Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Trojan Horse: Inside the ATF Raid at Waco, Texas

The Plan

The operational plan ATF leaders came up with was based on two crucial pieces of intelligence obtained from former cult members.

The first was that each morning most of the men in the compound went to work outside in an area called "the pit," the underground bunker they were constructing on the west side of the main building.

David Koresh
David Koresh

The second was that cult leader David Koresh kept the Branch Davidians' weapons locked up in a second-story room on the east side of the building, next door to his private bedroom.

At the time of the raid, the men were supposed to be on the opposite side of the compound from their weapons, and wouldn't be able to resist. By the time we rolled up in front of the compound and heard the gunshots, we knew there was a problem with the intel.

Of the 76 agents on the ground, only a handful of us had anything more powerful than a 9mm handgun. My job was to slip around the west side of the compound and cover the back with an AR-15 rifle. All I had to do was get past a couple of fences, a section of excavated earth, a buried school bus, and a chicken coop.

I stepped off the trailer into the gunfire and followed the agent in front of me.

Bullets kicked up clods of mud at our feet.

©2003 Chuck Hustmyre. All Rights Reserved.


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