U.S. Department of Justice
Report to the Deputy Attorney General on the Events at Waco, Texas
February 28 to April 19, 1993
XII. The Events of April 19, 1993
B. Preparations to Implement the Plan
C. Initial Implementation of the Tear Gas Plan
We are in the process of placing tear gas into the building. This is not an assault. We are not entering the building. This is not an assault. Do not fire your weapons. If you fire, fire will be returned. Do not shoot. This is not an assault. The gas you smell is a non-lethal tear gas. This gas will temporarily render the building uninhabitable. Exit the compound now and follow instructions.
You are not to have anyone in the tower. The tower is off limits. No one is to be in the tower. Anyone observed to be in the tower will be considered to be an act of aggression and will be dealt with accordingly.
If you come out now, you will not be harmed. Follow all instructions. Come out with your hands up. Carry nothing. Come out of the building and walk up the driveway toward the Double-E Ranch Road. Walk toward the large Red Cross flag.
Follow all instructions of the FBI agents in the Bradleys. Follow all instructions.
You are under arrest. This standoff is over.
We do not want anyone hurt. Follow all instructions. This is not an assault. Do not fire any weapons. We do not want anyone hurt.
Gas will continue to be delivered until everyone is out of the building.
D. The Gassing Escalates
E. The Fire
"[At 12:10 p.m.] he was able to identify and observe [a] male who was behind a piano inside the front door of the compound. This individual was wearing a dark mask and was carrying a long gun. Seconds after noticing this individual he noticed the man was moving back and forth behind the piano and the individual then assumed a kneeling position. [The HRT agent] noticed the man's hands moving and immediately after that [he] noticed that a fire started in that position. The man immediately departed the area of the piano. At the same time [the HRT agent] noticed a fire start on the red or right side of the building."
"Craddock advised that when the Bradley came in through the front entrance, they started moving fuel. Craddock believes that the compound had a total of approximately one dozen, one gallon containers of lantern fuel and that they had been located in the lobby area. He said he saw a lot of people grabbing fuel containers and moving them to other areas. Craddock believes that possibly three or four of these containers had been put next to the window that had already been knocked out by the Bradley on the southern side of1the chapel area. Craddock said he had heard someone talking about shifting the fuel from the hallway near the chapel to the (northern?) side window of the chapel. . . . He said he had heard someone complain about fuel being spilled inside.
Craddock indicated that he had heard shouts about starting the fire.
Craddock said that he did not believe the fire in the chapel was the first fire because before the fire in the chapel had begun, he had seen smoke outside. Craddock also said that he had heard someone say, 'Light the fire,' and that he had also heard someone else say, 'Don't light the fire.'"
Craddock said that on the morning of 4-19-93 Thibodeau came to his room and told him to put his gas mask on and get ready. He said that he went upstairs and was given a hand grenade by Howell/Yoresh and asked if he knew how to use it. He said that he had his AR 15, the vest with the eight round magazines, the Glock with three magazines and the hand grenade.
When the armored vehicles drove through the front doors, [Craddock] and others moved some cans of Coleman fuel so that the vehicle would not run over them. He said he went into the chapel area with several other people. He heard the word passed to "start the fires." He said that someone said "make sure." He said that word was then passed to not start the fires. . . . [After the fire started,] Craddock left his vest and his AR 15 in the chapel, climbed out a window and made his way to the cinder block building below the water tower. He said that as he left the building, he heard gunfire from inside the compound.
Craddock said that if there was a suicide pact, he knew nothing about it. He said that he knew nothing about a plan to burn the building until he heard someone pass the word to start the fire.
- Some observers, including FBI employees who were not privy to the operations plan, have questioned whether it was proper for the FBI to escalate the operation once the Davidians opened fire, given that the HRT agents were not threatened by the gunfire while they were inside the CEVs and Bradleys. First, the FBI had the Attorney General's prior approval to escalate the operation if the Davidians engaged in hostile conduct. Second, the HRT agents were not completely immune from the hostile fire, as the possibility existed that a round could penetrate an opening in an armored vehicle and strike one of the occupants. Third, it must be remembered that the FBI exercised remarkable restraint, as it did not fire a single shot during the entire 51 days of the standoff, including the last day.