Branch Davidians

One of the most tragic and controversial incidents in Texas history occurred in 1993 at a compound known as Mt. Carmel on a ranch near Waco. The compound was occupied by the Branch Davidians, a heavily armed religious cult led by a charismatic guru named David Koresh. Spurred by allegations of child abuse inside the compound, federal agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms attempted to serve a warrant on February 28, 1993, only to find themselves in a massive firefight, during which several agents and Davidians were killed. A fifty-day siege ensued, culminating on April 19 with a nationally televised assault on the compound with armored vehicles and tear gas. During the assault, a fire consumed the entire compound, killing 74 people, 23 of whom were children.

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Texas History |
March 31, 2008

The Fire That Time

On April 19, 1993, the world watched as the Branch Davidian compound, outside Waco, burned to the ground after a 51-day standoff. Fifteen years later, witnesses and participants—from federal agents to loyal followers of David Koresh—remember what they saw during the deadliest law enforcement operation in U.S. history.

Texas History |
April 1, 2003

Walking Among Ghosts

Senior editor Michael Hall revisits Waco's Branch Davidians and describes the challenges and nuances of writing about the remaining followers and the controversies of their tragic history.

Cities |
April 1, 1998

Is Waco Wacko?

After the latest standoff there�by an armed UFO cultist�you might think so. But on the fifth anniversary of the Branch Davidian siege, the Central Texas community is doing just fine, thank you.

Travel & Outdoors |
January 1, 1996

For Posterity’s Sake

Coming Soon: Groacho MarxThe Cockroach Hall of Fame Museum, Plano. Michael Bohdan, who calls himself Cockroach Dundee, runs the museum at his pest-control business, featuring such exhibits as H. Ross Peroach and Liberoche, a dead roach covered with sequins sitting at a miniature piano topped by a candelabra.If It’s Closed,

Books |
July 1, 1995

What Really Happened at Waco

Just as congressional hearings are set to begin, an exclusive excerpt from a new book casts a different light on the government’s role in the fiery end to the siege at Mount Carmel.

Books |
February 1, 1994

Waco Untold

Four quickie Branch Davidian books reveal that the full story has yet to come out.