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CNN Presents

CNN Presents: Waco - Faith, Fear and Fire

Aired April 23, 2011 - 20:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: The standoff has been going on about 45 minutes now. The Alcohol and Tobacco people apparently have telephone contact with somebody in the compound.

DAVID KORESH, BRANCH DAVIDIAN LEADER: My name is Dave Koresh. David Koresh. My name is David Koresh.


KORESH: God speaks to me.

CLIVE DOYLE, BRANCH DAVIDIAN: Manifestation of god in the flesh.

SHEILA MARTIN, BRANCH DAVIDIAN: We believed this man had the truth.

GRIFFIN: But to the U.S. government, David Koresh was a threat.

UNIDENTIFIED ATF MALE: Machine guns and explosive devices.

GRIFFIN: In 1993, they went to war in Waco.

KORESH: This ain't America anymore when the ATF has that kind of power.

GRIFFIN: It ended in catastrophe. Eighty-six people dead. Including at least 24 children.

LEE HANCOCK, DALLAS MORNING NEWS: There had been nothing like this before. The siege was new and unique in America law enforcement history.

DICK REAVIS, AUTHOR, THE ASHES OF WACO: If you distrust the government, Waco is going to be symbolic to a lot of people of what they really fear.

KORESH: I'm talking to you, somebody is going to get hurt.

DOYLE: If he asks God for some kind of sign and God gives it, what does that mean?

GRIFFIN: Every Saturday morning Clive Doyle and Sheila Martin study the bible.

DOYLE: Behold the Lord God will come with strong hand. His arms shall rule for --

GRIFFIN: They are about all that's left in Waco of the Branch Davidians.

DOYLE: And he's basically over the king.

GRIFFIN: An offshoot of the Seventh Day Adventist Church. The religious community went back generations. It even issued its own currency during the great depression.

David Koresh came to the faith and its Texas commune in 1981.

(On camera): Who was he back then, to you?


GRIFFIN (voice-over): Former Branch Davidian Kathy Jones and her husband David had seen religious visionaries come and go.

KORESH: God speaks to me.

GRIFFIN: This time was different. Koresh would preach his way to power.

JONES: I remember in the beginning, everybody was like, oh, he's crazy. You know? He's this and that. And I mean, that's all I heard. All of a sudden people were like, well, we're listening to him. He has a message.

KORESH: The message was a spell-binding account of "Revelation." The New Testament's final book.

Koresh claimed that he alone could explain the book's mysterious versus about a final battle between the armies of God Almighty and Satan.

KORESH: I mean there are some things that God has concealed in his written word that are to be brought to do right before the end of time.

CHARLES PACE, BRANCH DAVIDIAN: I confronted him, yes.

GRIFFIN: Branch Davidian Charles Pace says he warned church elders in 1984 that Koresh was a disaster waiting to happen.

PACE: Are they going to follow god or a man?

GRIFFIN: The elders chose Koresh.

MARTIN: The scriptures just flowed out of his mouth.

KORESH: And Peter says for those who believe not the word --

MARTIN: He just seemed to know so many things and knew how to explain them.

KORESH: Take it from Isaiah, referring to messiah, and sure Lord are giving me signs of mourners in Israel.

MARTIN: My children learned how to swim in this pool.

GRIFFIN: Sheila Martin came to the 77-acre compound in 1985. Her husband, Wayne, was a Harvard Law graduate. They brought their six children.

MARTIN: I thought at first this was going to be a sunny day. Just walk into the kingdom one day, and bring my family, and we'll live forever through eternity, believing in the scriptures and doing the things that God wanted.

DOYLE: When it comes to religious matters, you're always learning.

GRIFFIN: Clive Doyle came to Waco on his way from Australia to Israel. He ultimately stayed to study scripture with David Koresh.

DOYLE: As his message developed, we came to see him as more than just a prophet.

GRIFFIN (on camera): A messiah.

DOYLE: Right. Manifestation of God in the flesh.

GRIFFIN: Koresh added a twist to his message in 1989, declaring only he could have sex. All the other Branch Davidian men would be celibate, even married men. Koresh, however, could have multiple wives.

