WACO, Texas -- Muffled pops of gunfire could be heard in a courtroom Wednesday as tape recordings of the first calls for help from the Branch Davidian compound were played for a jury.
That gunfire seven years ago marked the start of a 51-day siege that ended in a deadly fire.
At various times, both a law enforcement dispatcher and various members of the Davidians were heard on the tapes desperately pleading for a cease-fire as the gunfire continued in the background.
''God almighty,'' a McLennan County Sheriff's Department dispatcher identified as Lt. Larry Lynch said at one point, referring to the bursts of automatic weapon fire. ''Well then, we would have a hell of a mess.''
On the other end of the phone line, Davidian Wayne Martin called out to the dispatcher: ''Tell 'em (federal agents) to cut it off! Tell 'em to fall back. We've got women and children in danger.''
The tapes recount the events of Feb. 28, 1993, when Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents arrived at the Davidian compound, known as Mount Carmel, to search the property for illegal weapons. Ten people, including four federal agents, were killed in the ensuing confrontation.
Attorneys for Davidians who survived the shootout and fire have filed a $675 million wrongful death lawsuit against the government.
They say the tapes represent the random use of deadly force by negligent federal agents.
They also say that negligence extended to the government's final assault on April 19, 1993, when fire destroyed Mount Carmel and killed about 80 people who remained inside.
Attorneys for the government, however, say that the same tape recordings depict a heavily armed camp whose members were determined to fight to the end, even if that meant killing federal agents.
Repeatedly, Lynch was heard on the tapes appealing to the Davidians to cease fire and to allow federal agents to retrieve their wounded colleagues.
''A man is laying out there dying,'' he said to Martin. ''Please do not let them fire. We're wasting a man's life out there.''
When bursts of gunfire resumed, Lynch called out, ''Stop 'em! Stop 'em! A man's life is hanging in the balance.''
Throughout the ordeal, Lynch was frantically attempting to keep track of events while keeping a telephone line open to Martin and Davidian leader David Koresh.
At one point, Koresh told Lynch that he couldn't prevent members of his congregation from firing on officers because he had no way to communicate with the rest of the group.
Koresh also was heard in the midst of the chaos chastising Lynch for the government action. ''You've ruined the country,'' Koresh said.
Lynch, meanwhile, appealed for calm and offered medical help to the wounded inside the compound.
''We don't want anything from your country,'' Martin said. ''They (the wounded) don't want your help.''
Inside the courtroom Wednesday, jurors used written transcripts to follow the recordings.
The exchanges were especially painful for Sheila Martin, Wayne Martin's widow, who listened from the gallery. Her husband and four of their children died in the compound.
''For the first few years, I didn't want to listen to those tapes,'' Martin said outside the courthouse. ''This is the first time I've heard so much of what was said. It's rough hearing it all.''
WACO, Texas (AP) -- Federal agents who tear-gassed the Branch Davidian complex in 1993 strayed from the plan approved by Attorney General Janet Reno when they used tanks to smash gaping holes in the building, former FBI officials testified Thursday.
Attorneys for Branch Davidian survivors and family members suing the government claim the FBI's on-scene commanders ordered the dismantling of the Davidians' complex with tanks less than five hours into the tear-gassing operation.
The plaintiffs say the Reno-approved plan called for FBI agents to use tank booms to gradually insert tear gas in the building and permitted systematic destruction only 48 hours after a determination that the tear-gassing plan had failed.
In videotaped testimony in the $675 million wrongful death trial, retired deputy assistant FBI director Danny Coulson said he was surprised when he saw a tank deeply penetrating the cult's building on April 19, 1993, the final day of the Waco siege.
``I don't recall that the plan contemplated this activity,'' Coulson said. ``It would appear to be inconsistent.''
Coulson said he watched the events unfold on a monitor in Washington, D.C., and remembered saying, ``I hope that's a bad camera angle.''
Larry Potts, former assistant FBI director, said in a videotaped deposition he wasn't sure what the tanks were doing. He said he wondered ``Is there some kind of an emergency? I wasn't sure what the reason was.''
Reno's videotaped deposition on the plans to tear-gas the complex was expected to be shown to the jury later Thursday.
Cult leader David Koresh and about 80 of his followers when fire engulfed the rickety wooden building hours after FBI agents began the tear-gassing operation. The government contends that the cult set the fire.
