Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Trojan Horse: Inside the ATF Raid at Waco, Texas


Two Houston agents, David DiBetta and Wade Brown, had gone into the hole trying to make entry into the compound, but instead of finding the door they'd been told was there during the briefings, they'd found an opening the size of a small window. From inside the pitch-dark bunker, the agents heard the sounds of people scurrying around. Neither agent was suicidal enough to squeeze through the opening and penetrate the dark, cave-like bunker. But once they decided they weren't going into the bunker, they had to find a way to get out of the hole without getting shot. Above them came the sounds of gunfire and voices, and it took a while for them to figure out that those voices belonged to other ATF agents. That's when they popped out of the hole and found themselves facing more than a half-dozen ATF guns.

About 45 minutes into the shootout, the volume of gunfire finally started to slacken. We were running out of ammunition. The Davidians, however, had plenty. Later, the number of rounds stored inside the compound was estimated in the hundreds of thousands.

But slacken didn't mean stop. The shooting continued for nearly two hours, punctuated by an occasional explosion from the cult's collection of homemade hand-grenades.

Finally, ATF supervisors passed the word that they were on the telephone with someone inside the compound and had managed to arrange a ceasefire. Our orders were don't fire unless fired upon.

We held our fire and conserved our ammo. I was convinced that to get away from the compound, we were going to have to wait until dark and then shoot our way out.

©2003 Chuck Hustmyre. All Rights Reserved.


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