(Voice-over): In this home video that he would later send to federal agents during the siege --

KORESH: Am I a mean person, Nikki?

NIKKI: No, no.

GRIFFIN: Koresh linked his blend of spirituality and sex.

KORESH: The rumor is true.

GRIFFIN: With the purity of the Garden of Eden.

JONES: He was showing it in the bible. This passage would say we were just loaned to each other.

KORESH: It's a beautiful custom work.

GRIFFIN: Koresh had sex with underage girls. And with his various wives, he fathered at least 13 children.

KORESH: She should be having another one in about a month, huh?

MARTIN: It wasn't so much this is a man who's doing something we don't approve of.

KORESH: This is my little one, Holly. MARTIN: As much as he was teaching us greater things.

KORESH: My love baby, right? Huh? This is my great wonderful looks something that women can't resist?

JONES: You know, I saw a lot of people around me having -- having babies. And I mean, I knew that that meant my time was coming.

GRIFFIN: Kathy Jones' husband, David, was OK with it. Kathy was not. And she left.

JONES: If I had stayed there, I would have had children by David Koresh. That's when I really, really got scared.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: God's in control.

GRIFFIN: Over time, Koresh attracted a diverse group from as far away as Australia, England, Jamaica, the Philippines, about 130 in all.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trust God. Read your bible. Know what you're talking about. What are you doing with your life? What do you do every day with your life? Is it something God approves of?

GRIFFIN: The Branch Davidians supported themselves in part by buying guns to resell at gun shows.

KORESH: It's not against the law to buy firearms. It's not against the law to buy anything that they sell at a gun show.

GRIFFIN: But by 1993, the federal government believed Koresh was illegally converting rifles into machine guns.

Armed with arrests and search warrants, 76 agents piled into two cattle trailers for a surprise raid. It would be the largest armed assault in the history of American law enforcement.


UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: 911. What's your emergency?

GRIFFIN: February 28, 1993.


GRIFFIN: This is how the war in Waco began.

UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: Yes, this is Lt. Lynch. May I help you?

W. MARTIN: Yes. There's 75 men are around our building and they're shooting at us.

GRIFFIN: The caller was Wayne Martin, Sheila Martin's husband.

MARTIN: Our children were down on the floor. But if we would have been standing up, we would have been hit.

W. MARTIN: Tell them there are children and women in here and to call it off.

UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: All right, all right. Hello? I hear gunfire. Oh, shit.

GRIFFIN: It was a raid by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.


W. MARTIN: Call it off.


GRIFFIN: ATF agents trying to arrest David Koresh and search the Branch Davidian compound.

(On camera): The operation that winter morning was the culmination of an eight-month investigation. The Feds believed Koresh was illegally converting semi-automatic AR-15s like this one, into the fully automatic machine guns soldiers use.

(Voice-over): The federal agents had rented a house across the street, posing as college students, trying to buddy up to Koresh. But he never bought the act.

DOYLE: We knew we were being watched from across the road. We knew there was some kind of government agency -- agents over there.

GRIFFIN: ATF planned a military-style raid, what they call dynamic entry. It hinged on the element of surprise. Hide 76 agents in innocuous looking cattle trailers and strike while the Davidian men were outside, away from their guns.

UNIDENTIFIED ATF MALE: We practiced for it. They drilled over and over again.

GRIFFIN: The pressure for federal agents to act rose when the local newspaper published an expose Koresh' multiple wives and sex with underage girls. With this side bar, the law watches but has done little.

HANCOCK: And so as ATF is preparing, the media is finding out and trying to make its own preparations in order to cover the raid.

GRIFFIN (on camera): On that Sunday morning a local TV station sends a photographer out to the Branch Davidian compound to stake it out. He gets to this road, about a mile away, and realizes he's lost.

(Voice-over): The cameraman sees a mail carrier. Explains who he is and asks directions.

HANCOCK: The mailman, very friendly, told the guy how you could find the property and then turned around and went to go ask to talk to David Koresh.

GRIFFIN: The mailman is Branch Davidian David Jones. And when Jones speaks to David Koresh, one of the ATF college students is right there.

REAVIS: David and them told him, we know who you are and what's fixing to happen. May God bless you, in effect.

