Self-styled messiah and leader of the Branch Davidian cult in Waco, Texas. Koresh was a failed rock musician on L.A.’s Sunset Strip (friends and neighbors described his music as “melodic rock,” though he was also a fan of heavy metal) destined not to find fame until February 28, 1993, when the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms raided his compound on the suspicion that the cult was illegally hoarding machine guns.
The Branch Davidians fought back, picking off four ATF agents, and a 51-day standoff ensued. FBI and ATF attempts to force an end included the blasting of rock music and Tibetan chants from giant speakers aimed at what the FBI dubbed Ranch Apocalypse. The name came true when a federal tank moved in on the Davidians and the compound erupted in flames-an apparent suicide that killed 86 members inside, 25 of whom were children.
Though Attorney General Janet… Continue reading →