. Cooper, we will reconvene and ask you to proceed with your testimony.
Mr. COOPER. Thank you, Senator. I do understand. My job is much the same way. I have little control over my interruption. Thank you.
Senator SPECTER. I thank you.
Mr. COOPER. It was not until mid-August 1992 that I was actually notified of my assignment, in support of the U.S. Marshals Service Headquarters Enforcement Division, to serve as one of the deputies performing surveillance and security for the undercover operation then being considered. I learned at about the same time that Bill Degan also had been selected for this assignment. When I traveled to Spokane, WA, on August 17, 1992 I met Deputy Degan there, along with the other deputies assigned to surveillance and security, Dave Hunt, Frank Norris, and Joe Thomas. All of us were reporting to the Enforcement Division in this assignment, and the Enforcement Division representative in charge of the operation on site was Inspector Art Roderick.
As I prepared to travel to Idaho, I packed changes of clothing, my standard gear for conducting reconnaissance in back-country conditions, including camouflaged outer clothing and my sidearm. After our arrival in Spokane, and also at our base residence in Schweitzer Mountain, ID, the members of the group received briefings from Art Roderick and Dave Hunt, both of whom had previously conduct reconnaissance of the Weaver property. We were shown photographs, reports, and documents during these briefings. It was clear from the briefings that the objective of our mission was intelligence gathering. It had been several months since the last U.S. Marshals Service surveillance of the Weaver property. Therefore, we understood from the briefings that, through a series of several trips up the mountain where the Weaver property was located, we were to determine whether there had been any changes in the number of occupants at the Weaver compound or in the routine of the occupants. We also understood that the Enforcement Division would look to Deputy Degan to me to recommend positions around the Weaver property where surveillance teams might be located for the security of the undercover operation that was being planned. At no time during these briefings was there ever any discussion of assaulting or provoking a confrontation with Randall Weaver or his family. In fact, the briefings emphasized that the reconnaissance group was to avoid a confrontation with Randall Weaver to the point of retreating off the mountain if our presence was detected there.
It is important to note that Deputy Hunt also had participated in the assessment of the various threatening letters and statements sent by the Weavers and had interviewed witnesses with firsthand knowledge of the Weavers' violent statements and actions. Deputy Hunt also briefed the group regarding these statements and actions. Because of the specific threats made by Randall Weaver to shoot law enforcement officers, it was evident that the members of the reconnaissance group had to be prepared to defend themselves against attack if detected during the surveillance of the Weaver property. We therefore were issued rifles, some of which were provided by the Enforcement Division and others that Deputy Degan had brought from a USMS display in Boston at the request of Inspector Roderick. Because these weapons had been crated and shipped to Idaho, we checked and sighted the rifles as part of our preparations.
One of the rifles shipped to Idaho by Deputy Degan was a 9 mm. suppressed semiautomatic rifle. Contrary to the belief held by some, this is not a silenced weapon. Although somewhat reduced, the report of the 9 mm. suppressed is still audible. Because of my
Special Operations Group experience, I was familiar with the operation of this rifle, which was somewhat different than that of the more standard M-16 regularly used by USMS personnel, and I carried this rifle on a reconnaissance trip that began the early morning hours of August 21. The weapons shipped to Idaho by Deputy Degan also included a .30B-caliber sniper rifle. However, we did not take that weapon on our reconnaissance trip to the Weaver property as a sniper rifle was not necessary to the success of the objectives outlined in our briefings.
One of our team members, Dave Hunt, carried no rifle at all because he was carrying camera equipment. Also, although the team members wore standard camouflage clothing to minimize the chances of being sighted in the woods, we did not wear protective, or bulletproof, vests where our objective was to avoid, not initiate, contact with the Weaver’s.
Our reconnaissance group started up the mountain toward the Weaver property at about 4:30 a.m. When we arrived at the area known as the Y, which is still a considerable distance away from the Weaver property, we split into two teams in accordance with our surveillance plan, maintaining contact via radio. The three-person team comprised of Deputies Hunt, Norris, and Thomas took the left fork of the Y and made their way to an observation post-we referred to it as "OP"-north of the Weaver property. Deputies Roderick, Degan, and I took the right fork of the Y to a point well below the road leading up to the Weaver compound, but from which the road or driveway could be monitored. There we discussed the Weavers' practice of responding to the rock outcropping overlooking the driveway whenever a vehicle approached, and the need to locate surveillance/security teams in that area for the proposed undercover operation. After a considerable period of observation, we retraced our steps back down to the Y and then proceeded up to the OP where the .other three man team had been conducting surveillance.
At the OP, we were briefed about the observations made during the morning by Deputies Hunt, Norris, and Thomas. I was able to view the Weaver compound from the OP, and I observed various members of the Weaver family carrying firearms as they moved about the Weaver compound. It was then agreed that Deputy Roderick would show Deputy Degan and me additional vantage points around the Weaver property where we might consider locating surveillance/security teams for the proposed undercover operation. Deputies Roderick., Degan, and I then moved down to a location that I recall was near a stand of birch trees from which you could access a series of rock ledges. The driveway leading up to the Weaver compound could also be viewed from these ledges, and we spent a considerable amount of time observing the driveway area from a high point on the ledges. Then Deputy Roderick and I left our packs ,and rifles at this high position with Deputy Degan and crawled down to a lower point on the ledges to observe the lower driveway area more closely.

Although this lower ledge area was still hundreds of yards away from the Weaver compound, it is important to observe it closely as it was a logical place to position teams to perform surveillance/security for any occasion when the proposed undercover agent may attempt to drive past the Weaver driveway on his way further up the mountain. I believed, however, that we needed to determine whether the surveillance/security teams would be vulnerable to detection in this lower ledge area. To that end, I suggested to Deputy Roderick that we toss a rock ahead of us to determine how far sound carried from that location. We alerted the others by radio regarding our plan and asked that we be advised if the sound carried to their location or if the occupants of the Weaver compound appeared to respond to the sound. Deputy Roderick then tossed two rocks a short distance ahead of our position in the lower ledge area. The OP team observed no reaction from the occupants of the Weaver compound, including the Weavers' dogs. This result supported the conclusion that the lower ledge area could serve as a safe position for the teams performing surveillance/security for the proposed undercover operation.
It should be evident from these facts that media reports have inaccurately characterized this incident as one which was intended to and did provoke a confrontation with the Weavers or their dogs. The lower ledge area was hundreds of yards from the Weavers cabin, and the sound of the rocks created no response from the Weaver compound. Moreover, we cannot reasonably be accused of intending to provoke a confrontation at this lower ledge area when we did not even bring our rifles with us when we moved down from the higher position. Deputies Roderick and I returned to the higher position where Deputy Degan was waiting and spent additional time observing from that higher point before the three of us moved back onto the trail. We rested for a time before moving on to the next location Deputy Roderick wanted us to observe, the lower garden area, where our presence eventually was detected. All told, then, as much as an hour may have elasped between when Deputy Roderick and I tested the distance that sound might carry from the lower ledge area by throwing the rocks and the point where our presence was detected in the lower garden area. Therefore, the rock-tossing incident was remote in both time and distance from the detection of our presence by the Weavers.
As noted above, Deputies Roderick and Degan and I moved further down the trail and into an area called the lower garden or woodcutting area. This area was approximately 250 feet away from the rock outcropping at the edge of the Weaver compound. As we approached this area, we checked with the OP team by radio to determine if there was any unusual activity in the compound as we made our way to the lower garden area. Based upon the reports from the OP, it was evident that we were successful in making our way to the lower garden area without being detected. Our purpose in moving to that location was to observe possible locations for surveillance/security teams for the proposed undercover operation. We spent a fair amount of time observing from that vantage point and discussing potential locations for surveillance/security teams. When we concluded our observations, it was approximately 10 a.m., and we decided it was time to move back to the trail, meet with the members of the OP team, and conclude our surveillance activities for the day.
Just as we began to move out of the lower garden area, we heard a radio transmission from Deputy Thomas that he heard a vehicle approaching. At this very moment, we heard the Weavers' dogs begin to bark, so we took cover and listened closely to our radios. Almost immediately, Deputy Hunt radioed, "They're responding," referring to the occupants of the Weaver cabin compound. Deputy Roderick then stated that he observed the dog coming down the driveway, and the three of us began to retreat in accordance with the plan that we had discussed in the event our position was detected. We dropped back to a second line of trees and again took cover, at which point Deputy Roderick said that he also saw Kevin Harris running down the driveway with a rifle. We then continued our retreat along the route we had discussed with Deputy Roderick in the lead. I should note that our retreat plan was based upon an experience Deputy Roderick had during the surveillance trip he conducted in the spring of that year. He and other deputies were conducting reconnaissance in the same area, the lower garden area, when one of the Weavers' dogs began barking. At that time Deputy Roderick and his team had retreated along a route that took them back down to the Y area, and the deputies were able to retreat off the mountain without incident.
Deputy Degan and I followed Deputy Roderick as we retreated. I recall hearing radio transmissions from the OP team as we ran. The OP reported that members of the Weaver family also were responding and that they were armed. We continued our retreat over hundreds of yards, stopping from time to time to look back at our pursuers and to exchange a few words about our situation. Although Harris and the dog were gaining ground on us, we continued to retreat in the hope that Harris and the Weavers would stop at some point and not pursue us further.
I dropped to the rear position as we ran in case the dog got well ahead of Kevin Harris and overtook us. In that event, I was prepared to shoot the dog if necessary in order that we could accomplish our escape. However, I did not want to take this measure unless it was absolutely necessary. Certainly there were a number of points along our retreat route when I could have stopped and taken a clear shot at the dog or at Kevin Harris. I did not do this, as our unwavering intention was to avoid a confrontation if at all possible.
We reached a point along our retreat route, however, where it was evident we could not continue our escape efforts in the same manner without exposing ourselves to injury or death. As we exited a fern field through a canopy of trees approaching the area known as the Y, I realized that the road in down from the Y was straight and that our backs would be exposed to Kevin Harris who was carrying a long rifle. As he entered the Y, Deputy Degan apparently reached the same conclusion because he stepped off the road into the woods. As I entered the Y, Deputy Roderick was ahead of me, while the dog was gaining on me from the rear, actually to my left as I was sidestepping down the road. At about the point when I sidestepped over a hump in the road—the hump has been referred to as a water bar—I looked up and saw Randall Weaver coming down the right fork of the Y. My first thought was that Randoll Weaver was approaching the Y from that direction as part of an ambush. At this same moment, the dog was closing in on me, and I also saw Kevin Harris approaching the Y behind the dog. I yelled toward Harris, "Back off. U.S. Marshal" Because I believed that Deputy Roderick, who was down the road to my right, had Randall Weaver covered and that Deputy Degan had covered Kevin Harris above me, I focused on the dog and kept him at bay with my rifle as he moved in a semicircle past me. Although I had the opportunity to do so, I did not discharge my weapon either at Randall Weaver or the dog.
As I focused on the dog, I saw with my peripheral vision that Randall Weaver was moving away from my position. I took this opportunity to back off the road and follow Deputy Degan into the woods to a cover position. Deputy Degan took cover behind a stump that was only a few feet from the edge of the road. Behind Deputy Degan and to his right as he was facing the road was a rock behind· which was a foxhole or a depression. I took cover behind the rock. Looking straight ahead from that rock toward the road, the foliage was dense, and I could see only patches of the road straight ahead. -However, if I looked toward my left to Deputy Degan's position, there was less foliage, and I could see Deputy Degan clearly, as well as the road immediately in front of his position. As I looked in that direction, I saw Kevin Harris and Samuel Weaver moving fast into the Y.
The events I will describe next are etched in my mind, and I am certain of what I saw. As Kevin Harris and Samuel Weaver moved past Deputy Degan's position, Samuel Weaver was a step or two ahead of Kevin Harris. When Kevin Harris reached a point about 10 feet in front of Depty Degan's position, Deputy Degan called out, "Stop. U.S. Marshals." As I heard Deputy Degan begin to announce, I joined in, but before I finished my words, Kevin Harris turned, fired from the hip, and shot Deputy Degan. I have a clear mental picture of Kevin Harris firing that first shot at the Y. There is no other aspect of this tragedy about which I am more certain.
When Deputy Degan was hit, his body moved to the left in the direction of the stump. I could see Kevin Harris starting to raise his rifle from his hip, so I fired a three-round burst at Kevin Harris. When I fired, Kevin Harris dropped from my sight, so I assumed I had hit him. I turned my rifle in the direction of Samuel Weaver. However, at this moment I heard what sounded like two shots off to my right, down in the direction where I last saw Deputy Roderick. Samuel Weaver reacted to this sound by yelling, "You son of a bitch," and running down the road to my right. I did not fire at Samuel Weaver. Instead, my attention was fixed on Deputy Degan calling to me for help, and the gunfire that began to come into my position from the direction of the right fork of the Y where I had seen Randall Weaver.
I believe it was at this point, as gunfire came into my position, that I yelled over the radio to the OP team that Deputy Degan was shot and I needed help. I also knew that I could not get to Deputy Degan while the gunfire was coming into my position. I therefore rose up and fired a second three round burst in the direction of the incoming fire. Even after I rose up to shoot over the rock I was using for cover, my view of the right fork of the Y was obscured by foliage and a tree between the rock and the road. All I could do was direct my three-round burst in the direction of the gunfire. Immediately after I fired my second and final burst, I saw Samuel Weaver through the gaps in the foliage, running in the direction of the right fork of the Y leading up to the Weaver compound. At that point, the incoming fire seemed to shift down to my right, where Deputy Roderick was located. I took this opportunity to move to my left, up to Deputy Degan's position.
When I reached Deputy Degan, he was laying on his side, his arm in the sling of his rifle. He was conscious, but he did not respond to me. I took off my pack so that I could work freely to help Deputy Degan. I tried unsuccessfully to locate the entry wound in order to stop or slow the bleeding. I also tried to pull Deputy Degan back, pack and all, to a position of more cover. However, within moment I sensed that I was losing him. I reached for the artery on his neck to feel for a pulse, and his pulse stopped beating under my fingertips. I knew he was gone. I took his rifle off his shoulder and arm and moved back to the cover position behind the rock.
Sometime later—-I have difficulty estimating just how long because my immediate thoughts at the time were focused on my friend Bill Degan—I had radio contact with Deputy Roderick. I told him he needed to move up to my position, and I gave him direction by radio regarding my location. Once Deputy Roderick made his position to my cover position behind the rock, we heard fire from the direction of the corn field, the area we believed the OP team would be moving through as they came to provide assistance. As Deputy Hunt came into my sight from the direction of the fern field, with Deputies Norris and Thomas shortly behind, I managed to attract their attention from our cover position. They immediately moved to Deputy Degan's position, and Deputy Norris, who is a medic, removed Bill's backpack and began to work on him. After a very short time, Deputy Norris said Bill was dead. They seemed stunned momentarily, but then they responded to my direction to move Bill's body back to the cover position that Deputy Roderick and I had behind the rock. They could not carry Bill, but they dragged him back to where we were, and all of us, with Bill's body between us, took defensive positions behind the rock.
We decided that some of our team members had to go for help. It was agreed that Deputy Hunt, who was familiar with the area because of his prior reconnaissance trips to the mountain, would go for help with Deputy Thomas. Deputy Roderick and I both felt strongly about remaining with Bill's body until help arrived, and Deputy Norris stayed with us in the event we were in further need of a medic. I believe that both before and after Deputies Hunt and Thomas left, there was additional gunfire coming into our position, and the Bound of voices yelling from up in the direction of the Weaver compound. We did not return the gunfire. We also heard gunfire later in the day at the sound of an aircraft flying overhead.
It was more than 12 hours before help arrived. During the long hours we waited, we had periodic radio contact with Deputy Hunt who assured us that help was being obtained. The weather turned bad as the day wore on. Although we were cold and wet, we did not believe it was safe to move about freely in our immediate area. At one point I crawled up to the location where Deputy Degan had been shot in order to retrieve my pack and pulled it back to our position behind the rock. Also when so many hours passed without help arriving, we decided to try to move Bill's body up closer to the road so that we could move right out when help arrived.
The Idaho Critical Response Team arrived to assist us around 11:30 p.m., and we did not get Billy's body off the mountain until almost 1 am. We were taken to the hospital in Bonners Ferry for examination, and then returned to our base residence in Schweitzer Mountain, ID, where it was almost dawn before we finally got to sleep. The next afternoon I was interviewed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on regarding Kevin Harris' shooting of Bill Degan. I left Idaho that Sunday to travel to Boston to attend Deputy Degan's funeral, but returned to Bonners Ferry the following weekend to provide the FBI with a walk-through description of the events that occurred at the Y.
It was just before I left Idaho to attend Deputy Degan's funeral that I was informed of the discovery of Samuel Weaver's body by the FBI inside a shed on the Weaver compound. I was truly surprised and saddened by that news. I am aware, of course, of the theory advanced by defense counsel at the criminal trial that we knew Samuel Weaver had been shot at the Y and that all the deputies who had been on the mountain on August 21 engaged in a cover-up. This theory is false. I had no knowledge that Samuel Weaver was struck by gunfire, let alone killed, during the incident at the Y. I very strongly believe that none of the rounds that I fired at the Y struck Samuel Weaver because I saw him running up the right fork of the Y after I fired my second, and last, three-round burst. If Samuel Weaver was struck by other gunfire further up the right fork of the Y, we did not have knowledge of that. From the position I had in the foxhole behind the rock, one has no clear line of sight up the right fork of the Y. This is apparent from the photographs and videotape that I understand have been made available to representatives of the subcommittee. Also, I understand that representatives of the subcommittee recently have traveled to the Y to view that area firsthand and should be able to confirm the line of might limitations from behind the rock I have described.
As I noted above. I was saddened when I learned of Samuel Weaver's death. I have a son of my own, and I can understand the enormous sense of loss that a father must feel at the death of his son. That sense of loss must surely be magnified in a situation such as this one where it is the father who must accept responsibility for the death of his son. Regardless of the false theories and inaccurate media accounts advanced by his lawyers and others, I suspect Randall Weaver recognizes in his heart that he is responsible for Samuel Weaver's death. That is a tragedy and a terrible cross for Randall Weaver to bear. Certainly, I take no satisfaction from the fact that he must bear that cross.

