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The real story behind the Waco siege from people who were there

Federal Bureau of investigation

Editor's note: This conversation originally aired February 12, 2018.

Thirty years ago this month, in 1993, the siege of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, was underway. Federal agents attempted to raid the ranch belonging to the religious cult for suspected weapons violations.

A shootout ensued, followed by a 51-day standoff, and ultimately ended when the compound was engulfed in flames. In the end, David Koresh, 74 of his followers — including 25 children — and four federal agents were killed.

We look back on the legacy of Waco with people who were there, including an FBI negotiator and a Branch Davidian survivor. And, we talk with a UNC Charlotte religious studies professor who says both the government and the Branch Davidians share in the blame.


Gary Noesner, former FBI negotiator and author of "Stalling for Time: My Life as an FBI Hostage Negotiator"

David Thibodeau, one of nine Branch Davidians who survived the siege and author of "Waco: A Survivor’s Story"

Dr. James Tabor, professor of religious studies at UNC Charlotte and co-author of "Why Waco? Cults and the Battle for Religious Freedom in America"

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Erin Keever is Senior Producer of WFAE's Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. She has been with the show since joining the station in 2006. She's a native Charlottean.