GRIFFIN: The ATF agent races to the undercover house across the street, warns commanders, the element of surprise was lost.

HANCOCK: He told them, please don't do this. He told them, they know we're coming. Call it off. Begged them to call it off.

GRIFFIN: But instead of calling it off, the ATF commanders load up and rush in.

KORESH: You come point gun in the direction of my wives and my kids, damn it, I'll meet you at the door any time.

GRIFFIN: Each side blames the other for firing first.

DOYLE: I hear the shots. I thought, oh, my god, there's going to be a blood bath.

GRIFFIN: Top federal officials would later call the decision, tragically wrong.

UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: Let's settle this now before anybody gets hurt. Is anybody hurt in there, Wayne?

W. MARTIN: I don't know. A man's screaming.


W. MARTIN: A man is screaming.


W. MARTIN: I'm under fire.

GRIFFIN: In the middle of the gun battle, David Koresh also calls 911.

UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: Yes, this is Lynch.

KORESH: Hey, Lynch?


KORESH: That's kind of a funny name there. Listen --

UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: Now, who am I speaking with?

KORESH: This is David Koresh.


KORESH: The notorious.

GRIFFIN: Koresh, calm, wants to talk scripture.

KORESH: Now there's some things in that bible that have been held as mysteries.


KORESH: About Christ.


KORESH: Now when it says in Revelation 22, "Behold I come quickly, my reward is with me." The statement is, what reward did Christ receive in heaven from his father? He received a book with Seven Seals.

UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: Let me -- can I interrupt you for a minute?


UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: All right. We can talk theology, but right now --

KORESH: No. This is life. This is life and death. The theology we go with is life and death.


GRIFFIN: Finally, after 90 minutes, a ceasefire.

MARTIN: I kept hearing that and I kept saying, oh, good, this is over, it's over.

GRIFFIN: Inside, Koresh and others have been wounded.

KORESH: You want to see one of the holes here? Here's one of them.

GRIFFIN: Six Branch Davidians are dead. Outside, ATF looks like an army in retreat. More than 20 agents wounded, four agents are dead.

(On camera): When you realized that not only were they shooting at you, but now you had dead federal law enforcement officers outside.

DOYLE: It was a whole different ball game from that point on. We're looking to God to indicate how we play this.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): The war in Waco has just begun.


GRIFFIN: When ATF agents raided the Branch Davidian compound in February 1993, everything that could go wrong did go wrong.

HANCOCK: Law enforcement had never dealt with anything like this before. As many bad guys as they take down, they've never been faced with this kind of firepower and people willing to use this kind of firepower. GRIFFIN: With four federal agents dead, emotions are running high.

UNIDENTIFIED ATF MALE: Many of the agents are wounded want to go back in there and say, let's do it, you know. Let's get this thing over with.

GRIFFIN: Cooler heads prevail. Authorities seal off the area. And ATF begins negotiating with Koresh. The overriding concern, to get the children out of the compound.

UNIDENTIFIED ATF AGENT: Everything's OK. Just you and me are talking. And that's the main thing because you care for people and you're sincere and honest.

KORESH: I care about my father.


KORESH: My father in heaven.

GRIFFIN: The feds are worried about another Jonestown where more than 900 members of a religious cult died in a suicide pact in 1978 with cyanide-laced Kool-Aid. A serious concern when Koresh quotes the Book of Revelations with its prophecy of violence in the final days.

KORESH: So here we are in the day of the Lord. All the prophets talk about the great and dreadful day of the Lord when God will make inquisition for blood.

UNIDENTIFIED ATF AGENT: That's not today, David.

KORESH: Oh, it is.

GRIFFIN: Trying to find common ground, the agent talks about the Davidians' huge stockpile of meals ready to eat. MREs.

UNIDENTIFIED ATF AGENT: What's your favorite one? I ate one of those yesterday.


KORESH: Beef stew.


KORESH: That's the only good one there.

UNIDENTIFIED ATF AGENT: I like that apple sauce they have.

KORESH: Oh, yes, that's good.

UNIDENTIFIED ATF AGENT: That's not bad, yes.

KORESH: Maple nut cakes.

