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 15 agents and three cultists are injured.
Negotiations begin as about 110 cult members holed up inside the compound refuse to leave.
Monday, March 1
Names of dead ATF officers are released.
Negotiations continue. Additional phone lines are run into the compound.
At the request of ATF agents, FBI officials take control of the operation.
Howell allows 10 children to leave the compound.
Federal agents bring Howell’s mother to the compound to talk him out.
Two cult members are arrested.
25 vehicles carrying armed federal agents arrive, along with military special forces teams.
Tuesday, March 2
Howell says he and his followers will surrender if electronic media broadcast a prerecorded message. Though the message is aired, cultists do not come out. Instead, they release two women and seven more children.
Wednesday, March 3
One of the ATF agents killed in Sunday raid is buried.
Federal agents announce they will wait out cultists, saying they will not attack.
FBI and ATF disclose they had a mole inside the compound just before the raid, and that that agent witnessed a tip-off to the cultists. Agents say they will investigate.
Howell says he broke his promise to surrender because God told him to wait. Cultists also reveal their numbers: 20 children, 47 women, 43 men. Rumors spread that as many as 10 cultists may have died Sunday.
Cultists release another child.
Thursday, March 4
Agents discover a body 300 yards from the compound.
Cultists release two more children, bringing to 20 the number of children let go.
Friday, March 5
Howell tells government negotiators he will not commit suicide, nor will he instruct his followers to do so.
Another child is released.
Texas Child Protective Services officials say all 21 children now let go are together. Agency officials send the cultists a tape showing that the children are being cared for.
Negotiators deliver sutures and other medical supplies to the cultists.