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Raid on Branch Davidian compound - 25 years later - KRISTV.com | Continuous News Coverage | Corpus Christi

Raid on Branch Davidian compound - 25 years later

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Photo courtesy of NBC News. Photo courtesy of NBC News.

On this day in history, February 28, 1993, a gun battle erupted at the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas.

The fighting started when the FBI Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents tried to arrest cult leader -- and self proclaimed messiah -- David Koresh for illegal weapons possession.

As some 100 officers began their raid, cult members immediately opened fire killing four agents and wounding more than a dozen others.

Six cult members were killed.

For forty-five minutes the Branch Davidians kept the agents at bay and drove off assault helicopters with heavy gunfire.

Government agents eventually retreated and negotiated a ceasefire to retrieve the dead and wounded.

After a 51-day standoff following the attempted raid, federal agents began attacking the compound with armored vehicles and teargas.

82 people died including 25 children.

The compound went down in flames.

FBI officials claim that cult members deliberately set the fire rather than surrender to officials.

18 Branch Davidians were tried on murder and conspiracy charges for the February 28, 1993 shoot out.

Eleven people were acquitted and seven others were found guilty of lesser charges.

The Branch Davidians were a Christian group who had broken off from the original Davidians, who had left The Seventh Day Adventist Church.

Leader David Koresh preached that the apocalypse was coming soon.

He claimed to have more than 100 followers living in the compound, including his many wives and children.

The event is currently the subject of a Paramount Network series, "Waco."

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