Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Trojan Horse: Inside the ATF Raid at Waco, Texas

The First Onslaught

ATF had managed to persuade the Texas National Guard and the governor that the compound might contain a methamphetamine lab. All the agents knew the lab story was bullshit, but someone at ATF decided to spin the tale to the Texas authorities so that we could get access to their equipment and personnel.

As the helicopters started their run from their hover position just north of the compound, the Davidians started shooting. Rifle rounds slammed into the Black Hawk and one of the Kiowas. Both made emergency landings in nearby fields.

Agents practice assualting roof
Agents practice assualting roof

On the east side of the compound, the New Orleans SRT was catching hell. Seven agents had hauled out two aluminum ladders from the second cattle trailer and set them up against the side of the chapel. The seven agents then scrambled onto the chapel roof. From there, the plan called for them to crash through two second-story windows: one that led to cult leader David Koresh's bedroom and one that led to the suspected arms room.

Ken King outside building
Ken King outside building

The chapel roof rose to a peak in the center and was slick with rainwater. On the west slope of the roof, three agents crouched outside Koresh's bedroom window when a burst of machine-gun fire tore through the glass. The blast of bullets struck ATF supervisor Ken King six times. King had been a recon Marine in Vietnam. The bullets knocked him down, and he rolled off the roof and fell into an inner courtyard.

©2003 Chuck Hustmyre. All Rights Reserved.

 

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