Nearly 200 People Arrested in Texas Biker Gang Battle
Police in Texas have arrested 192 people after a biker gang battle left 9 dead and 18 injured.
Posted by AJ+ on Monday, May 18, 2015
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- JustinSource - KWTX
WACO (May 18, 2015) About 170 suspects arrested after a shootout between rival biker gangs and police Sunday at Waco’s Twin Peaks restaurant that left nine dead and 18 injured were ordered held in lieu of $1 million bonds Monday while investigators continued the painstaking process of gathering evidence at the crime scene.
By early afternoon about a third of the suspects had been booked into the McLennan County Jail.
All 170 will be processed into the jail, Sheriff Parnell McNamara said Monday, although some may later be transferred to other facilities.
Affidavits and arrest warrants totaled more than 500 pages, an official said.
At least some and technically all of those in custody could be charged with capital murder because of the number of victims, Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said.
All of those killed and injured were bikers, police say
No officers or bystanders were hurt.
Restaurant Franchise Revoked
Meanwhile the Twin Peaks corporate office Monday revoked the franchise of the restaurant where the shooting occurred.
“We are in the people business and the safety of the employees and guests in our restaurants is priority one,” the company said.
“Unfortunately the management team of the franchised restaurant in Waco chose to ignore the warnings and advice from both the police and our company, and did not uphold the high security standards we have in place to ensure everyone is safe at our restaurants.
“We will not tolerate the actions of this relatively new franchisee and are revoking their franchise agreement immediately. Our sympathies continue to be with the families of those who died and are very thankful no employees, guests, police officers or bystanders were hurt or injured,” the statement said.
Trouble at Twin Peaks among rival bikers had been brewing for some time, District Attorney Abel Reyna told News 10 about two weeks ago.
Reyna said local police were on heightened alert in anticipation of trouble on Thursday nights, when Twin Peaks hosts a Biker Night.
Reyna said some weeks ago trouble erupted between two local motorcycle gangs and that spilled over into gangs from the Dallas-Fort Worth area showing up to support the local groups.
Jay Patel, Operating Partner for the Waco Twin Peaks, issued a statement Sunday evening that said the restaurant management and employees share in the community’s trauma.
"We are horrified by the criminal, violent acts that occurred outside of our Waco restaurant today.
“We share in the community's trauma.
“Our management team has had ongoing and positive communications with the police and we will continue to work with them as we all want to keep violent crime out of our businesses and community,” he said.
On Monday, however, Swanton said the restaurant’s owners were not cooperative with police.
“They have some answering not only to do to you, but to our community as well,” he told reporters.
Security Tight At Crime Scene
Police were on alert for additional violence Monday and security was tight around the crime scene.
Snipers were positioned on the restaurant’s roof and on overpasses that overlook the crime scene to protect not only investigators, but also the media gathered to cover the shooting.
The danger Sunday at the restaurant was significant, Swanton said, but on Monday he described the scene as secure.
He confirmed, however, that death threats have targeted uniformed police officers.
The nine bodies of gang members who died in the shooting have been taken to various morgues for autopsy.
McLennan County Justice of the Peace Pete Peterson ordered the autopsies, but declined to identify them until their families have been notified.
They all were from Texas, he said.
Three of the dead were found in the parking lot just outside of the restaurant, four were found in front of the building and one had been dragged behind a neighboring restaurant, Swanton said.
Waco crime scene investigators assisted by officers from federal, state and county agencies including the FBI, the ATF and the Department of Public Safety, were meticulously diagramming the crime scene Monday, Swanton said.
Once that process is finished, Swanton said, about 100 motorcycles and many of the 50 to 75 private vehicles in the restaurant’s parking lot will be towed away as evidence.
Investigators say they expect to remain at the scene at least until dark Monday night, Swanton said.
Portions of the Central Texas Marketplace, meanwhile, remained closed on Monday as the investigation continued.
Stores on the west side of the complex from Men’s Warehouse to Kohl’s were open Monday morning, but those on the south side, from Cabella’s to Best Buy were ordered to remain closed.
Traffic into the shopping center off Interstate 35 and Loop 340 was still restricted Monday.