As I speak about the subjects of loss and grief I cannot fail to mention that there are two sons who lost their father, Bill Degan, because of what Randall Weaver and Kevin Harris did. I have not forgotten that fact, and I hope that I can help the members of this subcommittee, through my testimony, recognize that it is a fact.
It would not be practical to set forth in this summary statement all of the information contained in my prior testimony or in the numerous interviews I have given the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice personnel. I am aware that transcripts of my prior testimony and reports of my interviews have been provided to the subcommittee staff, so I will not prolong this introductory, statement by repeating all of those facts.
I am now prepared to answer any questions that the subcommittee may have regarding the events summarized in this statement.
Thank you.


....On October 16, 1991 Deputy Hunt sent a letter to Weaver which was also signed by Deputy Warren May. The letter asked Weaver to resolve the situation peacefully. The three page letter said, "it is not our wish to cause any conflict concerning your personal beliefs. Nor do we have any desire to reach a point of confrontation or violence against you or members of your family. * * * We do not have any personal vendetta with either you or your family. We are law enforcement officers who have taken an oath to uphold the constitution and laws of our country. In this capacity we are prevented from entering into or inferring judgments. * * * In is my hope that we can resolve this situation, although I see no hope if we can not talk about this in good faith to bring this to an end. Then everyone can move on with their lives." Randall Weaver again rejected the request to meet with Deputy Hunt.

During this same period, the Marshals Service also tried to negotiate terms of surrender with Weaver through written communications. However, the Assistant United States Attorney on the case would not authorize the terms of surrender proposed by the Marshals Service because the Marshals Service was trying to deal directly with Randall Weaver and not through Weaver's attorney, and because the prosecutor thought the proposed surrender terms were more appropriate to a plea agreement. Of course, Weaver refused to communicate with his court-appointed attorney, just as he refused to communicate with the Probation Office or the Court. Consequently, the Marshals Service was not permitted to send to Weaver written terms of surrender, and had to rely upon general pleas to meet and discuss the matter.

In March 1992 the Weaver case was assigned to the Marshals Service Headquarters Enforcement Division because it required more resources than were available to the District of Idaho. It was at that point that I was assigned to lead the operation. Upon receiving this assignment, I devised a three phase plan. First, we would review the background of this fugitive situation; next we would con duct surveillance; and then we would propose a plan for Randall Weaver's arrest.

In Phase One of our investigation, we did an extensive review of the district file in this matter and performed some physical surveillance to become familiar with the rugged terrain around the Weaver property. On April 3, 1992, we arranged for Medivac support for our operations in case anyone was injured while moving up or down the mountainous terrain around the Weaver property. On April 8, I made a reconnaissance trip with five Deputies, primarily to locate places for surveillance cameras on the west ridge approximately three quarters of a mile from the Weaver property. Reconnaissance of the area was also conducted on the following day and later that week to complete Phase One of our plan. In these reconnaissance trips, we observed the Weaver compound from a distance and realized that Randall Weaver and his family were almost always armed, even though they remained within the confines of the compound. The fact that Randall Weaver was personally armed, and that he continued to permit his children to bear arms when he had told the magistrate at his arraignment that he would surrender all of his weapons, reflected Weaver's ongoing violation of a material condition of his release. In other words, Randall Weaver continued to violate the federal law each and every day that he was carrying firearms in his mountain compound.

The purpose of Phase Two of the plan was to conduct more extensive surveillance to gather information which would aid in arresting Weaver peacefully and to verify or refute certain intelligence we had received concerning the Weaver property. We had information which indicated that Weaver rarely left his property. If he was leaving in vehicles and going someplace unknown to his neighbors, the surveillance would reveal this and we could investigate his possible destinations. We were hopeful that we could arrest him off of his property without endangering his family. Another reason for additional surveillance was to verify reports that the Weavers were always armed.

Video cameras would enable us to conduct daylight surveillance of the property. The cameras would make an accurate record which could be reviewed by others who might be assigned to work on, or make decisions about, the case. On April 18 we engaged in the difficult task of hauling heavy camera equipment to two surveillance locations. The terrain was very steep and slippery and the batteries weighed about 60 pounds apiece. By April 25 both surveillance cameras were operable.

Soon after our surveillance cameras were operational, we realized that there was no electrical or mechanical warning system on the property to alert the Weavers that people or vehicles were approaching. Rather, the Weavers responded to the barking of their dogs, the sound of approaching vehicles, and sometimes other noises. In reaction to these sounds, members of the Weaver group, including Kevin
Harris, often would run to a rock ledge overlookin the driveway of the Weaver compound. The Weavers and Harris would be armed when they responded in this manner.

Our surveillance cameras also enabled us to determine the reliability of certain intelligence gathered early in the investigation. There was no indication that the compound was booby trapped, or any evidence of a system of tunnels. We also discovered that the Weavers only respond to the rock outcropping overlooking the main approach to the property, and did not continue on down the driveway when the dogs barked or in response to other noises.