UNIDENTIFIED ATF AGENT: Yes. GRIFFIN: Surreal considering the bloodshed. But some children are being sent out, including Sheila Martin's three youngest.

MARTIN: I said, life is never going to be the same. We are -- this whole situation had changed our whole life.

GRIFFIN: Meanwhile in the wake of the ATF debacle, the U.S. Justice Department sends in the FBI. There are two teams. A heavily armed tactical unit with armored personnel carriers and negotiators, armed with a phone and their wits.

GARY NOESNER, CHIEF FBI NEGOTIATOR: I teach negotiators that the very first thing have you to have is self-control.

GRIFFIN: Gary Noesner is the bureau's chief negotiator.

(On camera): When you got there, when you were briefed, what were you dealing with?

NOESNER: Well, I think in the context of the ATF where there clearly was anger, the predominant emotion I was seeing or behavior was devastation. Almost like walking zombies.

GRIFFIN: Noesner's team wants to understand Koresh's personality.

KORESH: And this is something this whole nation's going to have to learn. Whether they're going to learn by being sober and listening or are they're going to learn the hard way.

NOESNER: I believe everything he did, almost throughout the entirety of the ordeal, was ambivalence, was part of me wants to live, part of me wants to die.

GRIFFIN: They looked for clues in this TV news report about Koresh and Branch Davidians from Australia.

KORESH: His tongue is the (INAUDIBLE) -- so how is God going to talk to me in the later days? And who's going to bring that book? So there will be no excuses.

HANCOCK: They were sending agents literally all over the world, trying to scramble and find out anything they could, any former Davidian, anything who knew anything about these people.

GRIFFIN: Within days, FBI profilers will send this report up the chain of command. Koresh has characteristics associated with psychopaths. His followers have low self-esteem, are unable to act or think for themselves and are easily manipulated.

(On camera): What does that tell you about the FBI?

DOYLE: They have a low estimation of us.


GRIFFIN (voice-over): Sincere in their beliefs, the Davidians are looking to God for guidance.

(On camera): Tell me, how is God telling you what to do? God says, pack a lunch --

DOYLE: We look today for God to tell us. David was the median through which God spoke to us.

GRIFFIN: So you listen to David believing David was receiving his messages from God?

DOYLE: Correct.

GRIFFIN: And David was initially --

DOYLE: If you didn't think God was telling him, you wouldn't have been there.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): By the end of day two, negotiators have a breakthrough. Koresh promises to lead his disciples out, if the feds put his bible lecture on the radio. Nationwide.

KORESH: I, David Koresh, agree upon the broadcasting of this tape to come out peacefully with all the people.

GRIFFIN: Clive Doyle thinks life for him and his 18-year-old daughter Shari, will soon return to normal.

DOYLE: When they're talking about us coming out, I go pack my lunch, tell my daughter, we're going to go out, we sit on the grass, while they search the villa. I'm still thinking a search warrant. I don't know how long it will take. We might get hungry. We'll sit out there. When it's through, we'll come back home.

KORESH: What we're trying to present today --

GRIFFIN: Reporter: At 1:30 p.m., the sermon airs.

KORESH: We see that God has a book.

GRIFFIN: One hour on the Christian Broadcasting Network.

KORESH: And remember, the most fearful warning ever given to man in scripture is the warning found in Revelation 22.

GRIFFIN: But after the broadcast, the surrender plan changes. Koresh says he's gotten a message.

KORESH: You know, when you confer with God, you cants turn away from him.

GRIFFIN: God says to wait.


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Don Lemon. Here are your headlines this hour. A rampaging storm system has killed at least 23 people in North Carolina, 14 of them were in Bertie County, several dozen more were hurt. It appears the state broke a record with 230 reports of tornadoes.

It's a deadliest toll from the violent storm that started Thursday, killing more than 40 people throughout the southeast and southwest.

In Japan, it's going to take six to nine months to stabilize the damaged nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. It is the first timetable that engineers have given for ending the crisis.

It will take three months to reduce the radioactivity and restore cooling systems. Another three to six months will be needed before the reactors are fully shut down so crews can build new shells around their housings.

