Friday’s developments:

  • Branch Davidian cult members Kathryn Schroeder and Oliver Gyarfas came out of the Mount Carmel complex. But two other men believed to want to leave the compound are still inside.
  • Negotiators talked to cult leader Vernon Howell for the first time in two days.

Agents told to avoid media

WASHINGTON — Agents of the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms are being warned that “loose and often uninformed” public comments could hurt efforts to solve the World Trade Center bombing and quell the Branch Davidians.

“The carnage from the bomb in New York and the tragic loss of our own in Texas demands the best that we can give in skill, professionalism and cooperation,” said FBI Director William Sessions and ATF Director Stephen Higgins.

“There have been several incidents recently of unnamed agents speaking to the media about aspects of both operations and critical of the other agency. These types of unauthorized and inaccurate comments only serve to undermine the confidence of the American people in our agencies.”

Dreams of MTV

A former music partner of Vernon Howell, also known as David Koresh, says the cult leader wanted to spread his religious message through a rock band he hoped would make it to MTV.

“This message had to get out by us becoming famous,” bassist John Pagano said Friday in an interview with radio station KRLD. “By the time we get up to MTV …. Then David would have a platform and people would be able to listen to him and he’d be able to get the children of the world to his message.”

TV movie in works

Hollywood isn’t fazed by the lack of an ending to the dramatic standoff between cult leader Vernon Howell and federal agents near Waco.

Offers for movies and TV series are pouring in, even as the deadly confrontation enters its 14th day today.

On Thursday, NBC announced it had a deal with Patchett Kaufman Entertainment for a TV movie with the working title “In the Line of Duty: Assault in Waco,” that could air as early as May.

The production company has a film crew in Waco, co-owner Ken Kaufman told the Daily News of Los Angeles.

Messianic business cards

The cards Vernon Howell would hand out to people he tried to convert were typically grandiose.

“Messiah,” they said. The “I” was dotted with a star. A sword with an intricate hilt slashed through the middle of the word.

‘Mad Man in Waco’

A song cult leader Vernon Howell wrote and recorded in 1987 about religious rival George Roden sound an eerie prophecy of Howell’s standoff with authorities.

The words to Howell’s song “Mad Man in Waco” were published in 1987 in a Christian satire magazine The Wittenburg Door. Some of the lyrics:

“There’s a mad man living in Waco.

“Please, please, please won’t you listen?

“It’s not what it appears to be.

“We didn’t want to hurt anybody.

“It’s not what it appears to be.

“We didn’t want to hurt anybody.

“Just set our people free.”

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.