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Watching William Gazecki's remarkable documentary "Waco: The Rules of Engagement,'' I am more inclined to use the words "religion'' than "cult,'' and "church center'' than "compound. And it is pretty clear, on the basis of this film, that the original raid was staged as a publicity stunt, and the final raid was a government riot--a tragedy caused by uniformed boys with toys.

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There the Branch Davidians lived a simple life, preparing for the imminent return of Jesus. While some of the wounds appeared to be self-inflicted, others did not. Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. Nearly 80 people were killed.

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While every effort has been made to follow citation style rules, there may be some discrepancies. Gunfire erupted—though it is uncertain who fired first—and during the two-hour battle, four federal agents were killed and more than a dozen injured.

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Print Cite verified Cite. On April 19,after a day standoff with federal agents, nearly 80 members of the Branch Davidian religious group perished in a fire at their compound near Waco.

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Nearly law-enforcement officials subsequently descended on the compound, including FBI hostage negotiators. Date: February 28, - April 19, Show more Participants: Branch Davidian Show more Context: David Koresh Show more. At approximately am on April 19,the FBI began spraying tear gas into the complex.

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Some 25 minutes later, the Branch Davidians set several fires, and at pm gunfire was heard inside the compound. While nine people managed to escape, the rest died. Inon the second anniversary of the raid, Timothy McVeigh carried out the Oklahoma City bombingwhich killed people. Soon thereafter, the Branch Davidians began firing weapons. His probe, which concluded infound that the U. Regardless of such findings, some people viewed the Waco siege as governmental abuse of authority, and it spurred the growth of militias.

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Partly in exchange for various supplies—including milk that was delivered in cartons with listening devices—Koresh allowed more than 30 followers to leave. up here to see what happened On This Dayevery day in your inbox! Waco siege. In addition, six Davidians reportedly died.

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Subscribe Now. Learn More in these related Britannica articles:. However, in the mids the group became embroiled in a power struggle, and by the end of the decade Vernon Howell later called David Koresh had become head of the Mt. Carmel community. See all media. Waco Siege. Believing that the group was illegally stockpiling weapons, the U. On February 28,more than 70 ATF agents raided the complex.

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Additional Info. Due to safety concerns, firefighters were not allowed into the area for another 15 minutes, by which time the compound was beyond saving. History at your fingertips.

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Waco siege

A of the deceased had been fatally shot, including Koresh. However, it was thought that some remained in the compound. For more than five hours armored vehicles, some of which punched holes into walls, deposited tear-gas canisters inside the compound; at am the assault ended.

Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article requires. While the government long maintained that it was not involved in starting or spreading the fire, in it was revealed that some of the tear gas used by the FBI was flammable.

Please refer to the appropriate style manual or other sources if you have any questions. Later that year Reno appointed John Danfortha lawyer and former Republican senator, to investigate the raid. Branch Davidianmember of an offshoot group of the Davidian Seventh-day Adventist Church that made headlines on February 28,when its Mount Carmel headquarters near Waco, Texas, was raided by the U.

A lengthy…. Investigators ultimately found 75 bodies, 25 of which belonged to children.

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