Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Trojan Horse: Inside the ATF Raid at Waco, Texas

The Wounded Wait

Also over the radio came the voice of Ken King, the supervisor who had fallen from the roof after being shot six times. He was trapped in an interior courtyard of the compound, he said, bleeding badly and needing help. But it would be two more hours before we could get help to him.

Steven Willis, agent
Steven Willis, agent

In front of the compound, Special Agents Lowell Sprague and Steve Willis took up a covered position behind a Davidian vehicle parked along the driveway. Sprague's MP-5, 9mm carbine jammed a couple of times, but he managed to clear it. When Willis spotted the cult gunman shooting from the top of the water tower, he pointed him out to Sprague. The two agents fired a volley of shots at the water tower. As their bullets knocked the Davidian sniper from his nest, a hail of gunfire came at them from the main building. One of the bullets stuck Willis in the left temple, killing him instantly.

Bill Buford in uniform
Bill Buford in uniform

The inside of the arms room was like a carnival shooting gallery. Buford, Jordan, and Constantino kept ducking as a crosshatch of gunfire shredded the flimsy walls and blasted up through the floor. There was no cover from the bullets, and some quickly found their mark. Jordan was hit in the arm and Buford took three bullets in his thigh and butt. They had to get out, but not all three could go at once. Constantino stayed behind and laid down cover fire while the two wounded agents escaped through the window.

For a moment, Constantino was alone. As the gunfire in the room stopped, he shrank into the darkness, waiting. The seconds dragged by. Then, through the open door, a cult member slunk into the room, hands clutching an assault rifle. Constantino locked eyes with him. It was a frozen slice of time, no thicker than a second, but one that seemed to last forever.

©2003 Chuck Hustmyre. All Rights Reserved.


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