The plaintiffs' lead attorney, Michael Caddell, who expects to complete his case within a week, plans to present testimony about whether federal agents started the fire and whether the government was negligent by withholding firefighting equipment.
This lawsuit consolidates nine civil cases filed by survivors and relatives of the Branch Davidian victims.
The jury will act only as an advisory panel to U.S. District Judge Walter Smith, who will deliver the verdict. Separately, Smith will consider the question of whether federal agents shot at Davidians during the siege's fiery end.
WACO, Texas - Top FBI officials were surprised to see converted tanks plowing deep into the Branch Davidians' complex on the last day of the government's siege in 1993, according to testimony Thursday in federal court in Waco.
Deputy Assistant FBI Director Danny Coulson was watching a television monitor at agency headquarters in Washington as tanks pumped tear gas into the complex. Sitting beside him was his immediate subordinate, Michael Kahoe. When one of the tanks rammed into the front of the complex, Kahoe said, "Holy (expletive)!"
Coulson replied, "I hope that's a bad camera angle."
Lawyers representing the Davidians in their wrongful death case against the government used the testimony to bolster their contention that on-scene FBI commanders went beyond the eviction plan that had been approved by Attorney General Janet Reno. That plan allowed for the destruction of the complex after the tanks had gassed the Branch Davidians over a two-day period.
On April 19, 1993, the tanks began plowing into the front and rear of the complex about five hours after the gassing began. As the tanks began ramming the complex, the gymnasium roof collapsed, a fire broke out and about 80 members of the sect died.
The alleged departure from the plan is one of four claims that U.S. District Judge William Smith Jr. and a six-member jury are considering. The others involve whether FBI actions contributed to the start of the fire, whether a firefighting plan existed and whether federal agents used excessive force in their initial raid on the complex.
Coulson's statements that included Kahoe's reaction were part of four videotaped depositions by now-retired FBI officials that occupied most of the third day of the trial. The other depositions were from former FBI Director William Sessions, Deputy Director Floyd Clarke and Assistant Director Larry Potts.
Although the officials agreed that the Reno-approved plan put off destruction of the complex for 48 hours, they also circled the wagons around the two FBI commanders who were on the scene at Waco. The officials would not concede that the tanks' maneuvers were designed to destroy the building. They said the tanks were penetrating the building to get tear gas deeper into the structure where the Davidians were hiding and that the destruction of the building was a by-product of those maneuvers. They also said the on-scene commanders had discretion in carrying out the plan.
Coulson said he was surprised when the tank almost disappeared into the complex because he was afraid it would be trapped. Mike Caddell, the Branch Davidians' lead attorney, asked Coulson if what the tank did was part of Reno's plan.
"I don't recall that the plan contemplated this activity," Coulson said.
Caddell: "You would agree with the characterization of these activities as being a deviation from the plan, correct?"
Coulson: "You could use the term 'deviation.' You could use the term 'inconsistent' with what I understood the plan to be."
Later, an FBI agent testified that he did not launch any fire-causing military-type tear gas rounds into the sect's complex before it burned to the ground.
Joseph Servel Jr., a member of the FBI's hostage rescue team, said he was in a converted tank that was shooting tear gas into the complex in an attempt to force the Davidians out. He said the rounds fired from his tank were nonpyrotechnic.
"Did you put any military gas rounds into the compound?" asked James Touhey, a Justice Department lawyer.
"No," Servel replied. "I'm positive we didn't. I handed Tommy every round that he shot." Servel was referring to Tom Rowan, another agent in the converted tank who was firing tear gas into the complex using an M-79 grenade launcher.
One theory of the plaintiffs' claim is that the tear gas rounds could have started a fire. Although Reno had prohibited the use of military-style pyrotechnic rounds, it has been disclosed that the FBI fired two such rounds early on the day of the tear gas attack. Those rounds were fired at an underground bunker, several hours before the fire began.
It took but a few moments in April 1993 for a fire at the Branch Davidian residence to spread into a blazing deathtrap for nearly 80 men, women and children inside. But it has taken more than seven years for a multimillion-dollar wrongful-death suit to begin in a federal courtroom.
