The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is set to unveil a pair of wooden models of the Branch Davidian compound as a way to memorialize four agents who died in the Feb. 28, 1993, raid outside of Waco.
Four agents — Conway Le Bleu, Todd McKeehan, Robert Williams and Steven Willis — and six Branch Davidians were shot and killed during the firefight that erupted when ATF agents tried to serve search and arrest warrants at the Branch Davidian compound near Elk.
After a cease-fire was arranged, a 51-day standoff ended when federal agents rammed the compound with tanks and fired tear gas inside on April 19, 1993. A fire erupted and 81 Branch Davidians, including leader David Koresh and 21 of his children, died in the wind-swept blaze that destroyed the building.
ATF officials say the two identical balsa wood models, which are about 4 feet long by 5 feet wide, took 18 months to build and were donated to the agency by architects. They were to be unveiled at a press event Wednesday morning at the Houston Field Division office, but the event was called off late Tuesday due to an unspecified “unforeseen emergency,” according to an ATF spokeswoman.
“The model, intended as a tool to both educate the public and foster new generations of law enforcement, is fitted with LED lights marking 18 key positions on the compound property. Each light is activated by a button located around the model’s edge, in effect allowing it to be a self-narrating educational tool,” ATF officials said in a statement.
The second model will be displayed at the National Law Enforcement Museum in Washington, D.C., a project of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
The Tribune-Herald also has a model of the compound as part of a museum at the newspaper offices at 900 Franklin Ave.
The model had been part of the Helen Marie Taylor Museum in downtown Waco but was brought to the newspaper’s museum by the Museum Association of Waco.
The newspaper’s museum also features a Heisman room, with photographs and articles about Robert Griffin III; staff photographs of former President George W. Bush and his family; and a section honoring legendary former Tribune-Herald sports editor Dave Campbell, founder of Texas Football Magazine.
What: Tribune-Herald museum
Where: 900 Franklin
Features: Branch Davidian room, Heisman room, photos of George W. Bush in Crawford and Waco, Dave Campbell exhibit
Appointments: Call 757-5757 for appointments to tour the Tribune-Herald museum.