The Raid on the Branch Davidian Compound

The Dallas Morning News/February 27, 2003
By Dave Hiott

On Feb. 28, 1993, ATF agents raided the Branch Davidian compound near Waco seeking to search it for illegal weapons and arrest David Koresh, the religious sect's leader. Nine people died during the flawed raid, and one sect member was killed later that day, leading to a standoff that ended 51 days later when FBI agents used tanks to launch tear gas into the compound. That day, April 19, the wooden building was engulfed in flames, killing 74 Branch Davidians.

Changes at the ATF since the raid:

"For all agents, there is more training and more communication, not only up and down organizational charts but across the lines as well.

"For commanders, there are more command scenario drills, better "stop and go" control systems to go ahead with or call off a raid, and rules to keep those in charge behind the lines where they can oversee the situation. Agency commanders study alternatives to attacks and fallback plans.

"The agency has expanded intelligence-gathering and negotiation methods.

"The agency teaches the ethics of critical incident responses, when agents ask themselves: "Is this the right thing to be doing? Have I exhausted ... every other alternative?"

Killed Feb. 28, 1993:

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents:
Conway LeBleu, 30; Todd McKeehan, 26; Robert Williams, 26; Steve Willis, 32

Branch Davidians:
Winston Blake, 28; Peter Gent, 24; Peter Hipsman, 28; Perry Jones, 64; Michael Schroeder, 29; Jaydean Wendell, 34

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