Week one

Feb. 28-March 6

  • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms officers attempt to serve an arrest warrant on Branch Davidian cult leader Vernon Howell, as well as a search warrant for illegal weapons, but are repelled by heavy firepower. Four agents and two cult members are killed, while 16 agents and three cultists are injured.
  • About 110 cult members hole up inside the compound. One cultist is arrested.
  • Names of dead ATF officers are released.
  • FBI officials take control of the operation.
  • Howell allows 21 children and two women to leave the compound.

Week two

March 7-13

  • ATF officers raid a local machine shop suspected as a front operation where Howell followers purchased weaponry.
  • The state orders all but three of the 21 children released from the compound to remain in temporary state custody. Three children are released to their father in South Dakota.
  • Two cult women are released from jail on bond.
  • ATF agents arrest Woodrow Kendrick in Waco and charge him with attempted murder of a federal agent, because of alleged involvement in the Feb. 28 firefight.
  • FBI agents identify two of the dead cultists and release names of injured cultists.
  • ATF agents announce they are looking for cultist Paul Fatta, who has been charged with conspiracy to manufacture and possess unregistered firearms.
  • Cultists Kathy Schroeder and Oliver Gyarfus come out of the compound.

Week three

March 14-20

  • Federal agents turn bright lights on the Branch Davidian compound in what a government spokesman calls a tactical maneuver.
  • FBI spokesman said cult members Wayne Martin and Steve Schneider stepped out of the compound for an hour-long, face-to-face meeting with FBI officials Monday night.
  • Two male cultists leave the compound around 8:30 p.m.

Week four

Sunday, March 21

  • Seven people leave the Branch Davidian compound. One woman is taken to Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center, where she is being treated for pre-existing heart condition.

Monday, March 22

  • Agents use tanks to uproot trees near the compound.
  • Agents use their loudspeaker system to play mediation chants by Tibetan monks, followers of the Dalai Lama, as a psychological ploy.
  • Eight of the nine cultists who have come out of the compound since Friday are ordered held as material witnesses. The ninth remains hospitalized.

Tuesday, March 23

  • Cult member and former cult-recruiter Livingston Fagan, 33, comes out of the compound.
  • FBI agents say an agreement by which Howell and his followers will give up by noon today falls through when cultists do not come out.

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.