Cult leader? ‘Sinful Messiah’? 25 years later, interest in David Koresh still strong

By Bobby Ross Jr. | For Religion News Service

WACO, Texas — The curious keep coming.

They turn onto a gravel road 10 miles east of Waco and pass through a black gate leading to a rural complex where David Koresh — leader of an apocalyptic religious sect known as the Branch Davidians — and 75 followers perished in a firestorm on April 19, 1993.

That came after six Branch Davidians and four federal agents earlier died amid a flurry of gunfire in the government’s initial Feb. 28, 1993, raid on the 77-acre Mount Carmel property.

“I was just really curious about seeing this memorial and seeing what’s out here,” said Eric Williams, a Seattle film producer who made it a point to visit the site during a leisure trip to Texas.

Nearby, a woman snapped a picture of a monument listing the names of Koresh and the other 81 Branch Davidians — including 18 children ages 10 or younger — who lost their lives in the 51-day federal standoff that ended in a nationally televised inferno.

Twenty-five years after the siege, interest in what happened outside Waco — and who’s to blame — remains immense.

Evidence of that can be seen in the spate of recent television specials coinciding with the anniversary — from ABC’s “Truth and Lies: Waco” to the Paramount Network’s six-part miniseries “Waco” to the Smithsonian Channel’s documentary “Waco: The Longest Siege.”

Read the full story.

Related: Former FBI agent still haunted by Waco tragedy and David Koresh’s beliefs (reporting from Waco, Texas)

My 1993 story: FBI spokesman relishes comfort of home after horror of Waco (reporting from Edmond, Okla.)

Religion News Service is a national wire service whose media partners include The Associated Press, USA Today and the Washington Post.

From the Houston Chronicle:

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