Thursday, July 20, 2017

Incredible Donation of Waco Artifacts

The National Law Enforcement Museum is proud to announce the acquisition of three incredible objects worn by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents who participated in the raid on the Branch Davidian compound outside Waco, Texas, on February 28, 1993.

Radio and helmet worn by ASAC Gary Orchowski on February 28, 1993.
Collection of the National Law Enforcement Museum, 2017.8.1 & 2.
Special Agent Eric Evers donated his bullet proof vest, responsible for stopping three of five rounds that hit him during the firefight. Assistant Special Agent in Charge Gary Orchowski donated his helmet, which was hit with two rounds, and his radio, that was also badly damaged.

That day, ATF showed up at the Branch Davidian compound to serve a search warrant. They had learned that Branch Davidian cult leader, David Koresh, and his followers, were stockpiling illegal weapons. Koresh was also known to have taken many wives, including children.

By the end of the raid, six cult members and four ATF agents had been killed. After the raid, the FBI laid siege to the compound for 51 days. In the end, the compound went up in flames and more than 70 cult members died.

Front and inside front of vest worn by SA Eric Evers on February 28, 1993.
Collection of the National Law Enforcement Museum, 2017.9.1.
Many ATF agents were there on February 28, which ended up being the deadliest day in the agency’s history. The fallen agents were Steven D. Willis, Conway C. LeBleu, Todd W. McKeehan, and Robert J. Williams, all inscribed on the walls of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC. In an interview with the Houston Chronicle, Orchowski shared, “I’ve decided I’m never going to forget, and I owe it to the guys who were killed to tell their story.”

You can learn more about the SA Evers and ASAC Orchowski’s donations here.