WASHINGTON, Sept. 20 -- A controversial ex-Green Beret who helped negotiate the end of the 1992 siege in Ruby Ridge, Idaho, told a Senate panel Wednesday he believes Randy Weaver was wounded and his wife Vicki deliberately killed with different caliber weapons. Retired Army Col. James 'Bo' Gritz said he believes one FBI sniper wounded Randy Weaver in an attempt to draw out Vicki Weaver from her cabin at Ruby Ridge so she could be shot by another sniper. 'They were hoping that Randall would go down, and Vicki would come out and give (FBI sniper) Lon Horiuchi a better shot,' Gritz testified. Gritz said he examined Weaver's wound and Vicki's body in the Weaver cabin during the course of the negotiations. He claimed he determined that Randy had been shot with a .223 caliber round, fired from an M-16, and his wife had been killed with a .308 caliber round fired from a scoped Remington 700 long rifle. 'The signatures of those bullets are considerably different,' Gritz said. He told the committee he was able to tell the difference because of his 20 years in the Army, many of them serving as a special operations instructor. Gritz said it was common knowledge that the FBI Hostage Rescue Team surrounding the Weaver homestead did not expect anyone to come off Ruby Ridge alive. 'To me, (HRT commander) Dick Rogers did not want to be denied his kills,' Gritz said. Rogers, Horiuchi and three other FBI officials have invoked the Fifth Amendment rather than testify before the Senate panel, citing the criminal investigation of the Ruby Ridge siege being carried out by Boundary County, Idaho, prosecutor Randall Day.
Gritz's allegations differ considerably from FBI accounts of the shootings on the second day of the Ruby Ridge siege, and met with considerable skepticism from the Senate panel. Official autopsy reports back up the FBI. The FBI began the siege the day after a deputy U.S. marshal and Weaver's son Samuel, 14, were killed in a firefight with the boy and family friend Kevin Harris. U.S. marshals were on the remote Idaho mountain trying to figure out a way to arrest Weaver, who had failed to show up at an illegal firearms trial and had sworn to shoot anyone who came to get him. According to the bureau, Horiuchi fired his Remington 700 on Weaver from 646 feet away as the white separatist was preparing to shoot at an FBI helicopter. When the wounded Weaver, his daughter Sara and family friend Kevin Harris, all armed, ran back to the cabin, Horiuchi fired off another shot at what he thought was Randy Weaver. Instead, the sniper was tracking Harris through his scope, and fired just as he leapt through the cabin door being held open by Vicki Weaver. Horiuchi's round passed through the door's window and curtain before passing through Vicki Weaver's head and seriously wounding Harris. FBI officials have said Horiuchi could not see the woman, who was holding her baby, because of the curtains and the overcast sky, and because the door was under a porch roof. Also in his testimony, Gritz told the panel that the FBI did not want him to act as a negotiator -- he had flown into northern Idaho from Arizona where he was campaigning for president on the Populist ticket -- but gave in once he wrote up a 'citizen's arrest warrant' on the law enforcement perimeter at Ruby Ridge. 'I made a citizen's arrest warrant arresting' then-FBI Director William Sessions, the chief U.S. marshal, Idaho Gov. Cecil Andrus, and the FBI on-site commander, Special Agent in Charge Eugene Glenn, Gritz said. Under questioning from panel Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., Gritz, who is active in the right-wing militia movement, conceded he never got to arrest anyone. However, he was able to talk Weaver, Harris and Weaver's children into surrendering 11 days into the siege. Weaver also is an ex-Green Beret. Weaver and Harris were eventually acquitted of murder and firearms charges by an Idaho jury, though Weaver served five months after being convicted of failing to show up for trial. Also Wednesday, retired FBI negotiator Frederick Lanceley told the panel that the bureau erred in failing to come up with an immediate negotiating plan at Ruby Ridge, instead formulating an assault plan that was never put into operation. Lanceley was at Ruby Ridge, but gave up negotiations before Gritz succeeded. The panel also heard from FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Charles Mathews III Wednesday. Mathews, who prepared the FBI's administrative report on the siege, told the panel that then-Assistant Director Larry Potts and his deputy, Daniel Coulson, did not approve the final expanded rules for engagement for the use of deadly force at Ruby Ridge. Potts talked by telephone with FBI Hostage Rescue Team commander Dick Rogers as Rogers flew from Washington to Northern Idaho at the beginning of the siege, and worked out rules that FBI agents 'could' fire on any armed male adult, Mathews said. Rogers changed the 'could' to 'could and should' after he landed, Mathews said. Glenn sent the HRT's operations plan and the 'could and should' rules of engagement by fax back to Washington, where Coulson reviewed them. But Coulson maintains that he never read beyond the operations report, which did not include a negotiations strategy. Coulson ordered the on-site FBI team include a negotiation strategy, but did not realize the rules of engagement had been expanded, Mathews said. 'That rule (worked out by Potts and Rogers on the plane) was not the same rule that was issued at the crisis site,' Mathews told the senators. The senate panel is scheduled to hear testimony from Potts on Thursday. Potts, who earlier this year was the bureau's No. 2 official before being demoted, and four other officials have been suspended after allegations they may have hindered an FBI review of the siege.