David Koresh taught women how to fire weapons, former sect member says

Associated Press, July 7, 2000
By Lee Hancock

WACO, Texas (AP) _ Females who lived at the Branch Davidian compound were taught by leader David Koresh how to fire a shotgun before federal agents tried to raid the complex in 1993, according to a former sect member.

Dana Okimoto, who has two children fathered by Koresh, said the sect leader also showed several women he considered his wives how to kill themselves if they were ever captured by the enemy.

``It was in the context of a study ... if as one of his wives, we got caught, rather than allow ourselves to be raped it would be better for us to kill ourselves,'' Okimoto said in a deposition taken in March. ``And he talked about pointing a gun in your mouth. I remember that.''

Portions of Okimoto's deposition were read to jurors Thursday as part of the government's defense in a $675 million wrongful death trial.

Government attorneys say Koresh exercised complete control over sect members and taught them how to use weapons in preparation for a confrontation with the government.

On Feb. 28, 1993, agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms tried to raid the complex to search for illegal weapons and arrest Koresh. The raid led to a gun battle in which four agents and six Branch Davidians died. It started a 51-day standoff that ended April 19, 1993, when the sect's compound burned down, killing Koresh and about 80 of his followers. Some died from fire, other from gunshot wounds.

Sect survivors and family members are suing the government for $675 million in damages, claiming it shares responsibility for the sect members' deaths.

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