FBI On Waco Fire
- DALLAS - Evidence
stored by the Texas Rangers may contradict the U.S. government's claim
that no pyrotechnic devices were fired into the Branch Davidian
compound the day it burned, The Dallas Morning News reported
- Branch Davidian leader David Koresh and about 80
followers died in the 1993 inferno at the compound 10 miles east of
Waco, Texas. Authorities have denied using any incendiary devices
during the assault that ended when the compound was consumed by fire.
- Investigators concluded that sect members set the
- A probe by the Texas Rangers became the backbone of
a 1994 criminal trial in which eight Branch Davidians were convicted
of charges ranging from manslaughter to weapons violations. More than
12 tons of evidence were gathered and much of it is stored in Waco.
- A researcher for a 1997 documentary critical of the
government's conduct was allowed access to the evidence last spring,
the Morning News reported.
- The researcher, Michael McNulty, who is preparing a
new documentary on the standoff, said he found that at least six items
listed in Texas Ranger inventories as silencers or suppressors were
actually ''flash-bang'' devices, commonly used by law enforcement to
- McNulty said the devices sometimes ignite fires in
enclosed spaces because they emit a loud bang and flash driven by a
small pyrotechnic charge.
- Texas Rangers' evidence logs indicate the devices
were found in areas of the Davidian compound in which the fires broke
out, McNulty said.
- ''It's our belief that these pieces of ordnance
could and probably did have an impact on the fire on April 19th,'' he
told the Morning News.
- Justice Department spokesman Myron Marlin called the
- ''We know of no evidence to support that any
incendiary device was fired into the compound on April 19, 1993,''
- The Davidians and authorities became locked in a
51-day standoff after agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and
Firearms were fired upon when they tried to arrest Koresh on Feb. 28,
- The compound erupted in flames April 19 when federal
agents punched through the walls and fired tear gas inside.
- Congressional hearings have pointed to mistakes by
the law enforcement officers, but none has been charged with a crime.
A lawsuit filed by surviving Davidians and the relatives of the dead
challenges the conclusion that the Davidians started the fire and also
shot first during the raid.