America witnessed one of the worst firefights in its history when an ATF team went to serve a warrant at the Mount Carmel Center compound outside Waco, Texas, in 1993. The compound was being used by the Branch Davidians, and authorities had knowledge that their leader, David Koresh, was amassing firearms and breaking federal gun laws. However, the situation soon escalated into a firefight before the FBI laid siege to the building for 51 days.
Subsequently, on the last day of the siege, a fire engulfed the building leading to a complete massacre. The Netflix documentary ‘Waco: American Apocalypse’ intricately covers the events and showcases that although the ATF was supposed to carry out a surprise raid, KWTX News Reporter John McLemore and his team were tipped off in time to be there in person. In fact, they were the only ones who recorded footage of the raid. Well, let’s study the details surrounding the incident and find out where John is at present, shall we?
Who Is John McLemore?
At the time of the ATF raid, John McLemore was based in Waco, Texas, where he worked as an investigative reporter and sports anchor for KWTX-TV. John was a pretty sought-after journalist with a lot of experience under his belt, and reports state that he covered the trial of the serial killer Kenneth McDuff just days before the Waco raid. Hence, he later mentioned that he was looking forward to a quiet weekend at home when his cameraman, Dan Mulloney, called him on February 28, 1993, informing him about the ATF operation that was about to commence.
Immediately, John and Dan drove down to the Mount Carmel Center compound outside Waco while their colleague Jim Peeler followed in a different vehicle. It is said that Jim soon lost himself in the countryside and asked a mailman for directions to the compound. He reportedly even let slip that the ATF was planning a raid, not knowing that the mailman was one of the Branch Davidians. Hence, the members inside Mount Carmel Center were ready when the agents came calling, although John later claimed he was stunned by the number of agents surrounding the building.
Unfortunately, it is unclear who began firing first, but the situation soon escalated into a full-scale firefight. John had his cameraman focused entirely on the action for the entire raid while he occasionally interjected to explain what was happening. Besides, one of the ATF agents even asked John to go to his van and ask for medical help. Eventually, both sides called a ceasefire when an agent was severely injured. Once the smoke settled, people learned that 4 federal agents and 5 Branch Davidians had lost their lives in the fight. Subsequently, John even helped transport some of the wounded in their car and was able to get the entire footage out to the station safely.
Where is John McLemore Now?
In the days that followed, John became somewhat of a celebrity as the press hailed him as an authentic eyewitness. He went on to appear on several talk shows and was even nominated for an Emmy Award. However, pretty soon, some news channels began falsely accusing John of alerting the Branch Davidians about the raid. In fact, people held him responsible as an accomplice for the murder of the federal agents, and the TV reporter received numerous death threats, which put his life in danger. On top of that, John even lost his job, and no other TV station was willing to recruit him.
Eventually, finding no other way out, John filed a lawsuit against Houston Chronicle and the Dallas-based WFAA-Channel 8, claiming they were the ones who ruined his reputation. However, even this relief was short-lived, as in September 1998, the court gave its verdict against him. Additionally, even though the ATF initially praised him and his crew for helping in the gunfight, the show mentioned that they were later blamed for the raid’s failure.
In 1994, John McLemore left his job at KWTX-TV and began working as a Press Secretary for the U.S. Congressional Race Texas District 11. He then became the Director of Corporate Communications at Life Partners, Inc. in May 1997 before taking the position of Senior Advisor of Global Public Affairs and Crisis Communications at ConocoPhillips.
At present, John McLemore owns and operates his own company, McLemore P.R. Consulting L.L.C, which he set up in August 2014. Through his company, John provides strategic guidance to other organizations regarding public or governmental affairs, and he has built up quite a reputation in the field. Besides, even though John appears to be single as of the time of writing, he resides in Houston, Texas, and we wish him the best for the years to come.
Read More: Who Was Steve Schneider? How Did He Die?