‘Those events will be with me for the rest of my life’

Waco tragedy and David Koresh’s beliefs still haunt former FBI agent.

By Bobby Ross Jr. | For Religion News Service

WACO, Texas — Twenty-five years ago, Oklahoman Bob Ricks was the FBI’s main spokesman during the 51-day standoff outside Waco between federal agents and an apocalyptic religious sect known as the Branch Davidians.

Ricks, 73, who earned his undergraduate and law degrees from Baylor University in Waco, has spent almost 50 years in law enforcement, first as an FBI special agent and later as the police chief in the Oklahoma City suburb of Edmond.

Before the deadly inferno that killed Branch Davidian leader David Koresh and 75 followers on April 19, 1993, Ricks stepped to the microphone for nearly three dozen news conferences with the national media.

Last year, the father of two and grandfather of five received the Salt & Light Award  presented by the Christian Business Men’s Connection of Oklahoma City. He’s an active member of Henderson Hills Baptist Church in Edmond, where he taught juniors and seniors in the high school ministry for more than 10 years.

As a reporter at the time for the Edmond Sun newspaper, I interviewed Ricks, then the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Oklahoma City office, in the wake of the siege.

In a new interview a quarter-century later, Ricks — now director of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation — was much more willing to talk about his own Southern Baptist faith as well as Koresh’s beliefs and the FBI’s handling of the tragedy.

Read the full story.

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