On May 1 and 2 solar panels were installed on the surveillance cameras so that a longer-lasting power supply was available. On May 3 the north ridge camera stopped sending a signal. On May 5 I went with a team to the north ridge and found that the camera equipment was missing. The remnants of that camera later was discovered on the Weaver compound.
On May 11 I took a reconnaissance team onto the Weaver property. Towards the end of that trip, we were performing surveillance in the lower garden area when a dog started to bark. We retreated through the woods to a path that led to the Y area, and we were able to leave the area without any response from the occupants of the Weaver compound. On May 15 and 16, we took the surveillance equipment down from the observation posts. This essentially concluded the work of Phase Two of the operation.
After this phase of the operation was completed various options were considered by Marshals Service management. I was asked to present a range of alternative approaches. Clearly, the most important consideration was the safety of the Weaver children and Vicki Weaver. Consequently, we rejected possible tactical arrest approaches and settled upon an undercover plan in which two deputies, male and female, would pose as a married couple and would purchase a parcel of property adjoining the Weavers' property. Over a period of time the undercover couple would perform clearing work as if preparing to build a residence. Through their regular and non-threatening presence, the undercover deputies would attempt to gain the confidence of Randall Weaver who might then visit the adjoining property where he could be arrested without risk to his wife and children. Even during the phase of the operation where the undercover deputies were clearing their property and otherwise trying to gain Weaver's confidence, it would be necessary to provide protection for the deputies through surveillance/security teams.
The undercover operation, although more costly from a strictly financial standpoint than a standard tactical arrest plan, received the preliminary approval of Marshals Service management on May 27, 1992. Over the next few months, I began taking steps to lay the foundation for the undercover operation. On August 12, I was given permission to proceed with the plan, subject to the results of additional surveillance we were to conduct over the next few weeks.
By August 17 the deputies who were assigned to assist in the performance of the additional surveillance had arrived in Spokane, Washington. On August 18, 19, and 20 I briefed the members of the team on the history and progress of the Weaver investigation and the purpose of our plan. I showed surveillance films to the team members so that they could familiarize themselves with the appearance and activities of the occupants of the Weaver compound. We discussed our individual roles for the first reconnaissance trip scheduled for the early morning hours of August 21. In accordance with our standard practice, we checked and sighted the weapons that had been shipped to Spokane for this operation and selected these that would be carried on the reconnaissance trip. In preparing for this reconnaissance trip, it was not our intention to confront Randall Weaver, and we had no plan to arrest him. In fact, we dressed in camouflage to help conceal ourselves during surveillance, and we wore no raid jackets, bullet-proof vests or other gear and clothing that would be essential during an arrest operation.
On August 21, shortly before dawn, we went to the vicinity of the Weaver property for the sole purpose of gathering intelligence and making additional preparations for the proposed undercover plan. I wanted to familiarize the members of the team with the terrain, and to see how the passage of time had affected the undergrowth around the property. We were looking to Deputies Degan and Cooper to make recommendations regarding where surveillance/security teams would be located for the proposed undercover operation, and to Deputy Thomas for plans regarding additional electronic surveillance. It was my intention to spend as much time on this reconnaissance trip as our energies and safety permitted so that we would not have to make numerous surveillance trips prior to beginning the undercover operation.
The team of six deputies moved together up the mountain to the Y area where we split into two groups. One three-member observation team, led by Deputy Hunt, ,made its way to the northern observation post. The other team, comprised of Deputies Degan, Cooper and myself, spent the next several hours viewing possible locations for surveillance/security teams for the proposed undercover operation. At one point we joined the other team in the northern observation post where we viewed Randal Weaver, Kevin Harris, Samuel Weaver and other members of the Weaver family moving about the Weaver compound carrying firearms. My team then resumed reconnaissance activities. We moved down to a location below a stand of birchtrees. From here, we could view the driveway leading to the Weaver compound from a distance of approximately 200—250 yards. There was a very wide ravine between this location and the Weaver compound. We then moved down to another area from which the driveway could be observed, known as the woodcutting or lower garden area, an area that I had visited on earlier reconnaissance trips.
When my surveillance team moved down to view the lower garden area, I pointed out several possible positions which could be used by the cover teams in the undercover operation. We also spent a considerable period of time viewing the Weaver driveway and rock outcropping from this location. Just as we were preparing to leave our surveillance position, and to conclude our reconnaissance operation for the day, the team in the observation post radioed us that a vehicle was approaching. Then we heard another radio transmission from the observation post team: "They're responding."
I understood this to mean that people in the Weaver compound were armed and were coming to the rock ledge overlooking the driveway as we had seen them do many times during our surveillance. I told everyone to take cover and I immediately got down behind a small tree. At this point, our surveillance team was on the very perimeter of the Weaver property and we may well have been outside the Weaver boundary line. In all of the times we had performed surveillance and observed this "response" activity by the Weavers, we had never observed anyone actually come down from the rock outcropping. However, on this day I saw Harris, carrying a rifle and running directly at me as if he had seen me. Ahead of him was a yellow Labrador retriever. Harris and the dog were approximately 80 yards from us. At this time, and at several times during the ensuing chase, I could have shot the dog if that had been the intent of this mission. Our purpose, however, was to avoid a confrontation, so we retreated as planned. Harris and the dog continued to run after us. As we ran, we checked two or three times to see if we were still being pursued and realized that we were. Each time we looked, Harris and the dog were closer to us. They were obviously pursuing us because every time we made a turn to get away, Harris and the dog made the same turn. Along the course of our retreat, I said to Degan and Cooper that we might have to kill the dog because it continued to lead Harris to us even as we changed directions during our retreat. However, we did not stop and shoot in the direction of the dog, but continued running on a retreat route down the mountain.
We ran for approximately a half a mile in order to avoid a confrontation, but the pursuit continued. We ran through the fern field and entered the area under the tree canopy. We were afraid of getting shot in the back so we looked for a defensible position. I was the furthest from Harris and the dog. Cooper was behind me and Degan was behind him. As I turned to look at our pursuers, I saw Harris and the dog and, for the first time, I saw Samuel Weaver. At this point, we were retreating into the area known as the I should note here that, according to the trial testimony of an expert surveyor, the "Y" is 640 feet away from the closest boundary of the Weaver property.
As I ran into the "Y", I saw a figure that I soon realized was Randall Weaver. He moved off the right fork of the "Y", the road leading to the Weaver compound, and toward the woods out of my sight. The man was yelling, and I yelled at him several times: "Stop, U.S. Marshals."
I moved sideways, covering with my rifle the area where Randall Weaver had disappeared into the woods. I also watched as the dog came into the "Y" past Degan and Cooper and toward the right fork of the "Y". I heard Degan also yell "Stop. U.S. Marshals." The next thing I heard was the report of a heavy caliber rifle fired from my left where Cooper, Degan, Harris, and Samuel Weaver were.
At this moment I saw the dog stop, look in the direction of the gunfire, and then back toward me. Realizing that we now were in the midst of a potentially deadly encounter, I fired a shot at the dog and I saw the dog fall. I dove into the woods to find cover, and I heard the sound of constant gunfire.
Cooper radioed for me to move up to his position because Degan had been hit by gunfire. I called for Deputy Hunt to get medic Frank Norris down to the "Y" because Deputy Degan had been hit. In an effort to cover Deputies Cooper and Degan, I jumped from the woods into the trail and landed on my stomach. I heard a single rifle shot and felt something move across my stomach. I immediately jumped back into the woods. As I did so, I heard movement from the woods across the road. Also I heard continuing gunfire and the sounds of bullets striking around me. I felt my stomach to see if I was wounded and found that I was not. Later, however, I found that there was a bullet hole in my shirt. A bullet apparently entered my shirt near a button hole and exited through my left front shirt pocket. thought that the shots were coming from the general direction where I had seen Randall Weaver disappear.
I called again for the observation team to come to our position. Deputy Cooper asked me again to move to his position. When I got to him, Deputy Cooper and I sat back-to-tack. We heard continuing gunfire as we waited for the observation team to arrive at our position. We later found out that as the observation team ran to help us, they were fired on. Finally the observation team arrived and Deputy Norris began attempts to revive Bill Degan, but he soon told us that Bill Degan had died. Deputy Norris and the others pulled Bill Degan's body down into the small depression behind the rock where Deputy Cooper and I were located.
Soon after, I heard a man and a woman screaming and cursing us, accompanied by another burst of gunfire. However, we saw no one in the area during this screaming and. because of the echoes through the trees, I could not tell how close the voices were. We decided that Deputies Thomas and Hunt should go down the mountain to call for help, while Cooper, Norris and I stayed with Bill Degan's body. At that time it was approximately 10:45 in the morning.

While we waited for help to arrive, we heard gunfire from time to time from the direction of the Weaver compound. At one point, we heard gunfire from the direction of the compound just as we heard an aircraft pass overhead. We stayed with Bill Degan's body until 11:30 that night when an Idaho State Police team arrived at which time we took Bill Degan's body down the mountain.
It was close to 1:00 a.m. on August 22 by the time we made it down the mountain. We were taken to the hospital for examination, and then back to our residence where we finally got to sleep close to dawn. The next day, I traveled back to Boundary County where I gave a detailed statement to the FBI.
I left Boundary County on Sunday, August 23 to travel to Boston for Bill Degan's funeral. Bill Degan was a highly skilled and dedicated law enforcement officer, and a dear friend to many of us who worked with him. In all of the debate and discussion about Ruby Ridge, I have heard too few expressions of regret at the loss of the life of this good law enforcement officer, father and friend. I have heard too few voice raised to condemn those who would kill, or threaten to kill, a law enforcement officer who, like Bill Degan, was performing the job society asked him to perform. I hope that during these proceedings I begin to hear a few more voices raised in memory of Bill Degan.
Please understand that I have testified about this matter extensively, over the course of many days. I have not attempted to repeat all of that testimony in this opening Statement, but only to summarize it, as I am aware that the Subcommittee has had the opportunity to review transcripts of my prior testimony. I now would he pleased to answer any questions that the Subcommittee may have to the best of my ability.
Senator SPECTER. Thank you very much, Mr. Roderick. We will not proceed with the round of questioning now until we hear from the other marshals.


Mr. HUNT. Good afternoon, Senator.
My name is David Hunt. I am a deputy U.S marshal. I have been with the U.S. Marshals Service since 1978 and have served in continuous law enforcement since 1971. For the past 13 years I have lived and worked in the District of Idaho. I first became aware of Randy Weaver during February or March of 1991 when the U.S. Marshals Service received notification that a bench warrant for Weaver's arrest had been issued for his failure to appear in court on February 19, 1991, for a firearms violation.
During this early stage of the case there was some discussion between myself and others in my office about Weaver not appearing at his hearing. Basically I took this as a wait-and-see attitude. My job, as deputy, was to coordinate all investigations and warrants in the Boise office. I also had a daily caseload. I was the program manager for the enforcement side of the office, which included the assignment of cases.

