News Reporter John McLemore Had His Life Upended by the Waco Raid
John McLemore was one of the central figures in the story of the ATF raid on the Branch Davidians in Waco, but where is the reporter now?
A new Netflix series has shed a renewed light on the 1993 raid on the Mount Carmel Center outside of Waco, Texas. The raid was conducted by the federal government against the Branch Davidians, who they knew to be hoarding firearms.
The story made national news at the time, and John McLemore of KWTX-TV was the only local reporter on the ground who witnessed and filmed the whole thing.
Where is John McLemore now?
John and his team were tipped off to the fact that the ATF would be conducting its raid, which resulted in extensive violence and loss of life, with enough warning to arrive at the scene. As a result, John's team filmed the entire raid, and he occasionally interjected with commentary on what they were experiencing. In the aftermath of the firefight, four federal agents and five Branch Davidians had died. John then transported some of the wounded to the hospital.
In the aftermath of the raid, John became something of a celebrity as one of only a few people who could speak to what happened during the raid. Eventually, though, reports emerged suggesting that John had warned the Branch Davidians in advance that the raid would be taking place. He was seen as an accomplice, and many viewed him as partially responsible for the death of the federal agents.
After that, he received numerous death threats and even lost his job. John has always denied the allegations and even sued several of the stations that reported that he had tipped off the Branch Davidians. Ultimately, though, John lost that lawsuit.
Because he couldn't be hired by another news outlet, John became a congressional press secretary and then eventually became the director of corporate communications at Life Partners, Inc.
He then took a role as senior advisor of global public affairs and crisis communications at ConocoPhillips. In 2014, John opened McLemore P.R. Consulting LLC, a consulting firm that provides guidance to organizations on interacting with the public and the government.
He currently lives in Houston, Texas, and appears to be single at least for the moment. Although his news reporting career may have ended after Waco, he certainly landed on his feet.
Thanks to the Netflix series, curiosity about Waco has peaked recently.
Thanks in large part to the Netflix series, there has been a spike in curiosity about the wide array of people who were in Waco during the raid, and where their lives have taken them in the years since. Part of the intrigue around the story comes from the ambiguity in what actually happened on the day when violence broke out.
A stand-off between the Branch Davidians and federal agents lasted for more than 50 days. The raid was designed to put an end to the conflict. It isn't clear which side fired shots first, but the resulting bloodshed was the kind of spectacle that's rarely captured in real-time. John's footage was the subject of morbid curiosity from a public who had already been following the raid for weeks.