A group of Waco residents is raising money for a scholarship fund in memory of the four federal agents who died in the Feb. 28 Mount Carmel shootout.

The Community ATF Memorial Scholarship Fund Steering Committee hopes to raise $20,000 to help four criminal justice students pay for tuition, books and fees for one year at McLennan Community College, committee chairperson Pamela Brewer said at a Friday news conference.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents Steven D. Willis, Robert J. Williams, Conway LeBleu and Todd McKeehan were killed in the raid of the Branch Davidian compound after a shootout erupted between agents and members of the cult.

Agents were trying to serve an arrest warrant on cult leader Vernon Howell for illegal possession of firearms.

Brewer said the scholarships will be a “lasting tribute to these courageous men.”

“The agents’ families will know their loved ones will not be forgotten in McLennan County,” she said.

News of the scholarship fund touched LeBleu’s older sister, Marsha Delaney.

“He would have thought that was great,” she said by telephone from Lake Charles, La.

The Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce has established a bank account for the fund.

Tony DeNardi, ATF resident agent in charge, thanked the committee for its tribute to the agents, expressing gratitude on behalf of the agents’ families.

“The support we have received from the city of Waco has been outstanding,” he said.

If enough money is raised, the scholarship could be awarded by this fall, Brewer said.

The committee has not yet determined criteria for scholarship applicants. But Paul Marable, chairman of the MCC college foundation board, said the college will study scholarship programs already in place to determine the qualifications.

The committee consists of 25 community members. The chamber is helping it establish the fund, chamber of commerce spokesperson Scott Salmans said.

To make a donation, call the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce at 752-5551 or send a check to “Attention ATF Scholarship”, Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce, P. O. Box 1220, Waco 76703.

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.