Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Trojan Horse: Inside the ATF Raid at Waco, Texas

Rescue

I jumped into the ditch beside Evers and pushed, while Opperman stood on the edge and pulled. With Opperman's help, Evers and I clawed our way up the muddy side of the ditch until we found ground solid enough to stand on. Then Opperman and I draped Evers's arms over our shoulders and half-carried the wounded agent back to the driveway, where we delivered him to a couple of his Houston buddies.

To get to the road we had to cross more than 200 yards of open ground, directly in front of the Branch Davidian guns. If they were setting us up for a slaughter, this was the best way. As we stumbled along, Kirk Tinker — the only other agent nearby with a long gun — and I hung back behind the others in case we had to return fire.

Halfway across the field one of the agents, overcome with pent-up rage, turned and screamed at the Davidians, "F***f you, you assholes!" I tensed but nothing happened.

To our left, an ambulance crawled down the driveway toward the compound, an ATF agent was behind the wheel. The ambulance crew had stayed behind on the road. They were scared. I didn't blame them. At any moment I expected the air to split with flying lead.

When I got to the driveway, I slung my gun over my shoulder and helped pack the wounded into the back of the ambulance. There were so many wounded agents there wasn't room for the dead. I helped stuff Rob Williams's body into the front seat beside the driver, but Williams was too big to fit so we had to dangle his legs through the open passenger door window. We laid the bodies of Todd and Conway into the bed of a pickup truck that an agent had borrowed somewhere. I rode in the back with the two dead agents. I think Steve Willis's body was carried to the road by hand.

Once the ambulance got to the road in front of the compound, the medic crew took over but they wouldn't drive with Rob's body riding shotgun — again I couldn't blame them. We had to dump Rob Williams onto the side of the road so the ambulance could rush the wounded to the hospital. Eventually an ATF agent commandeered a news photographer's Ford Bronco and I helped lift Rob's body into the back. His head flopped over and gushed blood all over me.

©2003 Chuck Hustmyre. All Rights Reserved.

 

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