This week at the federal courthouse in Waco, Texas, a judge and jury are examining allegations that U.S. agents who conducted the 51-day siege of the Branch Davidian compound in 1993 are partly responsible for those deaths. The showdown at Waco has already been the subject of congressional and media investigations, and former Republican Sen. John Danforth of Missouri is undertaking - at Justice Department urging - an independent examination of federal agents' conduct from the initial shootout in February 1993 to the fiery conclusion roughly two months later.
Far more worrisome to Justice Department officials, though, is the prospect of facing a jury of ordinary Americans.
"Congress can certainly hammer officials and threaten appropriations, but ... the Justice Department is adept at suggesting that congressional investigations are very partisan," says Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University. "Civil litigation represents something much more serious. ... A civil verdict by a panel of citizens is much harder to dismiss." Questions have lingered over the motives and tactics of federal agents at Waco. Indeed, just the name Waco has become a kind of short-hand for iron-fisted government action.
Some analysts say agents sought to punish the Davidians with lethal retribution after U.S. agents were slain in the initial raid. Others suggest that impatience and aggressive egos clouded the judgment of some agents on the scene. Still others place primary blame for the deadly outcome at the door of David Koresh, the doomsday-preaching leader of the Davidians who died in the compound.
"There is widespread agreement across the political spectrum that the government made serious mistakes at Waco," says Solomon Wisenberg, a former federal prosecutor who is now a criminal-defense lawyer here. "It is one of the few things liberals and conservatives can agree on." Now, a judge and jury must decide if federal tactics at Waco should translate into an excessive-force verdict against the government.
The case will be hard fought. Legal analysts say U.S. tort law allows agents at an armed standoff substantial discretion to take whatever action they deem necessary without facing second-guessing by a judge after the crisis.
But others say federal agents should have foreseen the tragic outcome of the use of aggressive tactics, particularly given lessons from earlier deadly sieges.
A 1984 siege ended tragically when a suspect died after government flares inadvertently ignited his cabin. A year later, Philadelphia police used a small incendiary device during a raid against a group called MOVE; 11 followers died in the resulting fire.
"Negligence comes down to foreseeability," says Turley. "Waco occurred long after that kind of fire danger was well known in these types of procedures." The government's case isn't helped by an attempt to cover up certain conduct during the Waco siege. After six years of denials, the Federal Bureau of Investigation admitted last year that its agents had fired potentially flammable tear-gas canisters at the Davidians' residence several hours before it burned to the ground.
And it still is unclear whether agents fired rifles toward the complex on the last day of the siege, an action that might have kept Davidians - including women and children - from fleeing the spreading fire. That specific allegation will not be presented to the jury, but will be considered later by U.S. District Judge Walter Smith. In a somewhat unusual move, the jury was impaneled to serve in an advisory role to Smith, which means the judge will decide the case, but may accept or reject the jury's findings.
The expected month-long trial is the result of the consolidation of nine civil cases filed in 1994 by survivors and relatives of Davidians who died during the February raid or on the final day of the siege in April. They are seeking $675 million in damages.
At the heart of the case are allegations that the government contributed to two of three fires that broke out on the last day. Lawyers for the Davidians say agents negligently prevented fire-rescue equipment from responding to the blaze.
Government lawyers counter that the fire was set by the Davidians in a suicide pact and that firefighters would have made easy targets for the armed Davidians. The government also insists that agents did not open fire on the compound that day, other than firing tear-gas canisters.
Phillip Arnn of the Watchman Fellowship, a Christian evangelical group that monitors organizations it considers to be religious cults, saw "two extremes" at Waco. "Neither was willing to give an inch," he says. "The FBI was going to take this man one way or another, and David Koresh wasn't going to be taken." Arnn says each side made mistakes. "Do the relatives deserve compensation?," he asks. "I would say probably no. Should people in the government lose their jobs? Absolutely."
WACO, Texas The panic and terror within the walls of the Branch Davidian complex was relived Wednesday as the audiotaped drama of the first moments of the government's 1993 raid was played in the cult's multimillion-dollar wrongful death trial.
"There are 75 men around us and they are shooting at us at Mount Carmel!"
sect member Wayne Martin screamed in the telephone. "Tell them there are children and women in here and to call it off!"
Pops of gunfire could be heard in the background as sheriff's officials on the phone scrambled to calm Martin while simultaneously trying to reach federal Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents at the scene.
The exchange was captured on 911 tapes by the McLennan County Sheriff's Office, whom Martin called when shooting started on Feb. 28, 1993.
