Special Counsel Tours Davidian Site

The Associated Press, September 21, 1999

WACO, Texas (AP) - The special counsel investigating whether there was an official cover-up in the 1993 Branch Davidian siege has taken a personal tour of the site and met relatives of one of the victims.

John C. Danforth, former senator from Missouri, flew over the site of the sect's Mount Carmel compound, where leader David Koresh died in a fire along with about 80 followers, and walked through the ruins Monday.

He spoke with Eugene and Filomena Hipsman of Chester, N.Y., who were visiting the spot for the first time since their 27-year-old son, Peter, died in the gunfight that started the siege.

"I'm real sorry about the loss of your son," Danforth told the couple.

Attorney General Janet Reno named Danforth to head an independent inquiry into the actions of law enforcement during the deadly raid on the compound after learning the FBI used potentially incendiary tear gas grenades during the final day of the siege. The bureau had denied the use of such devices for years.

Government officials maintain that Branch Davidians, not federal agents, set the deadly fire.

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