The Waco Siege: 20th Anniversary

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A ball of fire erupts from the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, April 19, 1993. Eighty-one Davidians, including leader David Koresh, perished as federal agents tried to drive them out of the compound. A few weeks earlier four agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms were slain in a shootout at the site. Jerry W. Hoefer/MCT/Newscom. License this image from Newscom.com: krtphotoslive612714

Beginning on February 28, 1993, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), attempted to raid the Mount Carmel Center ranch near Waco, Texas where a compound of more than 80 Branch Davidians, a Protestant Christian sect led by a man named David Koresh.

Accused of stockpiling illegal weapons–among other accusations of child abuse and polygamy–Koresh led his followers under the idea that he was the chosen messiah of God, and that they must start preparing an “Army for God”.

After obtaining search and arrest warrants for Koresh, the ATF attempted to execute the raid, only to find out the Davidians had been tipped off. It is not known who fired the first round of shots, but after an intense gun battle, four agents and six Davidians were killed.

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Bureau of Alcohol ,Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) agents treat a wounded colleague after a massive shootout between police and members of the Branch Davidian cult near Waco, Texas in this file photo taken February 28, 1993. The fighting erupted when ATF agents attempted to execute a search warrant on the Branch Davidian compound and its leader David Koresh. Four ATF agents were killed and 16 were wounded, and five Davidians died. STRINGER/Reuters/Newscom. License this image from Newscom.com: rtrlfive726615

The FBI then launched a long-term siege, attempting to negotiate with Koresh and force him to surrender his property. Being worried about the continued child abuse, newly appointed U.S. Attorney General, Janet Reno, finally got approval after the 51-day standoff, to carryout a gas attack on the ranch.

On April 19, 1993 (20 years ago today), after launching tear gas into the compound and asking Branch Davidians to exit, three fires broke out leading to the death of nearly 80 people, including David Koresh.

The events at Mt. Carmel spurred major controversy between government and the Branch Davidians, stating that religious and personal freedoms were not upheld. Nothing remains of the buildings today, other than cement foundation components. Only a small chapel remains on the site, built years after the siege.

See the following pictures below, then follow us back to Newscom for more.

branch-davidian-compound-smoke

The Branch Davidian compound in Waco Texas is shown in this April 19, 1999 file photo engulfed by flames which ended the 51 day Waco stand off and killed 80 people, including religious sect leader David Koresh. U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno said on August 26 she was angry at not being told until recently that six years ago the FBI used tear gas canisters capable of sparking a fire at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco. Eventhough the Federal Bureau of Investigation admitted using the tear gas devices after denying it for six years, Reno said the government did not cause the fire that destroyed the compound. REED SCHUMANN/REUTERS/Newscom. License this image from Newscom.com: rtrphotos152384

branch-davidian-waco-explosion

The Davidians’ Mount Carmel compound near Waco, Texas, is shown engulfed in flames in this April 19, 1993 file photo. An advisory jury in a $675 million wrongful death lawsuit by Branch Davidians against the U.S. government found on July 14 that federal agents were not to blame for the deaths of about 80 sect members in a 1993 siege and fire. GERALD SCHUMANN/REUTERS/Newscom. License this image from Newscom.com: rtrphotos232426

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Stone sign at the entrance to the Branch Davidian Compound where there was a 51-day standoff between the FBI, ATF and a group of Branch Davidians led by David Koresh in 1993. The property is now used by the latest followers of the Branch Davidian faith, an off-shoot of the Seventh Day Adventists, who now call themselves The Branch, The Lord our Righteousness. There are an estimated 12 members of the congregation led by Charles Pace. Pace and his followers are planning to turn the property into a tourist attraction with a tabernacle, an amphitheater, a spiritual healing center and a museum. The standoff ended on 19 April 1993 when David Koresh and 75 of his followers died during a raid by the authorities. ABUELO DOUGLAS/SIPA/Newscom. License this image from Newscom.com: sipaphotos684009

branch-davidian-compound-fire

The Branch Davidian compound in Waco Texas is shown in this 19April93 file photo engulfed by flames which ended the 51 day Waco stand off and killed 80 people, including religious sect leader David Koresh. U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno said on August 26 she was angry at not being told until recently that six years ago the FBI used tear gas canisters capable of sparking a fire at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco. Even though the Federal Bureau of Investigation admitted using the tear gas devices after denying it for six years, Reno said the government did not cause the fire that destroyed the compound. REED SCHUMANN/REUTERS/Newscom. License this image from Newscom.com: rtrphotos152352

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Branch Davidian Clive Doyle, who survived the 1993 shootout and fire at the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas, walks in front of a church which is on the site of the former compound. DUANE A. LAVERTY/KRT/Newscom. License this image from Newscom.com: krtphotoslive134144

kathryn-schroeder-waco-seige

Kathryn Schroeder (cq), 37, and her son Bryan Schroeder (cq), 9, in their home in the New Tampa area Thursday evening (2/24/00). Kathryn Schroeder is the widow of Michael Schroeder, one of the men killed seven years ago by ATF agents at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco. Bryan Schroeder is Michael’s son. Kathy and then-2-year-old Bryan were inside the Davidian complex when Michael was shot trying to make it back across the fields from his job. He was one of six Davidians who died that day. Four ATF agents were killed. The children and Kathy left a few days later, and after a 51-day standoff with the FBI, more than 70 died when fire swept through the buildings. St Petersburg Times/ZUMAPRESS/Newscom. License this image from Newscom.com: zumaamericasseven857090

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A tree and granite marker commemorates each of the 82 Branch Davidians and David Koresh who died in the April 19, 1993 fiery end of a 51-day standoff with federal agents at Mount Carmel, the Branch Davidian compound, February 27, 2003. Rodger Mallison/MCT/Newscom. License this image from Newscom.com: krtphotoslive612726

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Dramatic Pictures of the West Texas Explosion

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Hot Topics: Texas, Boston, and the US Senate

3 thoughts on “The Waco Siege: 20th Anniversary

  1. Pingback: The Waco Siege: 20th Anniversary | shootplex

  2. C. Phillips

    This tragedy occurred under the Clinton administration in 1993 with Janet Reno as Attorney General. Now we are getting Hillary Clinton for the 2016 presidential race. The event at Waco was a disgrace to our nation and a total disregard to our freedoms. Total over kill by the ATF, FBI and DPS In Waco. Twenty years later and this is still smoldering with the citizens of the US.

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