The shooting began when federal agents tried to serve search and arrest warrants on the Mount Carmel complex outside Waco on suspected gun violations. Four federal agents and six Davidians died that day.
The ordeal ended 51 days later when the FBI tear-gassed the wooden complex and a fire engulfed the building. In the end, about 80 Davidians were killed either by gunfire or the blaze.
Survivors and family members of the Branch Davidians are seeking $675 million in a wrongful death lawsuit that among other things argues that the ATF agents fired indiscriminately, knowing women and children were inside. The government contends that cult members shot first during the raid and started the deadly fire.
Martin's plea for ATF agents to stop firing on the complex had been heard at the 1994 criminal trial of five Davidians, who were convicted of voluntary manslaughter in the deaths of four federal agents.
But Wednesday was the first time a jury heard the entire first tape capturing the beginning of the raid and siege. That segment included a recording of Martin's insistence that he had a right to shoot back.
"I have a right to defend myself! They started shooting first!" Martin yelled in a speakerphone to Sheriff's Lt. Larry Lynch.
"Tell them to hold their fire, leave the property and we'll talk!"
More of the exchange was heard when government attorneys countered with tape segments of their own. The excerpts included recordings of Lynch trying to persuade Martin to maintain the cease fire so injured agents could be retrieved and to arrange help for injured people inside the compound.
The injured agents were removed, but the Davidians rejected medical help.
"We don't want anything from your country," Martin said on one tape. "That's what our wounded are telling us. They don't want your help."
Martin and four of his children ultimately died in the fire.
The jury will act only as an advisory panel to U.S. District Judge Walter Smith, who will deliver the verdict. Separately, Smith will consider the question of whether federal agents shot at Davidians during the siege's fiery end.
WACO, Tex. - The terror and confusion of the first minutes of the U.S. government's 1993 raid on the Branch Davidian complex came back to life yesterday when jurors in a US$675-million wrongful death lawsuit listened to 911 tapes of the initial firefight.
"There are 75 men around our building and they're shooting at us out at Mount Carmel ... Tell them there are women and children here and to call it off," Davidian Wayne Martin screams at Larry Lynch, a McLennan County sheriff's lieutenant. "Call it off!"
In the background come rapid thuds of gunfire as Davidians and agents of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms exchange fire.
"I hear gunfire! Oh shit!'' Lieut. Lynch says. "They're still shooting. I can hear the bullets. God almighty."
On Feb. 28, 1993, ATF agents swarmed the Davidian compound just outside of Waco, hoping to arrest sect leader David Koresh and search the ramshackle complex for illegal weapons.
A firefight that the government blames on the Davidians broke out, killing four ATF agents and six Davidians.
The raid sparked a 51-day siege that ended when the buildings went up in flames as government tanks tear-gassed the wooden complex to force the Davidians out. As many as 80 Davidians, including many children, died.
Parts of the tape were played by both sides as the plaintiffs seek to prove that the ATF used indiscriminate force in the raid. The government puts the blame for all the deaths on Mr. Koresh and his followers, saying they fired first.
The lawsuit claims that the government mishandled the final raid, contributing to the high death toll.
In yesterday's playing of the 911 tapes, Mr. Martin and other sect members could be heard complaining repeatedly that government agents began shooting first.
"I'm under fire! ... I have a right to defend myself! They started firing first,'' Mr. Martin screams.
Mr. Martin's plea for ATF agents to stop firing on the complex had been heard at the 1994 criminal trial of five Davidians, who were convicted of voluntary manslaughter in the deaths of the four federal agents.
But yesterday was the first time a jury heard the entire first tape capturing the beginning of the raid and siege.
As Lieut. Lynch tries to calm the sect members and get them to stop firing, a Davidian yells, "If they don't back off, we're going to go to the last man .... Tell them to get off our road, to get away from our door, to get away from our window! ... They're bringing more weapons out! They're breaking out the big stuff!''
The government played a portion of tape where the Davidians refused any offers to help their injured and dying members. Mr. Koresh was wounded in the initial exchange of gunfire.
It is the government's contention that the Davidians were an apocalyptic and suicidal cult whose beliefs caused their deaths.
Both Mr. Koresh and Mr. Martin died in the final fire.
For Sheila Martin, yesterday's proceedings were the first time she had heard her husband's voice in years.
