Failed rock star-turned-cult leader David Koresh led his fervent followers to their fiery deaths after a tense 51-day standoff with federal agents at their Branch Davidian compound outside Waco, Texas.
On Feb. 28, 1993, agents from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms stormed the religious sect's sprawling complex to arrest Koresh for stockpiling weapons and explosives.
But during the raid, a gun battle broke out when the 33-year-old zealot and his followers fired on the officers, killing four agents. Six members of the cult also died in the frenzied firefight.
The agents withdrew and a tense 51-day standoff that made international headlines followed.
The Branch Davidians, who believed an apocalypse was nearing, barricaded themselves inside Mount Carmel, the main building of the complex as federal agents surrounded them.
But on April 19, fearful the Davidians would commit mass suicide, Attorney General Janet Reno ordered a full-scale assault on the compound.
Around 6 a.m., agents bulldozed their way into the building and fired tear gas inside to smoke the cult out.
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When the smoke cleared, the bodies of Koresh and 76 followers, including 20 children, were discovered in the ruins.
Government officials blamed the Davidians, claiming they set the fatal fire and shot themselves. But survivors claim the fire was ignited by tear gas canisters lobbed by federal agents. The debacle triggered the Oklahoma City bombing two years later.
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