During this time, because I was busy on other matters, Ron Evans, the chief deputy, U.S. marshal for the district, who is my immediate superior, asked someone else in the office to initially check into Weaver's background. During this time, in early 1991, Deputy Marshal Warren Mays was told by Evans to look into two letters received by U.S. Attorney Maurice Ellsworth, which were signed in the name of Vicki Weaver.
I had never heard of the name, Vicki Weaver, before these letters. These letters were dated January 22, 1991, and February 3, 1991, respectively, which was soon after the Weavers first appeared in the court prior to his release. In fact, Weaver was arraigned and appeared in court on January 18, 1991, and it is obvious that these letters were precipitated by Weaver's arrest and ap­pearance in court on that day.
One of the responsibilities of the Marshals Service is to protect Federal officers, including the U.S. attorney and in the furtherance of that responsibility, Mays was given assignment to conduct preliminary investigations to determine whether these letters constituted some sort of implied or veiled threat.
It was determined that the letters contained no overt threat, however, after conducting various State and local agency checks during this threat analysis, we determined that the author of the "Babylon letters" was connected to the Weaver case and was apparently his wife.
As a result, I quite naturally began to look at Weaver a little closer. At this time, I also learned that Weaver had failed to maintain his contacts with the pretrial services. My position was to let pretrial services solve that problem. At this time the office was still receiving information from various contacts among Government agencies, State, Federal, and local. I did not view this case, at the time, a~ anything unusual and was not giving it a lot of attention.
Nevertheless, because of the "Babylon letters" and other information received indicating Weaver's association with extreme right-wing radical groups, I decided in order to be cautious we would do a threat profile, threat source profile.
This began by interviewing 15 to 20 people in the community in which Weaver resided, who were local law enforcement officials as well as friends and neighbors. And I learned that Weaver, as well as his wife and children, were usually armed. Based upon the information gathered at this point in time, it was apparent that Weaver did not recognize the U.S. Government as a lawful authority and that he considered any process, including bench warrants to be illegal and a nullity to be ignored.
This is borne out by, among other things, the "Babylon letters wherein he considered both the U.S. attorney, as well as other Government employees to be servants of a lawless government. Furthermore, it also became apparent that any attempt by the Marshals Service to enforce a bench warrant could possibly result in a violent reaction on the part of Weaver.
For instance, in the February 3, 1991, letter it is asserted, whether we live or whether we die we will not bow to your evil commandments. These "Babylon letters," together with other information imparted to us by close associates of Weaver led me to reasonably conclude that violent resistance was a possibility.
Knowing that Weaver's children and wife resided in close physical proximity on the mountain, one issue which deeply concerned me from the beginning was the potential for harm to the Weaver's children as a result of Weaver's apocalyptic vision.
On March 4, 1991, the Marshals Service made its first attempt to contact Weaver in order to obtain his surrender to the lawful mandate of the Federal district court. On that day, Chief Deputy Ron Evans contacted Weaver's attorney, Everett Hormeister, requesting him to contact Weaver, and to effect a resolution. Later that day, Hofmeister told Evans that he had had no contact with Weaver.
On March 5, 1991, I contacted the Weaver's closest friend and supporter, Bill Grider to deliver an oral message to Weaver to surrender to the local Boundary County sheriff or directly to the courts, through his attorney, or to me or in any other manner which was convenient to him. I asked Grider if there was any reason why I should not just walk up to Weaver's house and tell him he is under arrest and to go with me?
Grider said, "I wouldn't do that." I asked him why? Grider said, "If a man enters my property with a gun to do me harm, you can bet I'm going to shoot him to protect myself."
I, of course, interpreted that to mean that if I were to attempt to personally arrest Weaver on the warrant, that my personal safety would be at great risk.
In response to my oral message conveyed to Weaver by Grider, Grider, on March 8, 1991, handed me a letter signed by Randall Weaver, Vicki Weaver, Sara Weaver, Samuel Weaver, and Rachel Weaver stating, among other things, that whether we live or whether we die, we will not obey your lawless Government. This letter confirmed my continuing concern that Weaver was involving his entire family, including his children, in his effort to resist a lawfully issued mandate of the court.
I particularly focused on the phrase, whether we die, to be inclusive of the children as if they would be consumed by some sort of inferno of resistance to a bench warrant. I was astounded by the realization that Weaver, rather than shielding his children from any involvement with the bench warrant actually was placing them right smack in the middle of the process.
On March 8, 1991, I, again, asked Grider to find out what Weaver wanted to do in order to resolve this peacefully. In addition, I asked Grider to tell Weaver to please remove the children so they would not be involved in this matter. On March 11, 1991, I received a telephone call from Gilder wherein he informed me that he went to see Weaver on March 8 and that Weaver wanted the following demands met in order to resolve the situation.
BATF had to admit that it was wrong and that it had made a mistake. BATF had to return the pistol they "stole from him" when they arrested him And he demanded a written apology from Sheriff Bruce Whittaker who called Weaver a paranoid in court.
However, most significantly in reference to the children, Weaver vowed, "if the kids can't live in peace on the mountain, they don't want to live." The Weaver strategy of consistently involving the children at this point was continuously apparent to me. On March 15, 1991, the grand jury returned a failure to appear indictment separate and independent of a firearms indictment and a new warrant was issued by the courts to the Marshals Service on the failure to appear indictment.
On March 21, 1991, I discussed with Sheriff Whittaker the possibility of removing Weaver's children under protective order from the local court. The sheriff responded by saying that it is possible for that to be done but someone would have to go up to remove them which would place law enforcement in the same position that we were currently in.
On or about April 24, 1991, Chief Deputy Evans contacted Vicki Weaver's parents requesting assistance in resolving the matter. This was our second attempt at negotiation through use of intermediaries, Grider being the first attempt. I also learned, on that date, that Kevin Harris had joined Weaver on the mountain and that he was also committed to Weaver's beliefs and philosophies.
On July 9, 1991, the Marshals Service made its third attempt to negotiate with Weaver by again requesting assistance from Weaver s attorney, Hofmeister, and Weaver's close friend and Aryan Nation associate, Rodney Wiley, as well as the leader of the Aryan Nations, Richard Butler to assist in a peaceful resolution.
In response to these efforts, Vicki Weaver wrote Hofmeister, as well as Butler, indicating her adamant desire to remain on the mountain and that this was Yashua's plan for her and her family to live or die on the mountain.
Again, the letters expressed the apocalyptic notion that an entire family, including children, would be sacrificed for the sake of resisting a simple bench warrant.
Most importantly, the letters evidenced the continuing entanglement of the Weaver children in the affairs of the father. On August 28, 1991, the Marshals Service engaged in a fourth attempt to negotiate a resolution to this matter. U.S. Marshal Johnson sent a letter to Weaver requesting his cooperation in resolving the situation. No response either in writing or by word was ever received to this letter.
On September 29, 1991, in a continuing effort to find a way to reach a resolution in this matter, I interviewed the Torrence family, who were friends and neighbors of the Weavers. During the course of this interview, the Torrences informed me that the Weavers had previously said to them that he was not going to be arrested by anybody. That if any Federal agents came around, Weaver is going b take them with him. And, "That is why we have guns." Children, guns and threats of violence all mixed together again.
On the fifth attempt at negotiations on October 9, 1991, both Deputy Mays and I requested yet another friend of Weaver's, Alan Jeppeson, to arrange a face-to-face meeting with Weaver. Weaver's response was, no.
In the meantime, on October 10, 1991, we again contacted Vicki Weaver's parents about a recent visit they had made to the Weavers. They advised me that they tried to resolve the problem with Weaver but that Weaver was committed, and will not come out.
We then asked Jeppeson, Weaver's friend, what will it take to resolve this matter? On October 12, 1991, Jeppeson informed me that Weaver posed some questions and might consider surrender under the following conditions. first Weaver's case be moved to a venue outside of Idaho and, that Jeppeson be allowed to stay in custody with Weaver until his release on bond or sentence.
Upon hearing this response, although skeptical, I was hoping that some sort of dialog was beginning that could result in a resolution of this matter. I then went to Evans and proposed that we attempt to negotiate with Weaver some surrender terms which would include, among other things, that the Government would not interfere with Vicki Weaver's custody of her children, that Weaver's family's movements would not be interfered with by the Government, that the Government would not move to forfeit Weaver's property for the $10,000 unsecured bond, as well as other terms laid out for consideration. Evans approved this approach.
Incidentally, prior to Jeppeson's contact just described, Weaver had written an unsigned letter delivered to me through Jeppeson on October 11, 1991, reiterating the Weavers intent to remain forever separate from the lawless evil of the U.S. Government. On October 15, 1991, I drafted a letter to Weaver setting forth the surrender terms I had discussed with Evans and presented that draft to the U.S. Attorney Maurice Ellsworth for approval.
On that date, I was informed by a note from the U.S. attorney that my draft letter was not approved because the U.S. attorney did not believe that the areas of proposed negotiation were within the power to grant or bind the Government and that the lack of participation of Weaver's attorney, Hofmeister, was fatal to the proposed negotiated surrender.
Meanwhile, on October 16, 1991, Deputy Mays and I wrote Weaver a letter responding to certain questions Weaver had posed to Jeppeson and pleading with him not to involve his family and friends in criminal violations. In my view, the Weaver questions posed to us through Jeppeson was evidence of a continuing dialog between Weaver and myself. Although I was skeptical of the sincerity of this dialog, I did not want to prematurely terminate any attempt by the Weavers to continually communicate with the Marshals Service by way of letters or orally, through Jeppeson.
At all times, regardless of my skepticism, I did attempt to answer all questions posed by Weaver in any form in good faith. Nevertheless, on October 17, 1991, Jeppeson delivered a letter to Mays and myself from the Weavers stating there was nothing further to discuss. This was the end of the sixth attempt at negotiation.
On October 22, 1991, I prepared a case status report on this case. In this report, I recommended the Weavers be allowed to sit through the winter again because they may be more receptive to resolution in the spring of 1991 [sic]. The hope was that Weaver would conclude that he had had enough of this, that the hardship of living in an isolated cabin, in a snowed-in mountaintop without electricity would cause him to disentangle himself from his wife and children and allow the lawfiul judicial process to continue on its normal course.
Throughout the winter, the Marshals Service made no attempt to contact Weaver directly or indirectly through intermediaries, but continued to investigate background information about Weaver and monitor the situation in hopes of finding further sources and opportunities for a resolution.
By the spring of 1992, I had not received any positive response from Weaver regarding any resolution to this matter. I concluded that it was necessary to reassess the case and expand intelligence about Weaver's activities to determine whether he was actually moving on or off the mountain.
I felt that this would be a way of perhaps effecting an arrest of Weaver while he was away from his family. In the furtherance of that goal, I began to think in terms of electronic surveillance of the mountaintop. I concluded that it was necessary to access the technical resources at headquarters to aid in this endeavor because of the limited availability of such resources, locally.
I then contacted Enforcement Operations Division at Headquarters and proposed my plan for electronic surveillance to them. Headquarters agreed with me that this was a feasible option and, in fact, adopted the case as their own at that point. Headquarters designated Art Roderick Chief of Domestic Operations to head up the enforcement of the Weaver arrest warrant
Just after headquarters took over the case, both headquarters and I agreed that we would make another effort to contact Weaver directly in order to resolve the matter. This attempt would precede the commencement of any other phases of this matter. Hence, on March 27, 1992, Marshal Johnson sent Weaver a message through Jeppeson to again negotiate a resolution. this was the seventh attempt to negotiate.
Weaver's response to Johnson by Jeppeson was, "Stay off my mountain." It was at this time the Marshals Service initiated a plan of surveillance of the Weavers. Prior to this time, it became readily apparent that the public, as well as the judiciary, was becoming impatient with the lack of progress in this case. For instance, Judge Harold Ryan had issued verbal instructions to the Marshals Service to do its job and arrest Weaver as early as June 1991. The media were becoming increasingly strident and lamenting the failures of the Marshals Service to effect an arrest.
At the same time, the Weavers, themselves, began granting interviews to members of the print and television media, disseminating to all who wished to hear the Weavers' beliefs in both the maliciousness of the Government and the Weaver's refusal to recognize lawful Government process.
Despite all of this, the U.S. Marshals Service both before and after headquarters took over the case continued to stay on course to resolve is matter. Both electronic, as well as physical surveillance was intended and designed only to make more accurate assessment of the Weavers' movement in order to determine if he could be arrested while he was away from his family.

