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Cult Siege Chronology

April 20, 1993

A review of the seven-week standoff:

Feb. 28: About 100 Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents move in on the compound of Branch Davidian leader David Koresh. Four agents are killed, 16 others wounded in the 45-minute battle.

March 1: Ten children released.

March 2: Two women, six children released. Koresh agrees to surrender if a lengthy taped statement is broadcast; sermon is broadcast but Koresh does not keep agreement.

March 3: ATF, in first major public briefing, announces that Koresh said he would surrender when he received "further instruction from God."

March 4, 5: Two more children leave compound. Authorities say Koresh has denied an intent to commit suicide.

March 15: Steven Schneider, Koresh's top aide, and attorney Wayne Martin, meet with an FBI negotiator and McLennan County Sheriff Jack Harwell.

March 18: FBI begins using loudspeakers to blare tapes of negotiations to cultists.

March 19: Two cultists leave the compound--first to exit in a week.

March 21: Seven cultists leave, including one who is hospitalized with heart condition.

March 24: Koresh breaks off negotiations, saying sect is celebrating a "high holy day."

March 28: Koresh talks to negotiators again. Houston attorney Dick DeGuerin, hired by Koresh's mother, has a phone conversation with him.

March 31: FBI halts its negotiations with the sect while DeGuerin has a third day of private talks with Koresh.

April 10: Koresh sends out angry four-page "letter from God," depicting a powerful and vengeful God "who will smite his enemies." FBI says Koresh appears to be waiting for a natural disaster before ending the standoff.

April 14: Koresh sends out word he will surrender after writing a manuscript in which he reveals the contents of the Seven Seals referred to in the Book of Revelations in the Bible.

April 16: FBI agent says the FBI won't wait forever on Koresh, saying, "We are on our own time schedule," and not that of Koresh. Agents clear debris and vehicles from around the compound.

April 19: The compound burns to the ground.


Length of siege: 51 days

Total cult members inside: 95

Children under age 10: 17

Survivors: 9

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