WACO, Texas -- An FBI agent criticized Branch Davidian leader David Koresh yesterday for leaving a trail of broken promises in the effort to bring a peaceful end to the standoff at his cult's heavily armed compound.
"We are put off," said FBI special agent Bob Ricks. "We thought we were working toward a solution. Twice, he has made promises, and twice he has broken them."
Mr. Ricks, who chastised Mr. Koresh last week as irrational, said authorities are concerned that the self-proclaimed messiah might preparing to fulfill the group's apocalyptic view that its members would die in a violent confrontation with law men.
Officials of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms disputed yesterday a cult member's claim that ATF agents fired first in the shootout that precipitated the siege.
Four officers and an undetermined number of Branch Davidians were killed in the exchange of gunfire that began as ATF agents tried to serve a search warrant for alleged weapons violations.
After a brief federal court appearance here, Scott Peterson, an attorney for cult member Kathryn Schroeder, quoted his client as saying she saw ATF agents fire the first shots as she looked out a bedroom window.
Mrs. Schroeder, whose husband died in the gun battle, surrendered early in the siege and is being held in McLennan County Jail.
"We announced ourselves loud and clear. The door was shut in our face and we were met by gunfire," said Dan Conroy, deputy associate director of the ATF. "This is just a ploy to increase the tension."