Chronology of the Raid

Chronology of the Raid

Saturday, February 27, 1993

Morning: Waco-Tribune Herald reporter Tommy Witherspoon's informant tells him that the raid has been changed to Sunday. Agents at Fort Hood continue training; are told that the raid has been moved up to Sunday.

3pm: Witherspoon and KWTX-TV cameraman Dan Mulloney play racquetball and discuss the change of the raid date.

Raid Day -- Sunday, Feb. 28, 1993

4:30am: Rear cover forward observer team departs Fort Hood.

6am: ATF caravan departs Fort Hood. Forward observer team arrives at TSTC command post.

7:30am: KWTX-TV crew meet at station. ATF convoy arrives at Bellmead Civic Center.

7:45am: Rear cover forward observer team leaves TSTC for Hay Barn. KWTX-TV crew arrives at Davidian compound area; cameraman Jim Peeler is lost in the area of Old Mexia Road, a few miles west of the compound.

8am: ATF Commander Robert Rodriguez enters compound. ATF Agent Charles Sarabyn gives short update at Bellmead Civic Center.

8:30am: Peeler tells Mulloney, via cellular phone, he can't talk to Mulloney, since he is talking to a postman [David Jones]; Jones returns to the compound and alerts Koresh about raid.

8:45am: Herald-Tribune reporters (in three cars) arrive at compound area. Tribune photographers arrive at TSTC airport.

8:46am: Tribune photographers call editors and alert them of helicopters and police vehicles at TSTC airport.

9am: Sarabyn returns to TSTC command post.

9:05am: Rodriguez leaves compound, and calls Sarabyn, who is at the TSTC command post; Sarabyn returns to Bellmead Civic Center; Rodriguez heads for TSTC Command Post.

9:10am: National Command Center (NCC) in Washington, D.C., is contacted and informed the operation is a "go."

9:13am: Raid vehicles at TSTC begin lining up.

9:25am: Sarabyn arrives at Bellmead and announces that the operation is ready to proceed; ATF agents board the cattle trailers and prepare for the raid.

9:29am: Helicopters en route to compound.

9:30am: Sarabyn en route to Mt. Carmel.

9:43am: Tribune-Herald photographer is pulled over by ATF agents after trying to pass the cattle trailers on FM 2491. He sees ATF agents and calls his editor to tell him ATF is en route to compound.

9:45am: "Mag Bag" search team departs TSTC en route to "Mag Bag," a building where Davidian men work on cars. KWTX-TV crew follow cattle trailers toward compound. Tribune-Herald reporters follow TV crew, but pass the Mt. Carmel driveway and park along nearby road. They see cattle trailers enter compound driveway.

9:47am: Part of the ATF team moves into position behind compound and are immediately taken under fire by positions to their left; Helicopters arrive in sight of compound and are taken under fire; raid begins, agents taken under fire. Media reps outside the compound are shot at. KWTX camera crew halfway down Mt. Carmel driveway hear shots and take cover behind bus, and videotape the raid.

Source: Report of the Treasury on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Investigation of Vernon Wayne Howell, also known as David Koresh, September 1993.

Got something to say on the subject? Send a letter to the editor.

  • More of the Story

  • Killing the Messenger

    Seven years after the ATF's raid on the Branch Davidians' Waco compound, the government continues to blame the media for tipping off the Davidians about the raid while hiding information that tells a different story.
  • Life After Waco

    Waco's Drug Buster

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle