Weaver: Memories of Idaho Shootout Painful
Aug. 21, 1995
GRAND JUNCTION, Iowa (AP) _ Saying the memories are still painful, Randy Weaver plans to testify before a Senate committee next month about the Idaho standoff with federal agents that left his wife and son dead.
``When you talk about it, you start to visualize it. And it brings back terrible memories,'' he told The Des Moines Sunday Register.
``I want to talk about it, but when I do, it takes me two or three days to recoup emotionally.''
Shooting broke out near Weaver's remote cabin in northern Idaho on Aug. 21, 1992, as U.S. marshals prepared to arrest him for failing to appear in court on a weapons charge. Weaver's 14-year-old Samuel and a marshal were killed.
A day later, an FBI sniper fired a shot at Weaver's cabin and killed his wife, Vicki, 43. The standoff lasted 11 days.
``I'm doing it for Sam and Vicki,'' Weaver said of his decision to testify. ``That's the only reason. And for everybody, really. We're losing our freedoms. Somebody has to be held accountable. It's scary.''
Weaver and a friend were acquitted in the shooting of the marshal. And last week, the Justice Department announced it would pay Weaver and his three surviving children $3.1 million. They had sued for $200 million.
Sen. Arlen Specter, a Pennsylvania Republican and chairman of the Senate Judiciary terrorism subcommittee, said last week that he's still planning to start the hearings Sept. 6, despite Justice Department concern that the session might impede criminal investigations.
Five top FBI officials have been suspended pending the outcomes of the investigations of an alleged cover-up involving controversial ``shoot-on-sight'' orders given to FBI snipers.
Weaver had moved to the isolated section of Idaho as he grew more distrustful of the government and sought to follow his white separatist views. Since the standoff, he has become a symbol for those who feel the government is usurping individual freedoms.
One of those reportedly outraged by the government's actions was Timothy McVeigh, a suspect in the Oklahoma City bombing. Weaver said he was saddened that his name was raised in connection with the bombing.
``It bugged me,'' he said. ``I know how the parents of those kids feel. And the spouses.''
Weaver, who has rejected previous interview requests, is now living in Grand Junction, about 40 miles northwest of Des Moines. He must remain in Iowa until December under terms of his probation for failure to appear in court on the weapons charge.