Davidian arrested for having handgun at Dallas airport

Waco Tribune-Herald, August 29, 2000
By Tommy Witherspoon

A Branch Davidian who left Mount Carmel during the 1993 government siege has been arrested for having a handgun at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

Rita Faye Riddle, 43, now of Candler, N.C., was released from the Dallas County Jail on Sunday after posting $5,000 bond on charges of carrying a weapon in a prohibited location.

Airport spokesman Emilio Howell said Riddle was arrested after airport security officers spotted a pistol in her bag as it went through a scanning machine about 8:45 a.m. Saturday. Riddle consented to a search of the bag and officers found the handgun, Howell said.

"She stated to the officers that she had no knowledge of the handgun," Howell said. "She said it may have belonged to her traveling companion." The offense could be handled either in state or federal court. Howell said he was unsure how officials would proceed with the charges.

Riddle left Mount Carmel during the 51-day siege that ended on April 19, 1993, in a fire in which Branch Davidian leader David Koresh and 75 followers died.

She attended part of the recent wrongful-death civil trial in Waco's federal court that concluded July 14. Branch Davidian survivors alleged in the suit that the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents were responsible for the deaths of cult members.

Jurors concluded that the government was not at fault. Riddle was sentenced to 90 days in jail, which was probated for one year. She was also ordered to pay $150 of a $1,500 fine in September 1993 after she was convicted of shoplifting four pairs of jeans from Richland Mall.

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