April 19, 1993 – Odyssey Of Waco
April 19, 1993 was a day that ending considerably different than it started. It all had to do with the standoff between State and Federal Agents and a group calling themselves the Branch Davidians led by David Koresh, who managed to hold off the agents from February 28th until the morning of April 19th.
The group, a breakaway sect from the Seventh Day Adventist Church was suspected of numerous weapons violations. The compound, located at Mt. Carmel near Waco was initially raided by ATF agents and met with heavy resistance by the sect members; killing four government agents, but also killing six Branch Davidians. The ensuing siege lasted some 51 days before the final confrontation came down on the morning of the 19th. State and Federal Agents, armed with tanks, proceeded to assault the compound and attempt to fire teargas grenades into the buildings to force a mass surrender.
What happened was unexpected – the compound caught fire – and in the intense blaze that ensued, some 76 Branch Davidians died, including David Koresh. Conflicting reports and conspiracy theories immediately raced into high gear, with some charging the fire was deliberately set by the agents, while others saying the fire was deliberately set by the Branch Davidians, who wanted to become martyrs for a cause – the cause being loosely connected with another confrontation some 12 months earlier at Ruby Ridge in Idaho where a similar confrontation between agents and members of a self-styled White-Supremacist militia.
Both of those incidents were considered to be catalysts in the Oklahoma City Bombing, which took place exactly two years later, on April 19, 1995.
So as a reminder of incidents which took place before other incidents – here are the initial news reports and the disastrous outcome from that April 19, 1993 as reported by CBS Radio News.