The delivery driver who inadvertently supplied the Branch Davidian compound — and its leader, David Koresh — with high-powered weaponry nearly 25 years ago is now sharing his story publicly.
In 1993, the messianic figure and the cult he had formed in Waco, Texas, entered into a violent and lengthy standoff with federal law enforcement.
The seven-week stalemate ended in a violent gun battle and dozens of deaths, including children living on the compound. Four ATF agents were also killed, as was Koresh.
Larry Gilbreath was the UPS driver who delivered a large supply of military-grade firearms over a period of time prior to the deadly standoff. Just a few months before its 25th anniversary, he agreed to be interviewed for an upcoming installment of the CBS news magazine “48 Hours.”
In the special episode, “Secrets of Waco,” set to air Friday, Gilbreath explains how his access to the compound as a delivery driver provided details of the cult that few outside of its membership had observed.
He said he still struggles with the knowledge that the orders he delivered were ultimately used to perpetuate such an act of violence.
While Gilbreath knew at the time he was delivering firearms, he revealed that it was not until after the standoff that he learned the extent of the firepower he had been bringing to the compound.
“I’ve kept my story secret for the last 25 years,” he said, according to the U.K. Daily Mail. “I didn’t want to take this to my grave.”
In addition to powerful rifles and ammunition, he later found out that “even a grenade launcher” was among the packages he delivered. Koresh reportedly took a personal interest in making sure the packages he ordered arrived.
Roughly “75 percent of the time,” Gilbreath said the cult leader would come out to greet him and sign for the deliveries.
He acknowledged that he “thought it was a little strange that religious people would be ordering guns.”
As he continued to make the deliveries, he noticed the packages became noticeably heavier. There was one incident, though, that prompted him to alert authorities.
When he spotted an open box destined for the compound, Gilbreath said he noticed it was filled with hand grenades. That happened more than a year before the gun battle, he explained.
At that point, he said he contacted the local sheriff, who in turn notified the ATF. Gilbreath then became involved in the investigation that ultimately resulted in the 51-day standoff.
Gilbreath recalled one especially tense moment during the investigation, when Koresh seemed to acknowledge the fact that he was being investigated.
“And out of nowhere, David just looks at me and says, ‘Larry, I know they’re watching us,’” he said. “I went numb.”
While he acknowledges his role in the process that led to the deadly incident in April 1993, noting that he has “been blamed” for the standoff, he explained that it was the sheriff who first initiated the involvement of federal agents.
The wide-ranging look at the Branch Davidian compound will include a number of other interviews with individuals associated with the cult and airs on CBS Friday at 8 p.m. Eastern. (For more from the author of “UPS Driver Who Delivered Guns and Ammo to David Koresh Before Fatal Waco Standoff Breaks His Silence” please click HERE)