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25 Years Later: A Timeline of the Waco Branch Davidian Raid

On Feb. 28, 1993, agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms raided the Branch Davidian’s Mt. Carmel compound east of Waco looking for David Koresh — the leader of the sect officials believed was stockpiling weapons and ammunition.After a TV cameraman inadvertently tipped off a Davidian to the impending raid earlier in the morning, the ATF had lost the element of surprise. Ex-Navy Serviceman Arrested in Hit-and-Run of UCSD Student As federal agents arrived at the compound on Double EE Ranch Road, they were met with gunfire.In the exchange, four federal agents and six Davidians were killed and more than a dozen others, including Koresh, were wounded. West Hills High School Student Arrested Over Social Media Post: District The federal agents retreated, beginning a 51-day standoff that would end with nearly 80 dead, including 17 children, after the Mt. Carmel compound burned to the ground on April 19.Sunday, Feb. 28 Wintry Weather Marks Last Day of February A TV cameraman who knew of the upcoming raid was trying to find the location of Mt. Carmel and asked a postal employee to confirm the location. The postal employee was a Davidian, who was able to return to Mt. Carmel and warn Koresh and his followers of the federal agents who were on their way.Federal agents, having lost the element of surprise, were under fire soon after arrival.The exchange of gunfire kicked off the 51-day standoff that soon garnered attention from around the world.Included in the timeline below are news clips pulled from the archives of KXAS-TV/NBC 5, hosted on The Portal to Texas History.Monday, March 1Negotiations continue and 10 children are released from the compound. FBI agitates Koresh by moving armored vehicles closer to the compound.Tuesday, March 2Koresh says he’ll surrender if a recording of his message is broadcast nationally. The message is broadcast over the Christian Broadcasting Network that afternoon but Koresh declines to surrender saying God spoke to him and told him to wait.Friday, March 5ATF Special Agent Steven Willis, one of the four ATF agents killed in the raid, is laid to rest.Friday, March 5Mechanic Mike Barnard, who worked with Koresh on auto repairs at a Waco shop, talks about the leader with KXAS-TV/NBC 5.Friday, March 5KXAS-TV/NBC 5 reports the possibility of known dangers before agents entered the compound, and the impact of allowing David Koresh to be broadcast on local radio station KRLD. This footage includes ATF agent Dan Conroy and FBI agent Bob Ricks.Friday, March 5A former University of Texas Arlington student discusses how his 1985 student film, a satire named Armagosa Fabulosa, mirrors events occurring at that time with David Koresh and the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas.Saturday, March 6Sightseers flock to Waco to watch the standoff while others capitalize on the moment by selling memorabilia.Sunday, March 7Koresh said the only children that remained in the compound were his biological children and that they would not be leaving.Monday, March 8ATF agents investigate Mag Bag, a business they say was operated by and for Koresh. The owner of the property said he knew nothing about it and that it was Paul Fatta who rented the property.Tuesday, March 9Electricity cut to the compound but later restored after Koresh vowed to end negotiations. In the following days, the power is temporarily cut and restored before being ordered cut off for good on March 12.Thursday, March 11Reports estimate the ATF was spending $500,000 per week on “Operation Koresh”; state and local agencies felt the overtime pinch too as State Troopers, deputies and police secured the area.Thursday March 11Koresh’s mother, Bonnie Haldeman, and her attorney attempt to contact her son.Friday, March 12FBI uses spotlights on the compound at night to disrupt sleep and begins broadcasting music and sounds from loudspeakers. In the coming days negotiations would sporadically continue.Sunday, March 14A Presbyterian bible study group discusses the Davidians’ views about the afterlife and the end of the world; a teenage bible study group discussing young Branch Davidian members.Between Friday, March 19-21, 10 Davidians leave the compound, two men and eight women.Tuesday, March 23A representative of British Branch Davidian Livingstone Fagan, who left Mt. Carmel, speaks in front of the Correctional Facility.Friday, March 26The Branch Davidians unfurl a banner reading “Rodney King We Understand.”Monday, March 29Koresh meets at the compound with lawyer Dick DeGuerin who later tells officials the Davidians will surrender after observing Passover.Monday, April 5Davidians begin observing Passover; observances can take eight days.Friday, April 9Letter sent to the FBI signed “Yahweh Koresh” warns FBI of being called to judgment.Saturday, April 10FBI rings compound with concertina wire, a type of barbed wire with razors attached.Monday, April 12U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno asks, “Why now, why not wait?” when asked to approve the FBI’s plan to use gas on the compound.Monday, April 19Fifty-one days after the siege began, the Davidians were told via loudspeaker they were under arrest and to exit the compound and that gas was going to be used. Minutes later, tanks are used to breach the walls and inject the gas. Six hours after the first breach, at about noon, the compound begins burning. Nine Davidians flee the compound and are arrested. More than 70 Davidians die in the fire, including 17 children. Koresh and others close to him died of gun shots fired at close range.Monday, April 19David Koresh’s attorney Dick DeGuerin speaks to the media about the escalation by federal agents that led to the fire at the Davidian compound.1993 Tom Brokaw Report on Waco SiegeSaturday, April 24The Tarrant County Medical Examiner identifies the causes of death of some of the Branch Davidians while other officials talk about identifying victims who died in the fire.Waco Raid Evokes Painful Memories for Davidian Survivors 24 Years LaterATF Agent Recalls Raid: The Dallas Morning NewsMegyn Kelly – The Waco Raid 25 Years LaterMore Online: Branch Davidian Survivors to Mark 20th AnniversaryPainful Memories Remain 24 Years After Branch Davidian Standoff Ends Outside WacoMore from The Portal to Texas HistoryPhoto Credit: NBC 5 News This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.
Source: NBC San Diego

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