In 1990, a guy by the name of David Koresh formed a group of followers who believed in the book of revelation as an apocalyptic in the New Testament of the bible who called themselves Branch Davidians. Koresh was a high school drop out that possessed a young charismatic religious belief. Koresh’s followers called him, “The Lamb of God.” The group formed outside Waco, Texas in a well-built compound built to survive judgment day.
A mailman, in 1992, noticed a partially opened package that contained grenades. The mailman reported this to the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF). An investigation was opened on the group and Koresh. As a result, a search warrant was granted to search the compound of weapons and explosives.
February 23, 1993, a 75 man tactical team formed outside the compound for a raid, which was met with force. Four agents, and six of Koresh’s followers were killed. This incident lasted for 5 days. The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) assumed control over the raid once it commenced. The FBI started a raid them selves containing tear gas and armored vehicles. All equipment being used in the raid was fire retardant and would not cause bodily harm to individuals inside.
Time passed by and negotiations were initiated. Attorney Janet Reno gave the order to commence with a full-scale attack at six o clock in the morning on April 19, 1993. At five fifty five on the morning on April 19, 1993, FBI agents contacted the group to inform them a raid was in progress. A member threw out a phone to negotiate but nearly six hours later everyone was dead. Minutes passed by six o clock and the raid began in full force with tear gas plus armored vehicles crashing into walls as they crumbled to the ground. At eleven forty five, a white sheet was hung outside a compound window that read in orange lettering, “We want our phones fixed.” Noon approached and the compound walls from the outside were down and the interior roof had collapsed. Shortly after the hour, smoke was reported as being seen by the FBI. Flames began to spread throughout the compound but fire trucks arrived after thirty minutes passed and the building by then had entire collapsed in flames. Twelve forty five arrived and the entire three-story compound was full of melted ammunition and grenades. Helicopters began to carry out the victims burned in the fire and transported them to a nearby Hospital located in Dallas.
Post interviews prints a very vivid story of the events in Waco, Texas surrounding the April 19, 1993 incident. Established expert, Carlos Ghigliotti, an expert at thermal imaging and videotape analysis for the FBI believes the acts that day were not as stated to Congress. Ghigliotti believes and FBI agent fired shots towards the compound during the raid. After reviewing the footage from multiple angles, Ghigliotti believes without a doubt that shots were fired. It’s understood that the Davidians fired shots but the FBI reported no shots being fired in their affidavit to Congress. The rules of engagement were straightforward and its believed FBI agents fired multiple automatic weapons shots behind the compound out of media eyesight. A notable mention would also be the note Koresh wrote surrendering himself after he completed his writing. The use of military officials also showed the Posse Comitatus Act was violated in the use of millions of dollars worth of equipment and members.
The leadership changes would have occurred by following protocol. It seems as if the FBI wanted this incident over fast due to the rapid perception and media attention this was drawing. I believe the leaders skipped a few steps in order to achieve the objective of ceasing this incident. It could have been avoided if leaders would have communicated the correct information in order that the correct decisions and solutions would have been properly initiated. The leadership changes should have occurred once the incident progressed over the course of the days. The ATF jumped the gun with this one and the FBI covered up the dirty laundry so the perception is that all is well and the individuals in the compound caused the reckless acts of violence.
Leiby, R. and Vise, D.A. (October 6, 1999). Expert Reaches Different Conclusion on Waco Events, Page A2. The Washington Post Company. Retrieved on July 22, 2014 from http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/daily/oct99/waco6.htm
Swanson, C. R., Territo, L., and Taylor, R. W. (2012). Police administration: structures, processes and behaviors (8th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson