28 years ago today: 76 men, women, and children died in Branch Davidian compound fire

National News

Mystery Wire has thousands of pages of FBI documents from the siege included in this story.

The Branch Davidian cult compound observation tower in Waco, TX is engulfed in flames after a fire burns the complex to the ground 19 April 1993. (Photo by TIM ROBERTS / AFP) (Photo by TIM ROBERTS/AFP via Getty Images)

MYSTERY WIRE — On the 51st day of an internationally broadcast siege, David Koresh and many of his followers at the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, TX died when the buildings went up in flames.

The siege was carried out by the U.S. federal government, Texas state law enforcement, and the U.S. military, between February 28 and April 19, 1993.

David Koresh led the Branch Davidians at the Mount Carmel Center ranch in the community of Axtell, Texas, 13 miles northeast of Waco.

David Koresh – 1987 (McLennan County Sheriff’s Office)

Suspecting the group of stockpiling illegal weapons led to the ATF executing a search warrant which led to four government officials and six Branch Davidians being killed. This began the 51 day siege.

The standoff ended 28 years ago this week when the U.S. Justice Department directed the FBI to advance on the compound. Controversy continues to this day over the origins of the fire with some believing the FBI caused it and other believing the Branch Davidians committed suicide.

Killed in the fire were 76 Branch Davidians, including 25 children, two pregnant women, and David Koresh.

The FBI has since released thousands of pages of documents from the siege, including transcripts of conversations between Koresh and others inside and the FBI negotiators.

Mystery Wire has compiled those documents at this link and below for you to read. If you click on a document below it will open a .pdf file in a new tab or window.

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