Koresh awaiting sign from God, officials say Letters to FBI warn of natural disasters

April 13, 1993|By Fort Worth Star-Telegram

WACO, Texas -- David Koresh initially said that it was a word from God he was awaiting, but now he also apparently is awaiting a natural disaster to show God's displeasure with the way he is being treated, federal officials said yesterday.

Throughout two letters purportedly carrying God's signature that Mr. Koresh had sent to the FBI are warnings of disaster befalling Mr. Koresh's enemies.

Much of the first letter appeared aimed at scaring the FBI and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) into releasing Mr. Koresh and his followers, who have been surrounded by federal authorities since a bloody shootout Feb. 28.

According to the Washington Post, which obtained a copy, the first letter warned: "Do you want me to pull back the heavens and show you my anger?! Do not fear the fear of man -- fear Me, for I have you in my snare."

The first letter was addressed to "Friends" and signed "Yahweh Koresh." Yahweh is the Old Testament name for God. "I am your God and you will bow under me feet," it said.

FBI Special Agent Bob Ricks said: "The second letter was again written as if God is speaking through Koresh with continued threats that if we do not listen to Koresh, we will be devoured by fire or destroyed by other means."

The tone of the letters received by the FBI on Friday and Saturday has increased doubts that Mr. Koresh has any intention of peacefully surrendering at the conclusion of his cult's observance of its Passover celebration.

Recounting some of the contents of the first letter, Mr. Ricks said on Saturday that federal officials believe that the letter might have been the message from God that Mr. Koresh says he has been waiting for since March 2, when he reneged on a deal to surrender after a 58-minute taped message was aired on radio.

"However, according to Mr. [Steve] Schneider, they apparently are waiting for a more direct message from God," Mr. Ricks said yesterday. "[Mr. Koresh] is looking for certain natural disasters . . . certain cataclysmic events to take place, either fire, earthquake or other events of that nature."

An earthquake that struck South Texas last week caused excitement among the 96 people still remaining inside the compound, he said.

Cult members have remained barricaded inside the compound since Feb. 28 when agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms attempted to raid the compound to arrest Mr. Koresh and search for illegal weapons.

Mr. Ricks said yesterday that a razor wire barricade has been strung around the compound, covering 90 percent of its perimeter, to prevent anyone from entering or exiting.

In 15 conversations with Mr. Schneider during the weekend, Mr. Ricks said that Mr. Schneider confirmed the pregnancy of Aisha Gyarfus, who is due in May. "We had previously been advised that another female in the compound is also pregnant," Mr. Ricks said. "We do not have her name, but we do have our suspicions with regard to [who] is the father."

In a court appearance yesterday, Norman Washington Allison, 28, a British national, was arraigned on charges that he attempted to kill ATF agent Charles Meyer during a gun battle on the afternoon of Feb. 28. U.S. Magistrate Dennis Green ordered that Mr. Allison be held without bond at the McLennan County Jail. Mr. Allison has pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder, aiding and abetting an attempted murder, and to a weapons charge.

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