"I've never heard this whole tape," she said outside the courthouse. "I refused to for years. I thought it would be better now but it was rough."
WACO -- Bullet holes in the front door convinced him that agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms were the aggressors in their Feb. 28, 1993, raid on Mount Carmel, Houston lawyer Dick DeGuerin testified Wednesday in the Branch Davidians' wrongful-death lawsuit against the government.
"All the bullet holes I saw had smooth edges from bullets coming from the outside," he said.
DeGuerin told the seven-member advisory jury and U.S. District Judge Walter Smith of Waco that he entered Mount Carmel seven years ago to try to get the Davidians to surrender and take their chances in court. He was enlisted to represent David Koresh by the Davidian leader's mother, Bonnie Haldeman.
"It was a parallel interest I had, I thought, with the FBI," DeGuerin said.
DeGuerin told Houston lawyer Cynthia Chapman -- who is assisting her husband, lawyer Mike Caddell -- that Mount Carmel had a pair of hollow-core steel front doors. Only the door on the right had bullet holes, according to DeGuerin.
Chapman poked a hole through paper to illustrate a bullet's entry and exit patterns, causing the government to complain that her object lesson wasn't legitimate.
"You don't think so?" Smith said. "Overruled."
DeGuerin also told government lawyer James Touhey that Koresh reported sending all the Davidian men to their rooms before the ATF raid and telling them, "Do not fire until I give the word."
Opposing lawyers each said DeGuerin's testimony buttressed their case.
"If a majority of the bullet holes came from the outside, it indicates the ATF fired the first shot," Caddell said. "Remember, they said bullets erupted through the front door at them."
Michael Bradford, government co-counsel, said DeGuerin's testimony helped the government by showing that Koresh "put people in rooms to shoot, to start firing."
The plaintiffs in the $675 million lawsuit played a portion of the 911 call by Wayne Martin, the late Waco lawyer who was a Davidian. Jurors followed along on transcripts given to them.
The tape captured the chaos that reigned as ATF agents and Davidians exchanged fire, resulting in the deaths of four ATF agents and five Davidians.
Martin opened the call by blurting, "There are men, 75 men around our building shooting at us."
Lt. Larry Lynch of the McLennan County sheriff's department responded, "Mount Carmel?" That prompted Martin to yell, "Tell them there are children and women in here and to call it off!"
Periodic gunfire interrupted both men's efforts to work out a cease-fire -- each side accusing the other of firing.
"If they attack us, we're going to fight to the last man," Martin said.
The government also played portions of the 911 tape, trying to counter the plaintiffs' portrayal of the Davidians as the raid's victims. One dealt with a conversation between Koresh and Lynch.
"You don't know what we have," Koresh said. "You don't know what we've got."
"No, sir," Lynch said. "You guys, you're going to get a big butt-whipping," Koresh said. Koresh also told Lynch, "We knew you were coming and everything. You see we knew before you even knew." The plaintiffs Wednesday also presented depositions from several women at Mount Carmel. All of them said they were not warned about the ATF raid and did not carry guns.
In a videotaped deposition, Annetta Richards, who was 63 at the time of the raid, said a bullet whistled through her bedroom window "within inches of my face. Then I got on my hands and knees and crawled out into the hallway."
Caddell later said Richards' experience was typical of the women at Mount Carmel.
"You saw Annetta Richards," Caddell said. "You think she was a pistol-packing grandma?"
Bradford read jurors a portion of Richards' deposition concerning Koresh's hold on the Davidians. Richards was asked if Koresh spoke for God.
"If he told you to do something, if God told you to do something, whatever he told you, it wouldn't be a sin," Richards said.
WACO, TEXAS - Audiotapes of the vicious gun battle between Branch Davidians and federal agents were played for a jury and judge Wednesday during the trial of the sect's wrongful death suit against the government.
The tapes, recorded during frantic 911 emergency telephone calls, captured all the fear, drama and chaos of the largest law enforcement disaster in U.S. history. Six Branch Davidians and four agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms were killed, and 20 federal agents were wounded. The raid began a 51-day siege that ended in a fiery battle where about 80 Branch Davidians died.
But the tapes failed to clarify who fired first or how federal agents identified themselves when they came to ram down the front doors of the sect's complex near Waco on Feb. 28, 1993.