From the beginning of this case to the very end, all activities of the USMS were designed and intended to avoid harm or danger to the children. That is why the USMS reasonably accommodated Weaver in an attempt to negotiate a resolution. In this case a mature individual kept innocent children physically close to him in order to prevent the USMS from doing its lawful duty. It was Weaver's responsibility to resolve this matter and he did not. For eighteen months the USMS attempted to negotiate with Weaver in good faith. During this same period, Weaver put guns into the hands of children and taught them to hate.
The USMS had only one goal and that was to bring Weaver back into the judicial system without hurting anyone. In light of the efforts made by the Service in this case, the attempt by some to canonize Weaver is perverse, stands the truth on its head, and is further evidence of the lack of justice in this case.
I personally have not lost my faith in the pluralism, tolerance and compassion of our democratic system. In 1969 1 returned to the U.S. from southeast Asia after serving my country as honorably as I could. Upon returning, I was made to feel as if I had committed great sins merely by trying to do my duty. I, again, have been thrown into this role creating the same feelings of anxiety and doubt, as if I'm the enemy of the American people. The one thing that helped me keep my perspective, then and now, is the fact that I was not alone; that I walked in the company of courageous men who shared the same beliefs of civility as I do. Those beliefs are simple: honor, integrity and duty. I am proud of these brave men I am with today and the one who is not with us, and I say with all conviction, for I know their hearts.
Senator SPECTER. Thank you very much, Marshal Hunt.
Mr. THOMAS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Senators, I have very little to add to what has already been said by my colleagues here. I would just like to say and emphasize that this was a tragic incident that happened at Ruby Ridge. None of us, at this table, wanted it to happen or caused it to happen. If, at the conclusion of these hearings when all the facts are in, if there is blame to be placed that blame can be placed squarely on the shoulders of Randall Weaver and Kevin Harris because they, alone, are responsible for the loss of life at Ruby Ridge.
Thank you:
Senator SPECTER. Thank you very much, Marshal Thomas.
Marshal Norris, again, my understanding is that you do not have a written statement. I am not suggesting that you need one but we would be interested to hear any supplement you would have to offer to what has already been testified to here.
Mr. Norris. I would like to thank the subcommittee for this opportunity to testify. We cannot bring Bill Degan back but I just hope the truth about what happened at the Y on August 21, 1992, will finally reach the American public. I think Billy Degan deserves no less.
Thank you.
Senator SPECTER. Before we start the first round of questioning which will be 10 minutes in duration, I think it would be appropriate for the record if the attorneys identified themselves and stated whom they represent.
Mr. LEEPER. Mr. Chairman, I am Charles Leeper and I represent Deputy Larry Cooper and Deputy Arthur Roderick.
Senator SPECTER. Thank you very much.
Mr. BERGER. My name is Lawrence Berger, and I am the general counsel to the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association and I represent David Hunt, Mr. Thomas, and Mr. Norris.
Senator SPECTER. Thank you very much.
I begin, Marshal Cooper and Marshal Roderick, with an issue which we have discussed informally prior to the time the hearing started about your thinking as to whose shot caused the death of Sammy Weaver. During the firefight, Sammy Weaver was struck by two bullets, one in the arm and one in the back, with the shot in the back killing him, according to information provided to the subcommittee. And the prosecution in the Weaver case presented uncontested evidence that the fatal shot most likely came from a 9-mm. bullet.
Deputy U.S. Marshal Cooper was armed with a suppressed 9-mm. submachinegun and the information provided states, "Mr. Weaver was armed with a 9-mm. pistol." The autopsy report on Sammy Weaver demonstrates that the fatal bullet hit him in the back and traveled on what was described in the report as a "very slight upward ."
Mr. Roderick, permit me to begin with you on the subject of your thinking that the shot which killed Sammy Weaver might have been fired by Mr. Weaver, Mr. Randall Weaver.
Mr. RODERICK. Yes, Mr. Chairman. This was really nothing new. I mean after Samuel Weaver's body was discovered up in the birthing shed, I believe that Sunday, after the shooting, we immediately assumed that he had been shot in the crossfire.
As it later bore out, during the trial and also based on some of the evidence we heard Mr. Weaver testify the other day to and Mr. Cooper's testimony, we believe that Mr. Weaver accidentally shot Samuel Weaver in the back as Samuel Weaver was facing in an offensive position-—in other words, with his rifle up.
Senator SPECTER. Is that your conclusion, that—what is your conclusion as to who shot young Sammy Weaver?
Mr. RODERICK. Well, the first shot, we are fairly sure the first shot was coming from our position. When I mean our position, most likely from Bill Degan's position.
Senator SPECTER. And when you say the first shot, the one that struck Sammy Weaver in the arm?
Mr. RODERICK. Correct. What you will notice is that he had to be in this position here with his rifle because the bullet entered into his elbow area—
Senator SPECTER. Indicating a firing position with the rifle on an eye-sight cocked in the shoulder?
Mr. RODERICK. Yes, sir. The bullet passed through the elbow and chipped a piece of the stalk off the rear of the weapon and it also took a piece of metal off the butt plate.
Senator SPECTER. So that shows, your thinking is that that his right arm was cocked holding the rifle in the position you just demonstrated?
Mr. RODERICK. Yes, sir. And that butt plate and chip off the stock were found in the Y area, close to where I believe his .223 caliber was.
Senator SPECTER. Do you have a conclusion as to who fired the first shot which hit Sammy Weaver in the arm?
Mr. RODERICK. We have to assume that it was probably Bill Degan.
Senator SPECTER. And how about the subsequent shot which was fatal to Sammy Weaver?
Mr. RODERICK. Well, the second shot is basically up in the air. Mr. Cooper testified that he saw Sam Weaver run after he fired his second three-round burst which means that Sam Weaver was still alive at that point.
Senator SPECTER. Well, at that juncture, what was the situation with respect to fire coming from Marshal Degan's rifle?
Mr. RODERICK. That is unknown, Senator. We were not aware that Marshal Degan was firing after he was wounded. The acoustics in that area, it just sounded like we were taking constant gun fire. We could not tell if it was incoming or out-going unless we saw it hit the trees or the leaves around us.
Senator SPECTER. Well, what was the position of Mr. Randall Weaver with respect to young Sammy Weaver to try and get an idea as to the trajectory of the bullet and the point of entry?
Mr. RODERICK. If I could refer to the diarama—
Senator SPECTER. Please do.
Mr. RODERICK. Here is the Y area here that we have been talking about. Bill Degan, Larry Cooper, and myself were on the edge of this treeline here moving down from the fern field when we encountered Randall Weaver coming down this trail here. Deputy Cooper was the first one to see Mr. Weaver coming down this trail. Then I turn and I see Mr. Weaver, he has already turned around and running back in this direction. It appears he is cutting into the woods here.
At this point, I start yelling, "U.S. marshals, U.S. marshals, stop." The first round goes off to my left from down in this area here which was—
Senator SPECTER. What is the source of that, as best as you can determine?
Mr. RODERICK. As best as I can determine it was a heavy-caliber weapon. I could not see to my left. I was concentrating on the area that Mr. Weaver had gone into as I was in lead and then the dog came into my view.
I know the shot was to my left. OK, at that point when the dog turned around and looked at me, I shot the dog. The dog goes down. I peel into the woods here, and Mr. Weaver, I have to assume, is in the woods up here. I can hear a lot of trees, branches breaking and sonic movement off to my right flank. That is where I believed I had taken the first round through my tunic.
Senator SPECTER. And who do you believe fired that round that hit you?
Mr. RODERICK. I am not sure since we never found it. It could have come from either two positions. It could have come from Samuel Weaver, whose shell casings were probably found in this area right here. There is a little indentation in this area. But we found on Sam Weavers weapon, that Ruger mini-14, throws the rounds to the right and forward, I believe, about 8 feet. So he was probably 8 feet back from that position you are looking at on the Y chart.
Senator SPECTER. Marshal Roderick, could you get to the point where—-I want to focus on this for just a moment, there will be other questions to let you amplify.
Mr. RODERICK. Yes, sir.
Senator SPECTER. But at what point was Sammy Weaver at when the second shot hit him, to the best of your ability?
Mr. RODERICK. He would have to be on the trail right here, either turning around from the first round that hit him in the elbow.
Senator SPECTER. And where was Mr. Randall Weaver at that time?
Mr. RODERICK. We believe Mr. Randall Weaver was in the woods here, firing back into the Y at this angle here.
Senator SPECTER. What was the evidence with respect to Mr. Randall Weaver having access to the 9-mm. weapon?
Mr. RODERICK. Well, I believe, as part of the physical evidence that was found, somewhere up the trail here there were 9-mm. shell casings found and also some shotgun shot casings found.
Senator SPECTER. How close were those 9-mm. shell casings found to where young Sammy Weaver was shot?
Mr. RODERICK. Well, I think the shell casings were found 450 feet up the trail. What we suggest is that when Mr. Weaver was in the woods here he continued to fire.
Senator SPECTER. Continued to fire what?
Mr. RODERICK. His 9-mm and his shotgun. Now, Mr. Weaver— this area has not been searched with metal detectors. It is a very heavily wooded area. And, of course, there are pine needles and leaves probably 6-inches high in there. But we have had experts come up here as early as March 1992 [sic], prior to the trial, we had to dig this area out and we still found evidence of shell casings and bullet holes in trees up in this area here.
Senator SPECTER. So your testimony is that Mr. Randall Weaver was firing a weapon that was 9-mm.; how would you account for the autopsy conclusion that the fatal bullet that hit young Sammy Weaver hit him in the back and traveled very slightly upward?
Mr. RODERICK. As far as the upward angle?
Senator SPECTER. Yes.
Mr. RODERICK. Well, this area here is, it slopes. It is not exactly that everything is uphill. I mean you have a dip and a turn. Mr. Weaver could have very easily have been on lower ground, in this lower area here, when the angle of the round hit Sammy Weaver.
Senator SPECTER. So you think the trajectory of a very slight upward travel trajectory is consistent with the shot having been fired from Mr. Randall Weaver?
Mr. RODERICK. It could very well be. I—
Senator SPECTER. Let me quote you—my yellow light is on and I want to stop at red, but let me just finish this question—at Mr. Weaver's criminal trial the Government's wound ballistic expert testified that Marshal Cooper shot Sammy Weaver. The question: "Dr. Fackler"—three dots—"It's your understanding, isn't it, that the 9-mm. silver-tipped bullet that you testified went through Sammy Weaver's back, that came from Larry Cooper's gun, is that your understanding?"
"Yes, it is." And my final question to you—my time is up—why do you disagree with Dr. Fackler's conclusion?
Mr. RODERICK. Because that was the only avenue we were pursuing at the time. The only other person down in that area that was carrying a 9-mm. was Randall Weaver and I tend to believe Deputy Cooper's testimony as opposed to Mr. Weaver's testimony.
Senator SPECTER. Thank you very much.
Senator Kohl.
Senator KOHL. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Roderick and Mr. Cooper, as well as Mr. Hunt, Mr. Thomas, and Mr. Norris, your testimony has been very helpful here today and we appreciate the fact that you are here. Gentlemen, we have now heard both versions of the events at the Y, with the exception, of course, of Kevin Harris, who we hope yet to hear from. We may never know exactly what happened.
However, I would like to emphasize that even if, as the Weavers state, you did shoot at the dog first and provoke 14-year-old Sammy Weaver, I do not think that you did anything wrong. One of the saddest elements of this story is that Sammy Weaver was just a young boy who had a gun in his hand and his head filled with his father’s extreme rhetoric about government and law enforcement officers.
Mr. Roderick, according to the Idaho crisis response team commander David Neal, when he reached you that night, the first thing he said was, I quote, "What happened?" And your response, according to him, was, "I shot the dog.” Maybe that is a telling response and maybe it is not. Can you explain why those would have been your first words?
Mr. RODERICK. What had occurred, when Deputy Thomas had led the Idaho State Police Critical Response Team up to our location, I came out to meet them. At that point. Captain Neal was setting out cover teams. It was very dark up there. Night illumination for the one piece of night vision they had was very low. As the teams were going out, I said, "Watch out. There is a dead dog. I had to shoot the dog. There is a dead dog up there."
Now, I know that got distorted in the press, saying that I said I shot the dog first. In reality, I was just warning Captain Neal and his team members that there was a dead dog up there and do not trip over it.
Senator KOHL. Would it not have occurred to you to say that Degan is dead, Degan has been shot?
Mr. RODERICK. They already knew that. They already had this information from the two deputies that were down on the mountain, and as Dave Hunt had described earlier, he briefed them in detail at approximately 6 p.m. that afternoon, which was about 5'/2 hours prior to the Idaho Response Team getting up to our location.
Senator KOHL. Mr. Roderick, how could you not have seen Bill Degan shoot, yet did see Kevin Harris shoot at Bill Degan and then raise his weapon to shoot again?
Mr. RODERICK. From my location on the Y, it is hard to see that in the diagram, but if you look at the diorama center, you can see that there is a heavily wooded area. I was basically just down around the corner of the Y, and that road that heads down to the Y, I could not see anything up to my left since Cooper and Degan were already into the edge of the treeline.
Senator KOHL. Some controversy has developed based on the fact that none of you was debriefed the day of the firefight at the Y or, for that matter, the next morning, and during this time you were not separated from one another. Why, to your knowledge, did the FBI fail to interview you before going up the mountain on the next day? Were you surprised that the Hostage Rescue Team did not talk to you by the next morning? Why did you not seek out the FBI yourself to give them information concerning the firefight?
Mr. RODERICK. Senator, at approximately, I believe it was—we were available to the FBI at any time while we were up at our Schweitzer Mountain cabin. We were requested to come to do an interview, I believe, the afternoon of August 22 at the Boundary County courthouse. We went. Myself and Deputy Cooper and Deputy Hunt were interviewed by the FBI. That took about 2½, 3 hours, and then we responded back to the mountain.
Senator KOHL. But by that time, they were already up the hill?
Mr. RODERICK. Yes, sir.
Senator KOHL. Does it surprise you, or did it surprise you that they would commence their activities on that next day without first having heard firsthand from you what had happened.
Mr. RODERICK. Senator, I assume they had heard what had happened from somebody. I do not know. They did not get it from any of us. I do know that probably 1 hour or 2 hours when we had responded back, I did sit down with one of the FBI intelligence agents and told him what had occurred and basically gave him a debriefing as to what we had observed over the past week and in the months prior.
Senator KOHL. One of the most surprising things in this whole incident, however, is that before having commenced their activities on the 22d of August, they, for whatever reason, did not consider it necessary, imperative, or useful to have talked to either one of you first. Can you understand our surprise at that?
Mr. RODERICK. I understand that, Senator.
Senator KOHL. According to ballistics reports, the FBI found three casings from Kevin Harris's gun and two from Sammy Weaver's gun, as you know, and yet you say that you were under a constant barrage of fire for several minutes and that more than 100 rounds were fired. Can you explain how you could have heard so many rounds and yet the FBI, as we know, found so little evidence? In fact, I think they found, what, only 19?
Mr. RODERICK. Approximately 13 of our rounds.
Senator KOHL. Thirteen of yours and six—
Mr. RODERICK. And the five shell casings founding to them.
Senator KOHL. They found less than 20 and you said there was a constant barrage, several hundred rounds were fired.
Mr. RODERICK. Yes. Senator, if you look at the diorama, I mean, the FBI, we took the FBI around and showed them every single position we were in. As a mader of fact, Deputy Cooper and Deputy Degan were relatively stationary and the little movement I made, it was easy to find where my single round was fired and where Deputy Cooper and Deputy Degan's rounds were fired. The FBI did not have the benefit of interviewing the Weavers to find out what areas they had fired from.
Randy Weaver himself admits that after he left or ran up the trail, he fired—he ran up the trail 80 to 100 feet and fired his weapons. Now, we found shell casings 450 feet further up the trail. Randy Weaver also admits that when he responded back to the knoll area, he took Sara Weaver's Ruger mini-14 and fired all 18 rounds, I believe, up in the air. Now, none of those shell casings were found. And I think that the areas I showed earlier to Mr. Chairman and the other Senators have not been checked by the FBI and that if we sent experts up there today, I think they would still find shell casings in the woods.
Senator KOHL. All right. Mr. Cooper, you say that you saw Kevin Harris turn and shoot Bill Degan first and fatally. We know that Marshal Degan managed to shoot seven times. Do you believe, based on your observations, that Mr. Degan could then have raised himself up sufficiently to fire his weapon seven times, especially with what was a fatal wound?
Mr. COOPER. Senator, I believe that Bill Degan fired those seven rounds. Now whether he raised up sufficiently to do it or not, I know he was in a position he could have fired from when I went up to him. He was on his left side. The sling was still around his elbow and his hand was still entwined in the sling. He was laying on an uphill grade. His right hand when I got to him was like this, so I believe, yes sir, he certainly could have fired those rounds and did fire them.
Senator KOHL. As you were running down the mountain, and we should emphasize that you were trying to avoid a confrontation, the dog, Kevin Harris, and Sammy Weaver were following you. In the woods, you saw the dog. Did you see Kevin or Sammy? Do you think they saw you?
Mr. RODERICK. Initially, I saw the dog with Kevin Harris behind him. As we ran through the woods, and at that point when we were first spotted in the lower garden area, I truly believe that they saw us from the rock outcropping and that the dogs did not alert on us because the dogs were up in the house. That distance is a good 200-plus yards from the house and I do not think the dogs would ever have been able to catch our scent. And I made eye contact with the dog as it caught on us as we jumped up and ran.
We did see Kevin Harris a couple of times running through the woods behind the dog. I did not see Sam Weaver until we entered the canopy of trees and I looked back on that left trail coming down to the Y area from the fern field. That is the first time I saw Sammy Weaver.
Senator KOHL. All right. Thank you.
Mr. COOPER. Senator, if I may— Senator KOHL. Yes?
Mr. COOPER. Also, when we were at the Y, when I saw Randall Weaver come on the right fork of that Y coming down to the Y, the dog was gaining ground on me and was almost on me. At that time, I looked Kevin Harris in the eye and I said, "Back off, U.S. marshal." There is no doubt in my mind that he heard me when I said that.
Senator KOHL. Do you believe, Mr. Roderick or Mr. Cooper, that Mr. Weaver and Mr. Harris were trying to ambush you at the Y?
Mr. RODERICK. It was evident. I mean, they actually performed a good pincer move on us where Mr. Weaver came down the trail leading from his house into the canopy of trees in the lower garden area and actually cut us off. I was trying to hit the staging area that we started off from, since that is where the northern observation post team knew we would be at, and it was a perfect movement.
Mr. COOPER. Senator, with all the evidence that has been gathered here of Randall Weaver's intention to shoot any Federal officer that came after him, to challenge everyone and accuse them of being marshals, how can there be any doubt in anyone's mind that that was what their intent was when they use a maneuver like someone hunting rabbits?
Senator KOHL. I thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Senator SPECTER. Thank you very much, Senator Kohl.
Senator Thompson.
Senator THOMPSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Gentlemen, did each of you testify at the trial of Randy Weaver and Mr. Harris?
Mr. RODERICK. We did, sir.
Senator THOMPSON. Mr. Cooper, did you?
Mr. COOPER. Yes, sir.
Senator THOMPSON. Mr. Roderick?
Mr. RODERICK. Yes, sir.
Senator THOMPSON. Did all of you testify? That was a long, extensive trial, as I read. How many days, weeks, or months did that last?
Mr. RODERICK. I believe it was 8 weeks. It was 2 months, I believe.
Senator THOMPSON. Two months in trial, one of the longest, I guess, in the history of the State, at that time, anyway. How long were you on the witness stand, Mr. Cooper?
Mr. COOPER. I believe I was on the witness stand in the trial, Senator, for a day-and-a-half, sir.
Senator THOMPSON. Mr. Roderick?
Mr. RODERICK. I was on the stand for 6 days.
Senator THOMPSON. Six days?
Mr. RODERICK. Yes, sir.
Senator THOMPSON. And you were the two gentlemen, I guess, who are here today who were actually out there.
Mr. COOPL'R. Mr. Hunt would have testified more.
Senator THOMPSON. Mr. Hunt came right after, I believe, the gun battle?
Mr. HUNT. Yes, sir.
Senator THOMPSON. How long did you testify, Mr. Hunt?
Mr. HUNT. Four days.
Senator THOMPSON. Four days? I guess the point is that we do the best we can in trying to synopsize the facts. We cannot do justice, really, to the case or to you all, but we had a trial there of that duration with a jury. What you say happened out there is very compelling. I think most people in this country would certainly like to feel that they could take the word of an officer over somebody else, especially somebody else who had indicated some of the propensities these fellows had.
But I am asking you, how do you account for the fact that you apparently testified the same way there that you did now.
Mr. COOPER. Yes, sir.
Senator THOMPSON. Much more extensively, in much more detail. The other side had a chance to present their case and the jury, a local jury of folks in that State acquitted them of murder, acquitted them of manslaughter, acquitted them of assault on a helicopter after hearing all that evidence. I am not really trying to make a point with my question. I am really curious as to what your thinking is as to how that could happen or why that did happen.
Mr. RODERICK. I think, Senator, that obviously there is a burden of proof on the Government to prove——
Senator THOMPSON. That is true, and it is a heavy burden, beyond a reasonable doubt.
Mr. RODERICK. Exactly, sir, and I think that the jury's verdict does not reflect actually that they did not believe what we were saying. I think that it just was not proved beyond a reasonable doubt.
I think, also, that the trial was a very complicated trial, a very complicated indictment that involved 10 years of conspiracy charges, and I think probably what happened in the jurors' minds is that the events of August 21 got lost in the conspiracy charges that stem back from 1983 right on through to 1992. I think that is one of the major reasons that we ended up losing the case, and I believe Mr. Weaver was convicted of the two charges that we initially went after him for, the failure to appear and the violations of release.
Senator THOMPSON. Right.
Mr. RODERICK. I think those factors had a lot to do, and I know Mr. Cooper—
Senator THOMPSON. But it does seem, does it not, that if, in fact, the jury believed that they were warned, U.S. marshals, and then Mr. Harris at that point shot the officer, that they would have had to have convicted him at least of manslaughter, if they had believed that.
Mr. RODERICK. I think, again, Senator, there was enough doubt put in the jurors' minds based on the problems we had with the crime scene, the gathering of evidence at the crime scene, and I think all that put together sort of bled over onto the events that occurred on the 21st.
Senator THOMPSON. I take it from listening to you regarding the crime scene that the analysis that was done there, at the time, I believe that there were 19 shots fired and 14 of those shots were from the marshals, that you disagree with the total number of shots.
Mr. RODERICK. Absolutely.
Senator THOMPSON. It sounded like a lot more to you?
Mr. RODERICK. As a matter of fact, that might be the only shell casings found, but I know in the trees I was behind, there were four bullet grazings or bullets in those trees. In Mr. Cooper's position, they also found rounds in the trees, and I believe in Mr. Degan's position, they also found rounds in the trees. I think what you were primarily talking about was the amount of shell casings found.
Senator THOMPSON. I think that is right.
Mr. RODERICK. Yes, sir.
Senator THOMPSON. After the exchange of gunfire and Randy Weaver started running toward the house and I take it that the other two did, also, some general direction toward the cabin at the point when Randy Weaver was shot, were you under the impression that they had just stopped there somewhere in the woods or did you think that they had gone back toward the cabin or what was your feeling?
Mr. RODERICK. We could not really figure out what was going on. We just know we were under constant gunfire. In Randy Weaver’s statement, he admits that he only ran 80 to 100 feet and then started firing his weapons. So after Deputy Cooper saw Sammy Weaver run by, we did not see anybody else the rest of the day.

