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Lon Horiuchi

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Template:Infobox Person Lon Tomohisa Horiuchi (born 9 June 1954), is a 1976 West Point graduate and U.S. FBI HRT sniper who was involved in controversial deployments during the 1992 Ruby Ridge standoff and 1993 Waco Siege. In 1997 Horiuchi was charged with manslaughter for the death of Vicki Weaver at Ruby Ridge; the case was dismissed.

Ruby RidgeEdit

Main article: Ruby Ridge

In 1992, while working at sniper position Sierra 4 for the FBI Hostage Rescue Team at Ruby Ridge, Horiuchi shot and killed Vicki Weaver, while also wounding her husband Randy Weaver and Kevin Harris.[1]

After his first shot hit and wounded Randy Weaver, Horiuchi fired a second shot at Kevin Harris, who was armed, some 20 seconds later as Harris was running into the Weaver home. The bullet struck and killed Vicki Weaver, who was standing behind the door through which Harris was entering the home;[1][2] the round also struck and wounded Harris.[3]

Following the conclusion of the trial of Randy Weaver and Kevin Harris in 1993, the Department of Justice (DOJ) created a "Ruby Ridge Task Force" to investigate allegations made by Weaver's defense attorney Gerry Spence. On June 10, 1994, the Task Force delivered its 542-page report to the DOJ Office of Professional Responsibility. The Report stated: "With regard to the two shots fired on August 22, we concluded that the first shot met the standard of "objective reasonableness" the Constitution requires for the legal use of deadly force but that the second shot did not satisfy that standard."[4]

The surviving members of the Weaver family received $3.1M in 1995 to settle their civil suit brought against the U.S. government for wrongful deaths of Sammy and Vicki Weaver. In the out-of-court settlement, the government did not admit any wrong-doing. Harris received $380,000 in 2000.[5]

WacoEdit

Main article: Waco Siege

On September 13, 1993, Charles Riley, a fellow F.B.I. sniper deployed during the Waco Siege claimed that he had heard Horiuchi shooting from Sierra 1, an F.B.I.-held house in front of the compound holding eight snipers, including Horiuchi and Christopher Curran on April 19, 1993. Riley later retracted his statement, saying that he had been misquoted, and that he had only heard snipers at Sierra 1 announce that shots had been fired upon by Branch Davidians.[1]

Three of the twelve expended .308 Winchester shell casings that the Texas Rangers reported finding in the house were at Horiuchi's position. However, officials maintain that they could have been left behind from the earlier use of the house by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives snipers on February 28, 1993, and that it would be "nearly impossible" to match them to Horiuchi's rifle, as it had probably been rebarreled since that time.[2]

For the five months following the Waco inferno, Timothy McVeigh worked at gun shows and handed out free cards printed up with Horiuchi's name and address, "in the hope that somebody in the Patriot movement would assassinate the sharpshooter". He wrote hate mail to the sniper, suggesting that "what goes around, comes around", and debated putting aside his plan to target the Murrah Building to instead simply target Horiuchi, or a member of his family.[6]

Manslaughter ChargeEdit

Template:Wikisource In 1997, Boundary County, Idaho Prosecutor Denise Woodbury, with the help of special prosecutor Stephen Yagman, charged Horiuchi in state court with involuntary manslaughter. Horiuchi successfully petitioned to remove the case to federal court,[7] where the case was dismissed by U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge on May 14, 1998, who cited the supremacy clause of the Constitution which grants immunity to federal officers acting in the scope of their employment.[1]

The decision to dismiss the charges was reversed by an en banc panel of the Ninth Circuit, which held that enough uncertainty about the facts of the case existed for Horiuchi to stand trial on state manslaughter charges.[1] Ultimately, the then-sitting Boundary County Prosecutor, Brett Benson, who had defeated Woodbury in the 2000 election, decided to drop the charges because he felt it was unlikely the state could prove the case and too much time had passed. Yagman, the special prosecutor, responded that he "could not disagree more with this decision than I do."[8]

The ninth Circuit granted Boundary County's motion to dismiss the case against Horiuchi on September 14, 2001.[9]

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Idaho v. Horiuchi, 253 F.3d 359 (9th Cir. 2001) (Kozinski, J.).
  2. Template:Cite news
  3. Template:Cite news
  4. Department of Justice, Office of Professional Responsibity, Ruby Ridge Task Force Report, 10 June 1994, under I. Executive Summary, B. Significant findings.
  5. Jess Walter, Ruby Ridge, ReganBooks, 2000.
  6. Michel, Lou. "American Terrorist", 2001.
  7. Template:Cite news
  8. F.B.I. Agent To Be Spared Prosecution In Shooting, Sam Howe Verhovek, New York Times, 15 June 2001, accessed 23 December 2007
  9. Template:Cite court
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