Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Trojan Horse: Inside the ATF Raid at Waco, Texas

More Fallen

No more than 10 feet to my left was a muddy hole, the entrance to the partially covered underground bunker the Davidians had been constructing. Farther out, across the bunker, sat a junked bus. During the briefings we'd been told that cult members lived inside some of the vehicles on the property. We had no cover if anyone started firing from the bus.

A buried bus (r), compound
A buried bus (r), compound

In front of the bulldozer, a wood fence partially blocked my view of the back of building, but I could see a 40-foot-tall, steel water tower rising up behind the fence. The rust-brown cylinder looked like a giant upright cigar. Perched on top of the tower, a man fired a rifle across the roof of the compound toward the chapel. I raised my rifle, but before I could fire at him someone else hit him. The gunman dropped into the tower as his rifle — an AK-47 by the look of it — slipped from his hands and fell, arching in lazy circles toward the ground.

From a second-story window to my right, a blast of machine-gun fire erupted. As ricochets whizzed off of the bulldozer, I fired a volley of shots into the window at the unseen shooter. For several minutes the Davidian and I traded shots. Eventually he stopped shooting. Maybe I got lucky. Maybe I hit him.

My ATF radio crackled with reports of agents down. The numbers were staggering. The staticy voice coming from the radio said that at least eight, maybe as many as a dozen, agents had been shot.

©2003 Chuck Hustmyre. All Rights Reserved.


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