80+ died in standoff at Waco cult compound 23 years ago

KXAN News, Texas/April 19, 2016

By Claire Ricke

Waco, Texas — Tuesday marks the 23 anniversary of the 51-day siege of the Branch Davidian Compound East of Waco.

The seven-week standoff ended April 19, 1993 between followers of David Koresh and the FBI. The compound caught fire after the FBI used tanks to tear down the walls and smash their way in.

Part of the fight with FBI was over who owned the land the Davidians called home. The 77-acre property was burned to the ground during the dispute.

82 Davidians died, including two dozen children and the sect leader David. Additionally, four federal agents were killed in the fiery standoff.

A survivor of the Branch Davidian Compound fire told prosecutors in 1993 the cult members took a suicide oath. Marjorie Thomas said if their leader, David Koresh, died, they made a pact to kill themselves. This was the first time anyone from the cult confirmed the FBI’s suspicions of a suicide pact.

KXAN ‘s Robert Hadlock was there covering the compound’s battle with the FBI in 1993.

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