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Born Vernon Howell, David Koresh claimed that God spoke to him and said he was the "chosen one." In the 1980s, Koresh became a member of the Branch Davidians, an offshoot of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The main base was located at the Mount Carmel compound in Waco, Texas. There, Koresh rose through the ranks, eventually becoming the group's leader. He convinced members that he was on a mission from God and the end of times was upon them. He also warned that the government would eventually come for them it was war. And as his former followers would describe, the conditions in which they lived in was reflective of a community preparing for that war. Under Koresh's leadership, Branch Davidians were taught they had to separate themselves from the world. Women had to dress a certain way. Only a particular set of foods and meals could be eaten. Marriages were dissolved. David made women and children his own, often taking young teenage girls as wives. He believed in militarizing his followers, purchasing large amounts of weapons and practicing how to use them. Eventually, authorities became suspicious after reports of gunfire at the compound. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) launched an undercover investigation - calling it Operation Trojan Horse. But what started out as a search warrant escalated into a 51-day siege that would live in infamy. In February 28th, 1993, ATF agents attempted to raid the Mount Carmel compound. Who fired first is unknown but once the shots started they didn't stop. After nearly an hour, the ATF agents ran out of ammunition and tried to negotiate with Koresh and other Branch Davidians inside. But the damage was done. At the end of the day, 4 ATF agents were dead and several more wounded. Six Branch Davidians were killed and others, including Koresh, were wounded. Waco became the center of national attention as everyone waited to see what would happen next. The focus for authorities quickly became how to resolve the issue peacefully and how to get the children out of there. Koresh agreed to release the kids one by one so long as he was able to speak his scripture over the national radio. Close to 20 children were released, with 20 more still inside. Negotiations continued back and forth for weeks. Fiinally Koresh agreed to surrender. But when it came time to deliver, he didn't. And the FBI had enough. On the morning of April 19th, 1993, Branch Davidians were awoken to sound of tanks. Attempting to draw everyone out, authorities announced that they would be dropping teargas into the building. This went on for several hours until suddenly a large fire broke out and spread throughout the building. Many inside attempted to escape - others died from gunshot wounds both self-inflicted and from others. According to the FBI, Steve Schneider, Koresh's right-hand man, shot and killed Koresh and then committed suicide. In the end, only 9 people would survive that day. Close to 80 people had died.

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