One Robinson detective spent much of last Wednesday turning away curious college students who wanted a glimpse of the Branch Davidian cult compound.

Robinson officers are among the scores of law enforcement officials guarding roadblocks on Farm-to Market Road 2491.

Branch Davidian cult leader Vernon Howell and his followers have been holed up at the compound since Feb. 28, after a deadly gun battle between cultists and federal agents.

“I worked a roadblock Wednesday night from 11 to 8 a.m.,” said Robinson Police Detective Wayne West.

“We had a lot of Baylor students coming up wanting to get through. We’d have to turn them around.”

West said the McLennan County Sheriff’s Department called in Robinson police the night of March 1.

“When it first went down, the chief called them and told them if they needed our assistance, we’d do what we could to help,” he said.

Since March 1, Robinson Police chief Mike Holder has sent up to four off-duty volunteers in two police cars, he said. “We’re using mainly off-duty people to go out there,” West said. “So we leave enough here in the city to deal with problems.”

West said he expected to send more officers in this week.

“It’s a different experience since it’s going down right here in Waco,” he said.

“We’re all kind of wanting to get out there and see what’s going on. Naturally, police officers like to get in on everything. I think just about all of us have been out there at one time or another.”

West said that as the standoff dragged on between law enforcers and cult members, lifeguarding the roadblocks was just as quiet, with “no problems.”

“For the most part, people have been very cooperative with the police out there,” he said.

Read the Tribune-Herald's 7-part investigative series on the inner workings of the Branch Davidians. Hours after Part 2 appeared in print, the ATF raided the group's compound.

Read the Tribune-Herald’s account of the ATF raid on the Branch Davidian compound on Feb. 28, 1993. Four ATF agents and six in the compound were killed in the gunfight.

Read the daily news accounts of the 51-day siege at the Branch Davidian compound near Elk, which began Feb. 28 and lasted until April.

April 19 and beyond: FBI agents began inserting canisters of tear gas into the Branch Davidian compound in the early morning hours. By noon, it was on fire.

Federal officials left the compound site in late May 1993. As identifications of bodies continued, questions about the survivors, the compound and the cult itself began to emerge.

As the world began to take a critical look back at the events and legal proceedings continue, the ATF's bombshell report forces a shakeup at the top after the raid gone "tragically wrong."

In 1994, the surviving Davidians went on trial in San Antonio. Over six weeks, more than 140 witnesses testified, with the verdict coming just two days prior to the anniversary of the ATF raid.

The Rodenville shootout and the 1988 trial, the end of the world in 1959 and more stories from deep in the Trib archives.