Those are your headlines this hour. I'm Don Lemon. We return you now to a CNN special, "WACO, FAITH, FEAR AND FIRE."

KORESH: You want to resolve this as much or more so than you do.

GRIFFIN: After promising federal negotiators that he would lead his followers out, David Koresh says God told him not to.

KORESH: My God told me to wait and that's all I'm doing.

GRIFFIN: Koresh also has an earthly concern, being raped in prison if he surrenders.

KORESH: Hopefully if I'm notorious they won't but me with no bubbas, huh? You know there's a lot of bubbas and they -- they want to molest you if they think you molest children.

GRIFFIN: Feel duped, the FBI commander orders the armored personnel carriers closer to the building to tighten the noose. But it only seems to antagonize Koresh.

KORESH: Your organization in this United States of America is a liar. You're saying peace with your mouth but your words are words of a dragon.

NOESNER: As a negotiator I would have preferred to go back to Koresh again and again, trying to get him to live up to what he had promised to do rather than taking an action that only gave him ammunition to be more angry at us.

GRIFFIN: The negotiators are now fighting on two fronts.


GRIFFIN: Trying to calm David Koresh --

KORESH: You're just schmoozing me.

UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: No. KORESH: You're trying use psychology on me.

GRIFFIN: And trying to talk their own bosses out of overreacting.

NOESNER: Sometimes there's this compelling thing we call action imperative where authorities feel they have to do something to be seen as decisive and in charge. And when you're compelled to do that, you often end up doing the wrong thing.

GRIFFIN (on camera): Koresh isn't making it easy. He claims to have weapons that can penetrate the armored personnel carriers, which he calls little buggies. And threatens to blow the government's little buggies to pieces.

HANCOCK: That's when the decision was made by the tactical guys. Let's go get us a really big tank. They got an M-1 Abrams tank.

GRIFFIN: The military armor is supposed to protect the tactical guys who are up close. Even with the big guns removed it's a show of strength to intimidate the Branch Davidians. Instead, it strengthens the Davidians' faith and intensifies their distrust.

OPHELIA SANTOYA, BRANCH DAVIDIAN: It's God who is directing David.

GRIFFIN: Ophelia Santoya.

SANTOYA: I believe it.

UNIDENTIFIED ATF AGENT: What do you think is going to happen in the next few days?

SANTOYA: I don't care.

UNIDENTIFIED ATF AGENT: What do you believe is going to happen?

SANTOYA: What? You guys are going to kill us.

GRIFFIN: Koresh himself looks to the Old Testament prophet Nahum, who says, God's enemies will come in chariots with flaming torches. To Koresh, the FBI is fulfilling a prophecy.

KORESH: The chariots with flaming torches that make noise like thunder. You know, we know what that really is, don't we? Tanks.

GRIFFIN: Despite the threatening heavy armor, the negotiators settle into a routine with Koresh.

UNIDENTIFIED ATF AGENT: David, let me -- where are you again now?

KORESH: We're here at Chapters 26 of Isaiah.

UNIDENTIFIED ATF AGENT: OK. Hold on for just a minute here. Let me catch up with you a little bit, 26:9.

GRIFFIN: There seems to be a rapport and Koresh praises his favorite negotiators for their friendly tone. KORESH: Now the reason why we've talked to Henry is because Henry, like yourself, you know, knows how to -- he knows how to be a waitress. And that's what you people are, you're professional waitresses. And, you know, professional waitresses --

UNIDENTIFIED ATF AGENT: That's a good analogy.

KORESH: -- that are really good get tipped good.

GRIFFIN: The tip is the release of children, 21 kids in the first six days.

NOESNER: When these beautiful little kids came in the negotiation room and sat on our laps, it was a constant reminder to all of us what was at stake here.

GRIFFIN (on camera): The negotiators are based at this airfield 13 miles away. As children arrive, they put them on the phone with their parents.



GRIFFIN: Florecita Sonobe, talking to Mark, one of the children.

SONOBE: They didn't treat you bad?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, they treated me good.

SONOBE: What did they do to you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They put me in the tank and took me to -- down on the road further down and put me in a van and brought me here.