I know the OP team, when they ran through did not see anybody, and we just do not indiscriminately fire into the woods at any sound. We like to have what they call target acquisition. We did not see anybody after that.
Senator THOMPSON. Mr. Hunt, let me ask you a couple of questions.
Mr. HUNT. Yes, sir.
Senator THOMPSON. You, of course, spent an awful lot of time trying to figure out a peaceful solution to this, did you not?
Mr. HUNT. Yes, sir.
Senator THOMPSON. You made many attempts, and I have read reports where you were under the opinion that it seems like people were making too big a deal out of it at one time, that you thought maybe you could just kind of go up there the old fashioned way, the way you had successfully done in hundreds of cases and just arrest the fellow, is that right? That was your opinion at one time?
Mr. HUNT. Initially, I felt like time was on our side, that it would work to our benefit. I did not believe Randy Weaver was the kind of person that could stand isolation and that we could wait.
Senator THOMPSON. That leads to another consideration I maybe can get back to in a moment. I think Mr. Cooper, in his statement, points out that he and, I am sure, several of you, if not all of you, have been involved in many, many cases involving very violent people, involving narcotics traffickers, involving terrorists, and you successfully resolved those cases without ever firing a shot.
I think what most people in looking at this, it occurs to them, obviously, these people were violating the law. I mean, they were taking a big chance and he was putting his kids in jeopardy and all that. But, after all, apparently he had never violated the law before. He had never shot anybody. He had never shot at anybody as far as we know. It was a man and a couple of boys and his wife and a couple of children.
So the question is, how could such a bad result come from this situation when such a good result had come from hundreds of other apparently more dangerous situations? And I think, to me, part of the answer has to do with some of the maybe faulty information that you were getting, but also another couple of things.
It seems to me in reading the record that these letters that Vicki Weaver wrote played a tremendously large part in your thinking in terms of the dangerousness and volatility of the situation. Is that an overcharacterization, Mr. Hunt, or would you say that that played a very important part?
Mr. HUNT. The letters were important, but his political and religious views were almost irrelevant. What was important were the children were working and acting as a shield for Weaver. That was their function with him, basically, and the only thing was how to separate him from that family.
Senator THOMPSON. But you were getting some bad information. I notice in this last 302 that I received yesterday, it says Weaver is a suspect in several eastern Washington and western Montana bank robberies, and then these letters come which to me indicate to you that you have really got some serious rabid, crazy criminals who would kill themselves, kill their children, not based on my of the other information, even though some of it was exaggerated, it seems to me, but just based on these letters. Is that an unfair characterization or not?
Mr. HUNT. No, I can understand how you would come to that conclusion, but let me explain that a little bit. Yes, I had received that information, but very quickly, early on, discounted that information.
Senator THOMPSON. About the bank robberies and the—
Mr. HUNT. Yes, yes. there was actually nothing to it, or at least nothing substantial to it that I would hang my hat on to say he was involved in anything like that. It was a non-issue.
Senator THOMPSON. And the—

Mr. RODERICK. Senator, can I add, too, about that information? Senator THOMPSON. The letters?

