Thursday’s events:

  • Federal agents make a surrender appeal over blaring loudspeakers asking cult leader Vernon Howell to let his people go.
  • FBI spokesman Bob Ricks says that since Howell has reentered discussions, negotiations have taken a step backward.
  • Waco police arrest a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan for trying to enter the daily media briefing by FBI and ATF officials.

We interrupt this campaign

SAN ANTONIO — The Texas Department of Commerce suspended television tourism ads during the first few days of the Branch Davidian standoff.

Diane McManigle, agency marketing manager, said, “We modified the rotation for our tourism commercials because we felt the environment was wrong to air them in early March, immediately following the events in Waco.” The ads have since resumed.

Tank driver’s ed

The FBI acknowledged Thursday that it had flattened a car left at the Branch Davidian compound by the Waco Tribune-Herald. But FBI Agent Bob Ricks offered an excuse for the mishap involving a Bradley armored vehicle personnel carrier.

“We are not professional tank drivers,” Ricks said. “We are FBI agents who are driving those vehicles.”

Authorities have used armored vehicles to protect law officers around the religious cult’s fortified home.

The newspaper’s car was left at the scene by reporters who fled the scene.

Clinton prays for agents

President Clinton remembered the four slain agents during a speech in Washington on Thursday, noting three had been assigned to protect him during last year’s campaign.

“I know that all of you join with me in praying for a peaceful and sure and quick conclusion to the events in Waco,” Clinton said at the Treasury Department.

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.