Gunfire at the Waco Raid

When ATF agents attacked the Branch Davidians at Waco, Texas, on February 28, 1993, they served a search warrant for unregistered firearms with a full-scale military attack.

Firing From Helicopters

The ATF used three helicopters in their raid: two small observation craft containing National Guard pilots and one ATF agent, and a Blackhawk with a National Guard pilot and eight ATF agents. As the helicopters were all military craft, firing from them would be illegal under the federal Posse Comitatus law then in effect.

Among the documents given to Congress for its reports was a handwritten note by a Treasury Department review official who had interviewed ATF agents. The note read: "HCs [helicopters] as a diversion. Simultaneous gunfire. Worked in Seattle. Three to four hundred meters from boundary. Hover. Practiced at Hood."

One of the ATF agents in the helicopters said during the House hearings that the agents in the Blackhawk had their weapons loaded, and had been told they could fire in self-defense.

While the helicopter pilots denied circling Mt. Carmel, a television camera crew testified that they witnessed the helicopters do so. Television video of the raid apparently show bullets hitting the roof of the building from above.

The Davidians called 911 during the raid to request a ceasefire. The callers say that the helicopters are firing on them. During later negotiations, firing from the helicopters is one of the points of which the Davidians complain most. Surviving Davidians claim that there were more than a hundred bullet holes in the roof.

Source: Carol Moore.