ATF agents visit Waco memorial to honor agents killed during raid at Branch Davidian compound 30 years ago
WACO, Texas (KWTX) - Active and retired ATF agents on Tuesday paid their respects for the agents who died 30 years ago during a botched raid at the Mt. Carmel compound of the Branch Davidian sect.
Four agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives – Conway LeBleu, Todd McKeehan, Robert Williams and Steven Willis – and six Branch Davidians, were shot and killed Feb. 28, 1993, during one of the largest law enforcement operations in the country at that time.
Fred Milanowski, of the ATF Houston Field Division, said remembering the fallen ATF agents is a commitment the agency plans to keep.
“We don’t forget the agents that we’ve lost or the agents that were hurt that day. This was a tragic day for our agency 30 years ago and 30 years ago we made a promise to never forget,” said Milanowski.
The ceremony included singing a few songs, laying a wreath and prayer.
Milanowski said both current agents and those who were at the raid came to pay respects.
“This allows all those veterans to get together once a year, at least, and lean on each other,” said Milanowski.
He said the agents a part of the raid were traumatized from seeing their peers either injured or killed.
“It’s not something that anyone ever wakes up in the morning and thinks it’s going to happen or wants to happen to be perfectly honest with you. For people that have lost very close friends, there’s some remorse. You know, ‘Why wasn’t it me? Could I have protected them,’ said Milanowski.
Milanowski said the event is not only important for the agents who died, but for the newer agents as well.
He said some of them weren’t yet born, so it’s vital to learn the history and keep honoring the lives lost.
“It’s important for the younger agents to take this on and carry this mantel forward. Because this is going to be an important day for the rest of eternity for ATF,” said Milanowski.
Milanowski said after the next couple of years, there will be no remaining agents who were at the raid because of their retirement.
Copyright 2023 KWTX. All rights reserved.