Mr. RODERICK. Right. I mean, we had received a lot of information from different agencies, from Secret Service, from BATF, and from the State and locals up there in the area. When we were assigned this case, when was put on this case in March 1992, one of the first things we did is myself and Deputy Hunt went through that information and eliminated a lot of it. It never really went beyond us. We eliminated the bank robbery stuff, the fact that he had a prior criminal record, the fact that he was a Green Beret and was trained in all these exotic types of combat. We were able to eliminate a lot of that stuff.
We also had reports that he did shoot at people. He shot over people's heads. We had police reports from Boundary County and we have an interview from the Kittels who went up there, I believe, on either April 20 or 21, that they were stopped—this was trial testimony that they had given—because they heard a gunshot coming from the Weaver compound.
So we were able to verify and discount a lot of information back there in March and April, and I know we did not pass any of that on to the Bureau. Dave Hunt gave an excellent briefing very contemporaneous to the shooting on August 21 and that tape is available to the committee.
Senator THOMPSON. My time is up. Thank you.
Senator SPECTER. Thanks very much, Senator Thompson.
Senator Leahy.
Senator LEAHY. Thank you. I have read all the statements and I want to make sure I fully understand what happened, and, of course, we are talking about something several years later. No matter how well you describe it and no matter how many answers you give, there is no way of totally recreating what happened.
So if I might, with Mr. Cooper and Mr. Roderick first, I understand that you were throwing some rocks about an hour before the firefight occurred, is that correct?
Mr. RODERICK. That is correct.
Mr. COOPER. It would have been about that time, Senator, somewhere in there.
Senator LEAHY. I am not trying to pin you down exactly, but approximately.
Mr. COOPER. I believe it was more than an hour, but it was somewhere in there.
Senator LEAHY. And full daylight and all at that time?
Mr. COOPER. Yes, sir, it was.
Mr. RODERICK. Yes, sir.
Senator LEAHY. Now, the rock throwing did not alert the dogs to your presence or anybody else?
Mr. COOPER. No, sir, it did not.
Mr. RODERICK. No, sir.
Senator LEAHY. What if the rocks had alerted the Weavers to your presence? What were you going to do then? Mr. Cooper? I mean, I assume that you had thought about that, what if they had been alerted to you because of that.
Mr. COOPER. I am not sure I understand the question.
Senator LEAHY. You throw the rocks to see whether it would alert the dogs. In doing that, you would also have the corollary of that, that it just might alert the Weavers and the dogs to you, is that correct?
Mr. COOPER. I believe the dogs might start barking, Senator, but the dogs had barked all morning and they barked, from the reports, all the time.
Senator LEAHY. Did you have a plan of what you would do if, indeed, it created enough of a hullabaloo that the Weavers reacted to it?
Mr. COOPER. We had always had a general plan, Senator, that if we were detected, we would withdraw from the area, retreat from the area. We entered off the trail in this area where the birchtrees were. We come down through here to a high point, a high ledge up in here. As Mr. Roderick said, there is not enough relief here to show you how high or what kind of drop-offs, ledges, and cliffs.
But on the high ledge here, there were three of us together, Bill Degan, Art Roderick, and myself. We observed from that position. Then we moved down. Art Roderick and I left our weapons and our packs at the higher position and low-crawled. There was loose rock on the side. That is the reason we left our equipment there.—
Senator LEAHY. You still carried sidearms, though?
Mr. COOPER. Yes, sir. We both had sidearms on. There was loose rock going down there. That is the reason we got rid of our equipment, because we were afraid we might make some noise going down there. But we took our time, we got down there, and because of the loose gravel and other things, I was concerned about the safety of a surveillance reconnaissance team or a surveillance security team located in that area, which would have been a great area to locate them because they would have a view of the house and of the driveway.
But you can see on this model the distance between here and that cabin. We threw that first rock—I thought that maybe—
Senator LEAHY. You were thinking there might be something right in the immediate vicinity, as far as the rock was concerned?
Mr. COOPER. I am not sure I understand you, Senator.
Senator LEAHY. You had a purpose in throwing the rock. I mean, you were not trying to get a reaction from a dog down by the cabin. You were looking for a reaction of something that might be right nearby?
Mr. COOPER. No, sir.
Mr. COOPER. I was trying to establish whether a security surveillance team could move into that location and if they made any noise, like the rock slipping or something else, that the dog would not immeditely start barking and draw attention to them.
Senator LEAHY. And that was your view, too, Mr. Roderick?
Mr. RODERICK. Yes, Senator, and also, at that point, we had constantly checked with the northern observation post to make sure that everyone was in the house, including the dogs.
Senator LEAHY. At that point, had you run into any of the Weavers, your plan was what again?
Mr. RODERICK. Always to retreat in the opposite direction that they were coming at us from.
Senator LEAHY. OK.
Mr. RODERICK. From that specific location, even if they did run out of the house, they would have never seen us.
Senator LEAHY. Now let us go to the time of the shooting. Mr. Cooper, I want to talk about your second three-round burst of fire. I assume that this was a weapon set that if you fired it fully automatic, it would fire only a three-shot burst, is that correct?
Mr. COOPER. No, sir. It was a fully—the weapon had two selectors on it, or three selectors, safe, semiautomatic, and fully automatic, Senator.
Senator LEAHY. But the fully automatic did not limit the number? It is not like some weapons that military carry that when they set them on fully automatic they will still only go a three-shot burst at a time?
Mr. COOPER. It was fully automatic at the time and did not have a three-round burst setting, Senator.
Senator LEAHY. You understand what I am talking about?
Mr. COOPER. I do, Senator. Now they have modified most of the weapons where they have a safe, semiautomatic, three-round burst, fully automatic.
Senator LEAHY. I have fired those. That is why I was curious. So you were on fully automatic?
Mr. COOPER. I was on fully automatic, Senator.
Senator LEAHY. The reason I ask that, you were then controlling your rate of fire. I mean, a three-round burst of fire is a very, very short burst of fire.
Mr. COOPER. Yes, sir, it is. We train to do it in the three-round burst because if you shoot longer, it affects your weapon, sir.
Senator LEAHY. I am very, very familiar with that type of weapon, but it is also the case you were—-I do not want to put words in your mouth, but would it be safe to say you felt you were very much in control of what you were doing?
Mr. COOPER. It would be very fair to say that, Senator.
Senator LEAHY. We are talking a three-shot round is probably less than a second, or about a second?
Mr. COOPER. Yes, sir. I believe that the first three-round burst was actually a three-round burst, and the second three-round burst I attempted, I believe was only two rounds because the FBI only recovered five shell casings, sir.
Senator LEAHY. Do you know how many rounds you had left in your weapon after it?
Senator LEAHY. I understand. I am not questioning that. I want to just sort of lay the premise, and if I am wrong in my premise, correct me. You testified you felt you did not hit him with that. In your opinion, who did shoot him?
Mr. COOPER. In my opinion, Senator, I believe Randall Weaver shot his son accidentally in the back.
Senator LEAHY. And I note in the autopsy report the leather coat that he was wearing was never checked to see what kind of a bullet entered.
Mr. COOPER. They did look at it, Senator, but I do not believe that the expert could make a conclusive finding. In his expert opinion, it was a 9 mm.
Senator LEAHY. Thank you.
Senator SPECTER. Thank you very much, Senator Leahy.
Senator FEINSTEIN. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
I would like to take up, if you do not mind—
Senator SPECTER. I am sorry, Senator Feinstein. Senator Abraham apparently just joined us.
Senator FEINSTEIN. Fine.
Senator ABRAHAM. If you are—
Senator FEINSTEIN. No, no. You go right ahead. No problem.
Senator ABRAHAM. Let me start really for the panel as a whole. Which of you, if any of you, had direct interaction with the members of the FBI observer sniper team when they arrived?
Mr. RODERICK. That was none of us. I think the individual you might be referring to is Deputy Ron Libby.
Senator ABRAHAM. But none of you talked to any member of the FBI sniper—
Mr. RODERICK. I did later the day of August 22. It was late in the afternoon, probably around 6 p.m., 7 p.m.
Senator ABRAHAM.. After the incident?
Mr. RODERICK. Yes, sir.
Senator ABRAHAM. So there was never any interchange between any of you and any of them, is that correct, before the shooting of Vicki Weaver?
Mr. HUNT. No, that is not correct. I did speak with a representative that I understood to be an advance man, perhaps, for the HRT at approximately midnight on August 21.
Senator ABRAHAM. Did you outline exactly what at least was the collective judgment of the five of you as to what had transpired that afternoon?
Mr. HUNT. No, sir.
Senator ABRAHAM. What is it, then, to the degree any of you know, and maybe none of you do know, was the information passed on to the sniper team insofar as how Marshal Degan had been killed?
Mr. HUNT. I do not know beyond the briefing I gave at approximately 6 p.m. that afternoon on the 21st what information was passed on to HRT or any other FBI representatives. That night, I did talk briefly with an FBI representative, but earlier that afternoon, I had given a reasonably extensive briefing that explained background, what had transpired earlier in events that day with our first encounter and the current situation and how I perceived the current situation to be.
Senator ABRAHAM. And that included, then, an explanation of how the shooting of Marshal Degan had taken place?
Mr. HUNT. Well, generally. I did not know all the facts at that time.
Senator ABRAHAM. So the FBI may or may not—the actual agents who were in the sniper observer roles, none of you, at least, know whether they were apprised of the testimony we have heard today from Mr. Cooper of that version of the shooting?
Mr. HUNT. Well, not in that detail. I did explain to them that Kevin Harris had shot Deputy Degan.
Senator ABRAHAM. And you indicated that it was as a first shot, not as a defensive response?
Mr. HUNT. Yes, I did.
Senator ABRAHAM. Did any of the others of you have any contact whatsoever?
Mr. RODERICK. No, Senator.
Senator ABRAHAM. Is that standard procedure in this type of situation?
Mr. RODERICK. I do not think this was a very standard situation, so—
Senator ABRAHAM. Well, maybe—
Mr. RODERICK. I had some questions myself, why did they not come and talk to us, and I assume there was a reason why they did not. We did not know what the reason was. We knew that at the point the shooting occurred, that when we got down the mountain, we would be totally removed from the case.
Senator ABRAHAM. Sure.
Mr. COOPER. Senator, if I might add to that, I think it is pretty standard operating procedure for any critical response team, special operations, or HRT team to come in and set up a perimeter to protect the public from any harm. I think that is the first thing that they do, and they do not feel like they have to have all the information at that time. That is the first thing that you do. You have to locate the people. Then you have to contain the people so the public is protected, and I believe they were doing that job at that time.
Senator ABRAHAM. I see.
Mr. COOPER. They were trying to put a perimeter around them to protect them from outsiders and outsiders from them.
Senator ABRAHAM. So, in your judgment, it was not unusual that, at least in that short period of time, the 24 hours—well, actually, less than that. Obviously, they did not arrive until sometime after this initial shooting.
Mr. COOPER. Senator, there have been studies done that your witnesses are not going to be very good until they have had some time to get themselves together. If you look at this situation, we had gotten up at 2:30 in the morning, did not have 8 hours sleep before that. Then we had been in this situation for over 24 hours, in fact, over 30 hours, and we could not sleep that morning. We went to bed about daylight, about 5 a.m. or so, and were awake by 8:30 a.m. because we could not sleep. We sat there and waited.
We would have loved to have given a statement, but they, I believe, thought that we were——
Mr. RODERICK. Traumatized.
Mr. COOPER [continuing]. Traumatized and that we would not be any good to them until we had gotten some sleep.
Senator ABRAHAM. As you know, we are just trying to ascertain, I think, the basis on which their instructions were developed and what they knew and what they did not know, because obviously questions have been raised as to what happened. It was not clear to me whether there had been any direct contact between you and the specific men who were in the different locations.
Let me go maybe to Mr. Hunt. The surveillance effort that was undertaken on the morning that the shooting of Marshal Degan and Sammy Weaver occurred, what was the goal of that effort? What were you, as a group, trying to determine, just the conditions?
Mr. HUNT. The goal was to update any intelligence information we had, to see if anyone else had joined the family, see if they were still living, responding, their environment had not changed, that from an intelligence side.
The second side of it was to locate places where surveillance teams—the following week, we were going to start an undercover operation where we would have an undercover person actually drive into the area. We had arranged to purchase the properties around him in a legitimate manner.
The other issue was to extract that, be able to extract that under cover if he got into trouble there while meeting or talking or contacting the Weavers. We did not know how Weaver would respond to him exactly, if it would be hostile or whatever. So we had to have these positions located where somebody could step in and extract.
Also, I wanted new photographs to see if perhaps Harris was still there or any other people had joined this group up there.
Senator ABRAHAM. When you all were headed up there, did you have a plan for escape?
Mr. HUNT. Yes. That was generally to stay disengaged and if contacted, just to pull back and out of harm's way.
Senator ABRAHAM. But obviously it was a dangerous undertaking to try to go up there, as you saw it from the different information that you believed had either been said or reported to you.
I guess my question is this. Your goal was to pull back without engagement. Did you have a set of your own sort of procedures or rules of engagement, if you would, for how you would handle the situation if that did not occur?
Mr. RODERICK. We used the standard rules of engagement, the Marshals Service rules of engagement, to protect yourself or your partners or somebody else, and I believe the Bureau's standard rules of engagement are the same thing.
Senator ABRAHAM. So, in your judgment, it was not unusual that, at least in that short period of time, the 24 hours—well, actually, less than that. Obviously, they did not arrive until sometime after this initial shooting.
Mr. COOPER. Senator, there have been studies done that your witnesses are not going to be very good until they have had some time to get themselves together. If you look at this situation, we had gotten up at 2:30 in the morning, did not have 8 hours sleep before that. Then we had been in this situation for over 24 hours, in fact, over 30 hours, and we could not sleep that morning. We went to bed about daylight, about 5 a.m. or so, and were awake by 8:30 a.m. because we could not sleep. We sat there and waited.
Senator ABRAHAM. Thank you.
Mr. RODERICK. You are welcome.
Senator ABRAHAM. Does anybody else want to comment on that?
[No response].
Senator SPECTER. Thank you very much, Senator Abraham.
Senator Feinstein.
Senator FEINSTEIN. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
I wanted to ask about two things. Essentially, I wanted to go back to the seven contacts and what, Deputy Hunt, what you were telling us about. I think you mentioned that, and I believe there was at one point you went to Judge Ryan. You wanted to go up the hill and just ask them to come out and there was a warrant issued and you were supposed to exercise that warrant. Did you attempt to get a warrant under seal?
Mr. HUNT. That was attempted by Marshal Johnson and, I believe, Ron Evans early on in the case. It would have been around July 1991, I believe.
Senator FEINSTEIN. But what exactly did Judge Ryan say when you went to see him?
Mr. HUNT. I was not present at that.
Senator FEINSTEIN. Who was present?
Mr. HUNT. It is my understanding that Marshal Johnson and perhaps Ron Evans were available.
Senator FEINSTEIN. So you were not involved in that at all?
Mr. HUNT. No.
Mr. RODERICK. Senator, also, I think that attempt was made again on March 27, 1992, where I believe former Director Hudson testified to that when he was here earlier in the week, that he attempted to get the warrant dismissed and then reissued under seal and that also was turned down again at that point.
Mr. HUNT. That is correct.
Senator FEINSTEIN. And what was the reason you understood that it was turned down?
Mr. RODERICK. I was told there were some ethical reasons why that could not be done and that was sort of the end of it. It had to do with people higher up above me and also higher-ups in the District of Idaho.
Senator FEINSTEIN. And who were those higher-ups?
Mr. RODERICK. From headquarters—
Senator FEINSTEIN. Who said that there is an ethical reason why
the warrant could not be placed under seal, which, I take it, would have allowed you to have waited him out?
Mr. RODERICK. Yes. I believe the higher-ups that I am referring to would be my former director, Henry Hudson, and then probably Maurice Ellsworth and possibly—-Maurice Ellsworth, the former U.S. attorney from the District of Idaho and Judge Ryan, I believe is how the conversation went.
Senator FEINSTEIN. Mr. Hunt, was it the marshals' intent at that time to try to see if' the situation could not be resolved in a normal way and therefore delay exercising the warrant?
Mr. HUNT. Partly. It would accomplish two things. It was a rouse. At least, that was my understanding of it. But it would also buy us a little time. It would allow a cooling down period. Perhaps Weaver would then feel more comfortable, come off the mountain, and be in a position where we could affect a safe arrest.
Senator FEINSTEIN. I would like to go to the second shot at Sammy Weaver, and let me begin this way. When you were up on the knoll that you described earlier, what kind of rocks were you throwing? Were they big rocks or small rocks? Were you making a lot of noise, or—
Mr. RODERICK. No, actually the first—they fit in the palm of my hand. The first one made absolutely no noise whatsoever. I do not know where it went but it did not make any noise. The second one sounded like it might have hit some trees or some brush. There was not a lot of noise. The OP team did not hear it up north. I believe Bill heard it, but there was absolutely no response from—
Senator FEINSTEIN. How many rocks did you throw'?
Senator FEINSTEIN. Two? And then you noticed activity at the cabin?
Mr. RODERICK. No. No, ma'am.
Senator FEINSTEIN. To what was the comment, "They are responding," made? What were they responding to?
Mr. RODERICK. That was about an hour later. As opposed to the rock throwing incident, an hour later, we had moved down into the lower garden area and I received a communication from Joe Thomas that a vehicle is approaching and we believe, and right after that, moments after that, another radio transmission, "They're responding," but I think probably
Senator FEINSTEIN. What were they responding to?
Mr. RODERICK. The sound of the vehicle coming into the valley.
Senator FEINSTEIN. Did you ever ascertain whose vehicle it was?
Mr. RODERICK. Senator, if I can probably explain, the acoustics in that area were such that you could hear a train like 30 miles away. You could hear vehicles driving on what I believe is Route 95 up in that area. And as you heard the snipers testify, the sounds seem to bounce off the mountains up there.
Senator FEINSTEIN. Was there an echo?
Senator FEINSTEIN. So it was an anonymous vehicle?
Mr. RODERICK. Correct, and we were concerned with that vehicle all day. We truly believed a vehicle had somehow gotten between us and the base of the mountain and we were concerned that it was some type of supporters for Mr. Weaver and that we had our rear flank was really exposed and we were afraid that these supporters in this vehicle wore going to come up behind us.
Senator FEINSTEIN. Was the vehicle ever identified?
Senator FEINSTEIN. So when you heard "They're responding," the subject of that was the automobile? They were responding to an automobile, I should say?
Mr. RODERICK. Correct, correct.
Senator FEINSTEIN. All right. Then did the dog—were you watching the cabin at that time?
Mr. RODERICK. The northern observation post team. I think they—
Mr. HUNT. If I may, Senator, I gave that response or basically gave that they were responding. This is something that I had observed in months prior of surveillance, time after time again, that when a vehicle or even perceived vehicle—myself and Art Roderick were the only two that day that had been on that mountain before, and numerous times.

