Nearly 80 people were killed. There the Branch Davidians lived a simple life, preparing for the imminent return of Jesus. However, in the mids the group became embroiled in a power struggle, and by the end of the decade Vernon Howell later called David Koresh had become head of the Mt. Carmel community.
Believing that the group was illegally stockpiling weapons, the U. On February 28,more than 70 ATF agents raided the complex. Gunfire erupted—though it is uncertain who fired first—and during the two-hour battle, four federal agents were killed and more than a dozen injured. In addition, six Davidians reportedly died. Nearly law-enforcement officials subsequently descended on the compound, including FBI hostage negotiators.
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Partly in exchange for various supplies—including milk that was delivered in cartons with listening devices—Koresh allowed more than 30 followers to leave. However, it was thought that some remained in the compound. At approximately am on April 19,the FBI began spraying tear gas into the complex.
Soon thereafter, the Branch Davidians began firing weapons. For more than five hours armored vehicles, some of which punched holes into walls, deposited tear-gas canisters inside the compound; at am the assault ended. Some 25 minutes later, the Branch Davidians set several fires, and at pm gunfire was heard inside the compound. Due to safety concerns, firefighters were not allowed into the area for another 15 minutes, by which time the compound was beyond saving.
While nine people managed to escape, the rest died. Investigators ultimately found 75 bodies, 25 of which belonged to children. A of the deceased had been fatally shot, including Koresh. While some of the wounds appeared to be self-inflicted, others did not.
While the government long maintained that it was not involved in starting or spreading the fire, in it was revealed that some of the tear gas used by the FBI was flammable. Later that year Reno appointed John Danfortha lawyer and former Republican senator, to investigate the raid.
His probe, which concluded infound that the U. Regardless of such findings, some people viewed the Waco siege as governmental abuse of authority, and it spurred the growth of militias. Inon the second anniversary of the raid, Timothy McVeigh carried out the Oklahoma City bombingwhich killed people.
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External Websites. Waco Siege. See all media. Date: February 28, - April 19, Show more Participants: Branch Davidian Show more Context: David Koresh Show more. Full Article. Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. Subscribe Now. Learn More in these related Britannica articles:. On April 19,after a day standoff with federal agents, nearly 80 members of the Branch Davidian religious group perished in a fire at their compound near Waco.
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Branch Davidianmember of an offshoot group of the Davidian Seventh-day Adventist Church that made headlines on February 28,when its Mount Carmel headquarters near Waco, Texas, was raided by the U. A lengthy…. History at your fingertips. up here to see what happened On This Dayevery day in your inbox!
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