ATF agents injured in Sunday’s raid at Mount Carmel continue to recover, officials with both local hospitals say.

A spokesman for Providence Health Center said Wednesday that the one remaining agent hospitalized there is in fair condition. The agent underwent surgery Wednesday morning to repair a damaged right elbow.

Meanwhile, Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center released a statement shortly before 1 p.m. saying that three of the seven ATF agents there have been transferred to other facilities for continued medical care and rehabilitation. The three were in stable condition before their transfers.

The four remaining agents remain in Hillcrest in stable condition, the statement concluded.

Earlier, Dr. William Peper, who first operated on the agent at Providence, told reporters that the man suffered tissue damage as a result of being shot but no major arteries had been hit. Peper said large caliber, high velocity bullets missed the arteries by millimeters.

“Any time you get hit with a slug that big, it causes a lot of damage,” Peper said.

On Sunday, Hillcrest doctors also said the bullets had caused extensive tissue damage and would likely result in much scarring on some of the patients. Some may need eventual skin grafts because they lost so much tissue, one surgeon said.

Dr. J. Kendall Ethridge told reporters at the time that at least one of the agents had been fired upon at point-blank range by an AR-15 rifle. Sources said the AR-15 is the civilian version of the M-16 military rifle.

Most wounds were to the agent’s lower extremities, he said Sunday.

ATF is not allowing reporters to interview its agents and is directing the local hospitals to withhold some information about them.

Meanwhile, life has started to return to normal at Waco’s two hospitals as personnel focus more on their day-to-day routines.

Both hospitals still have armed guards — including ATF and Waco police — positioned at strategic points inside the buildings and on the grounds.

Guards at Providence Health Center remain posted at all entrances, spokeswoman Janet Kemp said, but they are no longer routinely searching visitors’ belongings. On Tuesday, people going into the hospital were subject to handbag and parcel searches.

Special guards who had blocked public access to the driveway outside Hillcrest’s emergency room were dismissed Wednesday afternoon.

However, a hospital spokesman said, police and security forces remain inside the medical center as needed.

Both hospitals are still on standby in case any more wounded are transported from Mount Carmel.


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.