Senator FEINSTEIN. Now, on prior occasions, when they left the house in these situations, when the family left the house, were they armed?
Mr. HUNT. Yes.
Senator FEINSTEIN. Every time you saw them leave the house, were they armed?
Mr. HUNT. Whenever they did this responding tactic or this maneuver, always armed. They were—
Senator FEINSTEIN. Why did you feel it was a Maneuver?
Mr. HUNT. There were times when, after hours and hours of observing this, the previous 3 months we had them under electronic surveillance. It was almost like they were test runs or test drills. There did not appear to us to be anything that would cause a response. There is no threat here. They would just run out, take up positions in the rocks at the defensive positions, so I looked at it as they were drills, basically.
Mr. RODERICK. And they always responded to the rock out-cropping that we had talked about before on the knoll and we never really ever saw them go down the driveway.
Senator FEINSTEIN. All right. Now, I would like to go back. You have retreated. You have gone down through the wooded areas and you are coming around and the shots are fired. Deputy Cooper, could Randall Weaver, from where he was, see his son?
Mr. COOPER. I do not think I can answer that, Senator. In a statement he made here the other day, he did not know his son was down there at the Y
Senator FEINSTEIN. All right. Now
Mr. COOPER. I could not tell you whether
Senator FEINSTEIN. Could you discuss the incline where you were with that second shot?
Mr. COOPER. There wad quite a bit of incline, I believe, Senator, from where I was, because I was on a slope that was probably 8 or 10 feet from my position up to the road, and then the right fork of the Y was a constant rise up as it went around.
Senator FEINSTEIN. Did you see Sammy Weaver running?
Mr. COOPER. I did, Senator. The last thing I saw after I fired my second and final three-round burst was Samuel Weaver running up the right fork of the Y where his father had preceded him.
Senator FEINSTEIN. So you saw him running after you fired?
Mr. COOPER. I did, Senator.  
Senator FEINSTEIN. And you did not fire again?
Mr. COOPER. No, I did not, Senator.
Senator FEINSTEIN. They never recovered the bullet from Sammy Weaver?
Mr. COOPER. My understanding, Senator, is that the bullet went through and they never have recovered it.
Senator FEINSTEIN. My time is up this round. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Senator SPECTER. Thank you very much, Senator Feinstein.
Senator Craig.
Senator CRAIG. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Gentlemen, thank you for being with us today and helping build what I think most members of this committee believe is a very valuable public record.
If you, Mr. Hunt and Mr. Roderick and Mr. Cooper, would assist me in a timeframe that I think is important, from the time the incident occurred at the Y and the shots were fired and there were no more shots fired, you were all in the immediate proximity for a period of about 12 hours, held down or holding down because you thought there were others there that—and I think one of you mentioned you felt you may have been cut off from the rear by the vehicle, or by a vehicle.
Mr. RODERICK. Yes, Senator.
Senator CRAIG. That, you all agree with?
Mr. COOPER. Yes, Senator.
Mr. RODERICK. Yes, Senator.
Mr. HUNT. Yes, there was concern.
Mr. COOPER. There was fire that also came in to our position when Deputy Hunt and Deputy Thomas left to get help, so we believed that someone was still up there and they would shoot in response to noise because they made noise as they went out.
Mr. HUNT. Senator, if I may, when I left—

Senator CRAIG. Mr. Hunt, add to what Mr. Cooper has just said in relation to incoming fire at the time you left. From the time all shots had been fired in relation to the Y incident, the death of the marshal, the killing of the marshal, the killing of Sammy Weaver, until there was incoming fire, again, what, timeframe was that, would you guess, as you were attempting to leave or did leave?
Mr. HUNT. We caught fire and sometimes large volleys at various times the whole time we were together there as a unit. I had discussed with Deputy Cooper about going to get help. In that discussion, or at the latter part of it, a decision was made we had to get out to get help.
Deputy Cooper advised me, you can't take the trail. The last time we saw Weaver, he was heading around the trail, the canopy trail up, which would have put him on high ground above the main trail or what we called the west trail there leading down to the bottom of the mountain. His feeling was that I would be too exposed and vulnerable to additional fire from the Weavers if I took that route.
I then decided that the only way I could go would be to take a route through actually very rugged country and canyons off to the west and try to circle back around to the south from there. I believe I asked Deputy Thomas if he was ready to go and he said, yes, and at that time, I jumped up, I leaped over a log into a dry ceiving with sounds running up them from great distances. Sometimes they sound closer and sometimes they are not, or, I mean, they are.
That morning, Deputy Thomas reported that he had heard a vehicle. Well, I was standing in close proximity with him but I did not hear the vehicle. That did not mean that there was not one. I did not just assume there is not a vehicle. So when he reported that to Artie's team, that "I hear a vehicle," the next thing that happened, well, within a matter of seconds or so, they begin to run out of the house like I had seen many times them do before to respond to a vehicle or a noise or a situation they perceived as threatening.
That is why I said, "Artie, they are responding." He would know what that meant.
Senator CRAIG. From the time of the shooting at the Y until that time, what timeframe was involved there? How many hours before you left the area?
Mr. HUNT. Oh, from the first shot, Senator? I'm not sure exactly what you are—
Senator CRAIG. From the time the bullets were fired or the shots were fired that killed Marshal Degan and Sammy Weaver and you felt you were held down, from that time until the time you actually begin to leave the area to go get help, how long a time was that?
Mr. HUNT. It was approximately 7 minutes to the time we hooked up with the surveillance team. We were probably there another 5 to 10 minutes after that, so approximately 17 to—15, 17 minutes.
Senator CRAIG. So you were out of the area yourself in that 12-hour timeframe?
Mr. HUNT. Yes, I was.
Senator CRAIG. You gentlemen were not? You were in the area, held down?
Mr. RODERICK. Myself, Deputy Cooper, and Deputy Norris stayed with Bill Degan's body.
Senator CRAIG. During that 12-hour period, were there any overflights?
Mr. RODERICK. Yes, Senator.
Senator CRAIG. Were there any shots fired at the overflights, or did you hear anything like that?
Mr. RODERICK. What we heard is an aircraft approaching, and as it got louder, it got—somewhere over the top of us, we heard gunfire. Now, I cannot say—it just seemed contemporaneous with the aircraft coming overhead and the gunfire that we assumed that they were shooting at aircraft from possibly the knoll area back on the compound. That is when I radioed Deputy Hunt, told him to get the FAA to restrict the airspace because we believed that the Weavers and Harris were firing on aircraft flying overhead.
Senator CRAIG. Were those fixed-wing or helicopter, do you recall?
Mr. RODERICK. The fixed-wing was the first one. We thought it was somebody there to help us and we radioed in to Dave and Dave said, "No, that is not any of our aircraft." And I said, "Well, they are shooting at them. We better call the FAA to restrict the airspace." And I believe this was sometime between noontime and 1 p.m. on the 21st that this occurred. That is the last fire we heard.
Senator CRAIG. And that is the last fire you heard?
Mr. RODERICK. That is the last firing we heard.
Senator CRAIG. And from that point until you left the area, how many hours?
Mr. RODERICK. Probably 11 hours.
Senator CRAIG. About 11 hours?
Mr. RODERICK. About 11 hours.
Senator CRAIG. So all of the shots took place maybe in that first hour?
Mr. RODERICK. The first couple hours.
Senator CRAIG. The first couple of hours?
Mr. RODERICK. If we include the fly-over by the aircraft.
Senator CRAIG. All right. Mr. Hunt, when you were able to get out and call 911, what do you recall you said to the dispatcher?
Mr. HUNT. I advised who I was, my location, and that I had been involved in a shooting situation and I requested assistance and support as soon as possible.
Senator CRAIG. Did you describe the shooting situation?
Mr. HUNT. I do not believe I did to the 911 dispatcher.
Senator CRAIG. I see.
Mr. HUNT. I do not think I did.
Senator CRAIG. When did you speak to Duke Smith of the Marshals Service?
Mr. HUNT. I do not recall speaking directly to Duke Smith at any time. I called—right after I called 911, I called the head­quarters——
Senator CRAIG. In Washington, DC?
Mr. HUNT. In Washington, here in Washington, to the Enforcement Operations Division, and at that time I gave a very brief to Chief Perez of the Enforcement Division who said that he was going to go to the crisis center and open a line and call me back. I gave him a phone number where he could call me back. At that time, I gave a general briefing of what had transpired that morning and the current situation.
Senator CRAIG. But you never spoke to Duke Smith?
Mr. HUNT. I believe he was there in the crisis center but I personally did not speak directly to him and I could not even swear that he was there, but I believe he probably was in the crisis center. They had me on a speakerphone.
Senator CRAIG. In the observation of the action of the Weavers at the time the vehicle caused them to react, there is obvious discrepancy between what you perceive and what has been said by the Weavers. Mr. Roderick, you mentioned that the action with Randy Weaver coming down the road and Kevin Harris and Sammy Weaver coming in from another direction appeared to you to be an intentional pincer-type movement to cut all of you off.
Mr. RODERICK. Yes, Senator.
Senator CRAIG. That was felt to be observed by the observation from above? Excuse me, Mr. Hunt?
Mr. HUNT. I could not testify to that exact statement. I can only tell you what I observed, and that was they were all running in the direction of the bottom of the road, and that was the last time we saw them. At that point, they were out of our vision and we could not see them any longer. But they were all running in that direction.
Senator CRAIG. Was there any indication prior to that that they had any idea that you were on the mountain within that time-frame?
Mr. RODERICK. I think that they believed we were always on the mountain. If you are talking about a specific incident that referenced—
Senator CRAIG. I think they have grown to know that from all apparent evidence.
Mr. RODERICK. Correct. There was no evidence that we ever found or any testimony or anything that showed that they believed we were up there that specific day at that specific time.
Senator CRAIG. The reason I ask that question, I mean, to me, that concerns me a great deal. If you watched them in certain actions, and you did over an extended period of time and the pattern of action that day seemed to be no different, then I am frustrated by the fact that if you believed they were acting in a certain way, and you did describe that, Mr. Roderick, it would appear, then, that they must know from the moment they come out of the house that you are there and they are acting accordingly that would cause you to believe and then cause the incident to occur.
Mr. RODERICK. Right. I mean, they responded in the normal-type manner with the dogs barking, people running out of the house armed with rifles. What was unique about this day is that they continued on down from the rock outcropping down into the base of the driveway and raked directly at us.
Senator CRAIG. Thank you. My time is up.
Senator SPECTER. Thank you very much, Senator Craig.
We are going to move next to U.S. Attorney Maurice Ellsworth, but first, Senator Feinstein wanted to make a comment or two.
Senator FEINSTEIN. If I might, I just wanted to say to the deputy marshals, I think your statements were very helpful. They were very thoughtful and very precise, and I, for one, am very grateful for them. I only wish all of the American people could read them, to see the 18 months, to see the effort that was put in, to see the care that was taken.
There is just one terrible irony. Randy Weaver could have followed the law and come off the mountain. Mrs. Degan would have had her husband. Her two sons would have had their father. Sammy Weaver would have been alive and Vicki Weaver would have been alive, and I think that is just one inescapable conclusion about this whole terrible thing.
I, for one, do believe you did your duty and I believe you did it just as well as you possibly could. I want to thank you for being here.
Senator SPECTER. Gentlemen, thank you very much for coming in. The marshals office has performed outstanding service in so many ways for the Federal courts and the service of process is always very, very difficult. I know that from my days as a district attorney, bench warrants, fugitives how tough it is. And you have organized a team across country and Mr. Hunt, your testimony about the extensive work you did on negotiations and your effort to let time pass and try to use a conciliatory approach is very, very commendable. This is a great tragedy beyond an question as to what has happened here, and I think it is fitting that you have the large photograph of Mr. Degan and we had Mrs. Degan's statement and we thank you.  

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