Waco Siege Survivor Still Thinks Cult Leader David Koresh Is the Messiah

A survivor of the Waco siege has broken his silence—and revealed that he still thinks cult leader David Koresh is the son of God.

In 1993, members of the apocalyptic Branch Davidian cult, led by Koresh, and U.S. police and federal officials confronted each other in a two-month standoff at the cult's Waco, Texas, compound.

When officials attempted to storm the compound, cult members allegedly torched the building, and 76 people—20 of them children—died in the resulting inferno.

"Sometimes I do feel guilty that I'm still alive," survivor Graeme Craddock told Australia's 60 Minutes program. "But I'm glad I'm alive because if I wasn't here doing this, nobody would be able to tell you what I can tell you."

David_koresh
Cult leader David Koresh in a 1987 mugshot McLennan County Sheriff's Office

Koresh prophesied a final battle with the government during which he would be killed, and resurrected as Christ—a Second Coming.

In preparation for the final battle, Koresh's supporters began illegally stockpiling weapons, attracting the attention of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

When federal agents stormed the compound on February 28, 1993, they were met with gunfire from cult members, with four government agents and six Branch Davidians killed in the gun battle.

Craddock, who traveled from Australia to join the Branch Davidians, said that he still believes the siege was ordered by God.

"We were expecting to get killed at any moment," Craddock said of the 51-day standoff.

Koresh advocated for polygamy and had 19 wives—the youngest a 12-year-old girl. He fathered a dozen children.

The FBI alleges that Koresh used his position to abuse multiple children.

Craddock defended Koresh, comparing him to the biblical figure of King David, who had 700 wives.

"Whatever he did was according to what God had told him to do," he said.

On April 19, 1993, federal officials decided to end the siege, sending tanks in to smash the walls of the compound and pump tear gas in to flush out the cult members, with the operation broadcast live on news networks.

Craddock says he witnessed the compound being torched.

"I looked over to the side and there was someone with a fuel container, and they were spilling fuel on the floor of the chapel," he said. "I then hear someone call out from upstairs again. They said, 'Light the fire.'"

He hid in a water tower, and was one of only nine Branch Davidians to survive the fire that engulfed the compound. Koresh was found dead with a gunshot wound to the head.

After serving 13 years in a Louisiana prison for use of a firearm during the siege, Craddock was deported to Australia in 2006.

He told the network he remains convinced Koresh is the Messiah and will return as the Second Coming.

"Look at all the religions in the world," Craddock said. "If God spoke to everyone, we'd all be teaching and believing the same thing."

"But the fact is, it's obvious God doesn't talk to all of them, at the most, only one—David Koresh."

Waco Siege Survivor Still Thinks Cult Leader David Koresh Is the Messiah | U.S.