Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Trojan Horse: Inside the ATF Raid at Waco, Texas

Who Goes There?

There was movement in the muddy hole to my left, in the entrance to the underground bunker. The bunker was maybe 25 or 30 yards long, and half that wide. It sat in the middle of an excavated pit and was linked to the main compound building by a buried school bus and a cement tunnel. A plywood and tarpaper deck covered the top of the bunker, but the surrounding ring of dirt hadn't been pushed back into place to hide it. With nine agents hunkered down on the west side of the bulldozer, a Davidian gunman popping out of that hole could mow us down.

I saw the top of a head moving inside the hole. Like some of the cult members we'd seen, whoever this was had something black on his head — a hat, a knit cap, or a helmet. I spun and aimed my rifle into the hole, the muzzle only a couple of feet from the intruding head.

"Who are you?" I shouted.

Other agents aimed their weapons into the hole. Around us the steady barrage of gunfire droned on.

I tightened my index finger on the trigger.

Despite the swelling knot of fear in my belly, I didn't want to make a mistake. Instinct, training, or just dumb luck — one of them stayed my hand for an instant more, just long enough to hear a voice from the hole scream, "We're ATF! We're ATF!"

I let the pressure off the trigger and took a deep breath.

©2003 Chuck Hustmyre. All Rights Reserved.

 

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