NOESNER: Parents are parents the world over. And while they had an extraordinary allegiance to David Koresh, we certainly wanted to tug at those parental heartstrings.

SONOBE: Hey, Mark.


SONOBE: I love you. You be good boy, OK?


SONOBE: And if you see some of the kids, tell them I love them.


GRIFFIN: Mark also talks to Koresh's oldest son, Cyrus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm at the airport. There's lots of planes out front.

CYRUS KORESH, DAVID KORESH'S SON: You see any taking off?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. Cyrus, I went in a tank.

C. KORESH: Were you kind of nervous?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. It was bumpy. That was the only thing. Come on out when you can. If you can.

C. KORESH: I think I can.

C. KORESH: Well, there was plenty of doubt, but I was pleased with the progress of our strategy. I mean, of the first several days we had a dozen or so children come out. And any way you look at that, that's a positive indicator.

GRIFFIN: But many Davidians will not budge, including Clive Doyle.

(On camera): Did you ever consider leaving?

DOYLE: Why should I? I haven't committed a crime and this is where I live. Why do I need to come out?



UNIDENTIFIED ATF AGENT: Are you a patient person?

KORESH: Yes, I'm fairly patient.

UNIDENTIFIED ATF AGENT: You're going to see patience because the only thing that we're going to do is sit and wait.

GRIFFIN: Despite the negotiators' promise, their counterparts, the tactical team with tanks, is losing patience. The war in Waco is about to escalate.

KORESH: So, you know, you guys, you do it your way, I do it my way.


UNIDENTIFIED ATF AGENT: David Koresh, pick up the phone. The negotiators want to speak with you.

GRIFFIN: After six days, the flow of children out of the Branch Davidian compound stops.

REAVIS: Most of the kids, all but a half dozen, who stayed inside with the biological children of David Koresh --

KORESH: These children that I have are for a reason.

REAVIS: They were to grow up and be part of the jury that would judge the world in the end times. And so these were like sainted kids.

KORESH: You want to go out? You want to leave? How come? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because.

KORESH: Because why?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because I want to stay with you.

KORESH: You want to stay with me?


GRIFFIN (on camera): The standoff is at a turning point. Nearly 100 Branch Davidians remain inside, including 24 children. And the FBI is divided over what to do.

REAVIS: The negotiators wanted to continue talking and the tactical people wanted to get it over with.

HANCOCK: There was great tension and a big desire to get those people out of there. The question was, you know, how are you going to do it without further loss of life?

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Siding with the tactical team, the FBI commander turns up the pressure. Cutting electricity to the compound, blasting it with flood lights and cranking up the loud speakers.

REAVIS: They bombarded the house with the sound of dying rabbits.

HANCOCK: Tibetan monk chants. Buddhist chants.

REAVIS: The sound of a telephone being off the hook.

GRIFFIN: The FBI also plays a Nancy Sinatra song. A song with an implied threat.

NOESNER: Those kinds of actions that agitate are counterproductive to relationship-building. We know that. We knew that then. We know it now.

GRIFFIN (on camera): It was emotionally driven.

NOESNER: It was emotionally driven. It was driven out of frustration.

DOYLE: They were not driving a wedge between us and David. What they were doing was creating attitudes between us and them.

GRIFFIN: Hardening your position?

DOYLE: A lot of times, yes.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): If anything, the FBI's get tough approach seems to confirm Koresh's apocalyptic message.

KORESH: I know we are in the last days.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I look around and I can see where if this is not the end of time, I don't know when.

GRIFFIN: Koresh's disciples taped this message for their families.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Remember that I taught and I taught you that prophecy has to be fulfilled and the time has come.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm serving a true and living God that sits on the throne. And if you do so, you can't die.

REAVIS: They believed they were on something like Noah's ark. If you're on Noah's ark, you ain't leaving the boat.

GRIFFIN: Three weeks into the standoff, 12 more adults have come out. Including Sheila Martin. But she leaves behind her husband and her four oldest children.

MARTIN: They believed in God for themselves. They used to tell me that no matter what the situation, if I chose to leave, they wanted to stay.

GRIFFIN: The war in Waco is now a stalemate.

NOESNER: It was costing hundreds of thousands of dollars a day. There were hundreds of FBI personnel.

