Sunday, Feb. 29

  • 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 firewpoer. 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 announced 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.

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.

Saturday, March 6

  • A cultist asks to negotiate a way to remove a body from the compound.
  • Government negotiators use their daily press briefing to make a direct plea to the cultists for their surrender.
  • Negotiators announce cultists are beginning to ask about the judicial system, and what would be their legal paths should they surrender.

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.