'Waco: American Apocalypse,' a groundbreaking documentary series on Netflix, details a large gunfight between members of the Branch Davidians and the ATF while the latter attempted to execute a search warrant at a Mount Carmel Center ranch outside of Waco, Texas. Law enforcement officials kept an eye on the ranch for 51 days, urging residents to surrender.
On the last day of the siege, the location was engulfed in flames, causing more than 80 people to die. While the program explores the events through one-on-one interviews, it mentions Steve Schneider, who was David Koresh's right-hand man.
Steve Schneider, Who Was He?
Steve Schneider was brought up in a close-knit family that belonged to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. His parents were supportive of him and encouraged him to pursue his dreams. Thus, after his initial education, Steve went to England and attended the Newbold College of Higher Education in Bracknell.
Steve's time in England was halted due to alleged drunken behavior. Consequently, he returned to the United States and obtained a Ph.D. in comparative religion from the University of Hawaii. The couple encountered financial difficulties while looking for a job.
Steve decided to convert to the new faith, after learning about David Koresh, the leader of the Branch Davidians. Besides, like most of David's followers, Steve was confident that their leader would lead them to salvation.
Steve became David's right-hand man and was responsible for all communications with outside agencies as part of his tenure. However, sources said that even though Steve was a good speaker, he did not have the freedom to act independently. On the other hand, while Steve remained legally married to Judy, David claimed her as his wife and had even had a child with her.
What Was the Reason for Steve Schneider's Death?
When the ATF arrived at their door on February 28, 1993, they claimed that David was amassing firearms and breaking federal firearms regulations. The ranch soon became surrounded by policemen who started shooting into the property. Similarly, the people inside returned fire with automatic weapons.
Four federal agents and five Branch Davidians were killed in the line of fire when the failed raid forced the ATF to withdraw, the ranch was soon surrounded by law enforcement agencies as the FBI attempted to entice the men inside to surrender. Expert hostage negotiators were called in, and authorities managed to free nineteen children as well as a few adults, until the FBI used tear gas in a last-ditch effort to slap a surrender.
Steve Schneider was the primary person who communicated with the FBI and reported David's requests to the authorities. However, all negotiations fell down when Steve learned that tear gas had been authorized. The whole structure was destroyed when the Branch Davidians, including several children, went missing on April 19, 1993.
Although some believe Steve shot David before dying from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, law enforcement officials confirmed that both Steve Schneider and David passed away in the fire. However, readers should note that the official cause of death mentions that Steve died of carbon monoxide poisoning caused by an explosion or a gunshot.