GRIFFIN (on camera): I mean, this was a national --

NOESNER: International.

GRIFFIN: International embarrassing TV show that was going on too long.

NOESNER: It was. It was. You know, and the FBI is a proud organization. And the FBI, I think, felt uncomfortable, now being in the situation which was being driven by, perhaps, a mad man. And feeling powerless and vulnerable.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): As negotiators talk, the tactical team is moving in, again. Bulldozing vehicles in front of the compound, destroying them.

NOESNER: If you're a David Koresh, are you going to believe what the nice negotiator's telling you or are you going to look out your window and be more influenced by more aggressive actions that you may feel threaten you?

GRIFFIN (on camera): I mean, your work was being undercut, plain and simple?

NOESNER: Clearly it was, and that was beyond frustrating.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Frustrating and frightening to those inside the compound. Like Clive Doyle's daughter, Shari.

DOYLE: She made a statement to me. She said, if they attacked and she got mangled or shot and was in a bad way, she said, don't let me suffer. And all I said to her, don't worry about it, Shari, I says it's all going to work out. You know. God's in control.

GRIFFIN (on camera): On day 46 the standoff takes what could be a major turn. Koresh says he wants time to write down his final message on the Book of Revelation. And if he gets it, he promises to lead everyone out.

UNIDENTIFIED ATF AGENT: I can go on paper here and said that David Koresh told me that as soon as he finishes this manuscript --

KORESH: I'll be splitting out of this place. I'm so sick of MREs.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Sick of MREs. And no longer worried about getting raped in prison.

UNIDENTIFIED ATF AGENT: Can I say that I think that's one of your big concerns, is Mr. Bubba?

KORESH: I'm not worried about Bubba.


DOYLE: People were packing bags. People were all excited. It's over. All of this situation is about to come to an end.

UNIDENTIFIED ATF AGENT: David, frankly, I'm eagerly awaiting this manuscript.

KORESH: I tell you what, it's going to blow your socks off.

GRIFFIN: But the FBI doubts his intentions and has a plan to force him out. Koresh sees the heavy armor clearing a path out front.

KORESH: You're doing wrong. Before God, before man. You are doing wrong.

GRIFFIN: His response is prophetic.

KORESH: All I can say is that if you want to place this in the history books as one of the saddest days in the world, you're fixing to step across the ribbon.

GRIFFIN: Within hours, David Koresh and most of his disciples will die.


UNIDENTIFIED FBI AGENT: It's time for to you exit the compound in an ordinarily fashion.

GRIFFIN: April 19th, 1993, just before dawn. Over the FBI's loud speakers.

UNIDENTIFIED FBI AGENT: David, individuals inside the Branch Davidian compound, we are in the process of placing teargas into the building.

GRIFFIN: The feds are out of patience and ready to make arrests for the murder of the four ATF agents 51 days earlier.

UNIDENTIFIED FBI AGENT: Exit the compound now. Submit to the proper authority, David.

GRIFFIN: The teargas is inserted from boons on specially modified tanks and fired from grenade-like canisters.

UNIDENTIFIED FBI AGENT: You are under arrest. This standoff is over.

GRIFFIN: When the Davidians shoot at the tanks, the FBI intensifies the gas.

UNIDENTIFIED FBI AGENT: Believe me, it will not get any better. It will only get worse.

GRIFFIN: After two hours, the FBI begins ripping holes in the building, exit routes, they say.

DOYLE: You go, if we step out of this hole, are they going to shoot us? Are they so angry because ATF agents are dead or because we've made them wait so long?

UNIDENTIFIED FBI AGENT: David, you have had your 15 minutes of fame. It's time to leave the building.

GRIFFIN: An hour later, there's smoke and fire.

UNIDENTIFIED FBI AGENT: We can work through this. Don't lose control of this, David. Don't lose control of this.

GRIFFIN: Flying above the complex, an infrared camera records the fire as a bright plume.

UNIDENTIFIED FBI AGENT: David, don't do this to your people.

GRIFFIN: Within minutes, there's a second fire. Then a third.