In the tapes, sect member Wayne Martin is heard pleading with McLennan County sheriff's Lt. Larry Lynch to call off the federal agents. In the background is the sound of rapid gunfire that seems to be coming from both the Davidians inside the complex and from the government agents outside.
"There are 75 men around our building and they are shooting at us at Mount Carmel!" Martin screamed. "Tell them there are children and women in here and to call it off!"
Lawyers for relatives of dead Davidians and some survivors put some of the tapes into evidence to show the ATF used excessive force. Some of the tapes had been played before a jury in the criminal trial of some Branch Davidian defendants in 1994.
But other parts were put before a jury for the first time. For example, Martin's statements to Lynch that "I have the right to defend myself" and "they started firing first" were not disclosed to the criminal trial .
juryGovernment lawyers played other parts of the tapes to help the defense. For example, in one part, Lynch asked Martin if authorities could give any medical help to the injured Davidians. Martin responds: "We don't want anything from your country."
In another recorded exchange, Martin says the sect members were prepared to resist "to the last man. We are not going to leave this property. Each man is going to make their own decision."
The defense is trying to use such statements to show that the Branch Davidians believed the U.S. government was corrupt and that a violent world-ending confrontation with federal authorities was inevitable.
In another tape used by the government, Branch Davidian leader David Koresh said, "We knew you were coming before you did." The government has portrayed Koresh as a self-proclaimed prophet who doomed his followers to an apocalyptic end.
The ATF raid was the first chapter of the Waco tragedy. More than 75 battle-equipped agents disembarked from two cattle trailers in a Sunday morning raid to serve search warrants on the complex and to arrest Koresh.
Looking for automatic weapons and illegal explosives, the agents tried to breach the complex's double front door and, using ladders, get inside second-story windows. A hail of gunfire drove them off. After Mount Carmel burned to the ground on the final day of the siege, authorities found more than 200 weapons, some modified to fire automatically.
The raid was supposed to be a surprise, but the forewarned sect members were armed and waiting. Two ATF raid leaders were later disciplined for going ahead, although they knew they'd lost the element of surprise. Both the government and the Davidians claimed the other side fired first.
The gunbattle led to a 51-day siege by the FBI. The siege ended with a tank and tear gas assault in an attempt to force the Davidians to surrender. About 80 died from gunshots and a fire that consumed the complex on April 19. Martin, a Harvard-trained lawyer, was one of them. The plaintiffs say the government's handling of the siege contributed to the deaths. They are seeking a multimillion dollar award.
Armed with transcripts, jurors listened to more than two hours of the 911 audiotapes during the second day of the trial. They also heard from Davidians who lived to talk about the assault and from a Houston criminal defense lawyer who tried to represent Koresh before he died from a gunshot to the head on the last day of the siege.
Graeme Craddock, an imprisoned Davidian, testified by deposition that Koresh had always taught about the possibility that the complex would be attacked by the government. Craddock said he was issued two guns that he had on the morning of the ATF raid. Craddock said the first shots he heard seemed to come from outside the building.
After that, he heard a barrage that sounded like "hail falling on a tin roof." He said he heard screams from Perry Jones, one of the Davidians who died on the day of the raid.
Dick DeGuerin, hired by Koresh's mother to defend the Davidian leader, testified that he visited the complex four times before the siege ended. He said all the bullet holes he saw in the right front door of the complex appeared to have been fired from the outside.
In previous testimony before Congress, DeGuerin had said some of the bullet holes in the door had come from the outside. After the complex burned down, the metal door disappeared and has never been found.
Part of the deposition of Derek Lovelock, a Davidian survivor who lives in England, was read into the record. Lovelock, the first one out of the burning complex, said stairwells inside the complex had been damaged when the FBI used converted tanks to insert tear gas. Damage from the tanks restricted the movements of people inside, he said.
In a videotaped deposition, Davidian Annetta Richards of Jamaica said she saw three helicopters flying toward the complex on the day of the ATF raid that began the siege.
"Shortly after I sat down, a bullet came through the wall, just inches from my face," said Richards, who was 64 at the time of the raid. She said she was in a second-floor room and that bullets came through the walls and the roof. She said she saw no Davidian fire a gun.
About a month after the siege, Richards peacefully left the complex. She said she believed the others would have eventually left the same way.
"Everyone was planning on coming out," she said.
Waco, FBI and the Branch Davidians: Updates
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