UNIDENTIFIED FBI AGENT: This is not the way to end this. Lead your people out, David. Be a messiah, not a destroyer.

GRIFFIN: After 45 minutes, the building is engulfed. Only nine people would make it out.

DOYLE: I came out basically driven out by the fire.

GRIFFIN: Sheila Martin, who had come out three weeks earlier, is watching the drama on television. Terrified for her husband and her four oldest children.

MARTIN: You're thinking, if they were in the hallway alone? Were they running? Did the fire catch them? Just very horrible to think.

GRIFFIN: Fanned by 25-mile-an-hour winds, this is dooms day.

Critics blame the fire on the FBI's teargas. But an independent special counsel ultimately found David Koresh ordered the fire set with accelerants.

NOESNER: I blame David Koresh, but because I believe he's to blame does not mean we, the FBI, did everything right or we did not make mistake, because certainly we did.

GRIFFIN (on camera): Do you believe patience would have provided many more survivors?

NOESNER: No question in my mind. I believe that a successful negotiation is not getting everyone out alive. It's getting everyone out alive that we can. If my judgment we did not get out all the people, potentially all of them that we could have. And for me, that's a failure.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Autopsies found Sheila Martin's family died from smoke and fire.

(On camera): Do you still cry?

MARTIN: Yes. I think the middle of the night is the worst, when you're -- wake up and you think about things. And you see a picture and see their smile. Can't remember the way they sounded. You can't remember their voices.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): At least 20 deaths were from gunshots. They were suicides and mercy killings. Among them, David Koresh and Shari Doyle.

DOYLE: And I believe that because of her either giving her life or having it taken from her violently like that, I believe that she is going to be saved.

GRIFFIN: In all, 76 Branch Davidians died that day, including 24 children.

That night Attorney General Janet Reno, who had approved the FBI raid, said it was intended to prevent the children inside from being harmed by David Koresh.

JANET RENO, ATTORNEY GENERAL: At the time we made the best decision I think that we could based on everything that we knew. Based on what we know now, it was obviously wrong.

GRIFFIN: There were aftershocks. To extremist like Timothy McVeigh, Waco was a call to arms. He would bomb the federal building in Oklahoma City, exactly two years later, killing 168 people.

REAVIS: His feeling was this is a war between the people and the government. The government won at Waco but we won bigger at Oklahoma City.

GRIFFIN (on camera): Remarkably, neither Clive Doyle nor Sheila Martin blame the FBI. To them the fire, the deaths, their grief, it was all part of a bigger plan by a much bigger power.

DOYLE: God permitted it to work out the way it did. He didn't stop it.

MARTIN: We don't want to feel that something horrible is something good, but that was what we're supposed to have that faith that if something happens, you trip, you fall, you -- you trust God has a reason for it.

GRIFFIN: I guess, Sheila, is the fact that something horrible did happen and I'm not seeing the good.

MARTIN: The bible says that all things work together for good. For those that love the Lord.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Today, there is a new chapel on the 77 acres and a new spiritual leader.

Charles Pace, the man who challenged David Koresh in 1984, says God chose him to take charge.

PACE: Yes, that's what I think. That's what I believe.

GRIFFIN (on camera): Are you the prophet? Are you a prophet?

PACE: I believe that I'm enlightened. Let me put it that way.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): With a few followers, Pace is clearing debris, getting ready for what he believes will be the gathering of the faithful.

PACE: Tom, do you think it's too windy?

GRIFFIN: It will come at the end of time, he says, foreshadowed by the collapse of major governments around the world. Perhaps soon.

PACE: These English-speaking protestant nations are going to be swallowed up by the one world government and it's all going to be central bank. Do you understand what I'm saying? They're all going to be swallowed up by the one world order.

GRIFFIN (on camera): And what will be here when that happens?

PACE: God's kingdom.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Clive and Sheila Martin don't buy it, not Pace's vision. They believe that David Koresh, not Charles Pace, will lead the world through the final days.

MARTIN: I feel even stronger as a result of what has happened.

GRIFFIN: Faithfully, patiently, they are waiting for the resurrection. David Koresh, messiah.

KORESH: What can I say? They call me a rambling man, don't they? Anyway, God bless and we'll sign off.