Restaurant’s Alcohol Sales Suspended
The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission Monday announced it is suspending alcohol sales at the restaurant for seven days because of the shooting.
State law allows the agency to suspend a business license to sell alcohol after a shooting, stabbing or murder on premises that’s likely to result in subsequent leadership.
“Any wrongdoing uncovered during the investigation could result in further action against the restaurant, including monetary fines, further suspension, or cancellation of its TABC license to sell alcohol,” the agency said in a press release Monday.
“Our investigators will continue to work with the Waco Police Department to collect statements from any party involved, especially the restaurant staff,” said Maj. Victor Kuykendoll, TABC District 2 Regional Commander.
“We will continue to investigate the operations of the restaurant to determine if they failed to properly manage the folks on the premises and enabled this event to take place.”
The restaurant will be allowed to resume normal operations after seven days, pending the results of the investigation, which could take several weeks to complete.
Once police clear the crime scene the restaurant could resume food sales, but Swanton said Monday he hopes the owners will allow for a cooling-off period and will keep the business closed for the immediate future.
DPS Director: Twin Peaks Gunfight Unprecedented
Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw, a former FBI agent, said Monday that the shootout Sunday was the first time "we've seen this type of violence in broad daylight."
McCraw's agency sent Texas Rangers to process the crime scene and special agents who target motorcycle gangs.
McCraw says DPS is constantly monitoring biker gangs and that motorcycle gang violence dates back to at least the 1970s.
Officers “Did A Hell Of A Job”
Waco police anticipated possible violence Sunday based on the previous disturbances at the restaurant and on unspecified intelligence.
Eighteen uniformed Waco police officers including an assistant chief, sergeants and one rookie were standing by outside the restaurant Sunday and responded within a matter of seconds after the violence broke out between members of five rival gangs, Swanton said.
“They did a hell of job in response to a very deadly scene,” he said.
He declined to name the gangs, saying “we’re not going to give them publicity,” but they included the Bandidos, the Cossacks and the Scimitars.
The catalyst for the violence was a fight that broke out in a restaurant restroom and spilled into the outdoor party bar area, Swanton said.
Shots were fired inside the restaurant and bikers were shot, stabbed and beaten before the fight quickly moved outside to the parking lot, Swanton said.
As the officers responded, the bikers directed gunfire in their direction, police said.
“Our officers took fire and responded appropriately, returning fire,” he said.
The number of shots fired and who fired them won’t be released immediately pending completion of the investigation, he said.
“Those officers quickly gained control of a very violent scene and took numerous biker individuals into temporary custody,” he said.
They called for backup and officers from agencies throughout McLennan County responded, he said.
Officers from those agencies remained at the scene Monday, he said.
Off-duty officers who were shopping nearby also responded, even though they lacked protective gear, Swanton said.
Diners and some employees locked themselves in a freezer to escape the violence.
The scene at the Market Place between Don Carlos and Twin Peaks was absolute chaos, Swanton said earlier.
"It is one of the most violent scenes I've seen in my 34 years as a police officer in Waco," Swanton said.
Swanton said officers recovered more than 100 weapons from the scene and there were several vehicles that had bullet holes in them.
The 18 injured victims were taken by ambulance to Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest Medical Center, Providence Health Center and two were reportedly transferred to Scott & White Hospital in Temple because of the severity of their injuries.
Their names and information about their conditions weren’t available Monday.
Scores of suspects were transported in vans and buses to the Waco Convention Center downtown, which was also under tight security.
The suspects were processed there before they were transferred to jail.
Officers also were also sent to the Flying J Truck Stop, at New Road and Interstate 35 because of reports a large number of bikers had been seen gathering there.
Customers At Nearby Restaurant Took Cover
A witness who was having lunch across the parking lot at Don Carlos said he and his family had just finished eating and walked into the parking lot when they heard several gunshots and saw wounded being taken from the fight scene.
"We crouched down in front of our pickup truck because that was the only cover we had," the man, who asked not to be identified, said.
He and his family were traveling to Salina, Kansas and decided to stop for lunch.
He said he saw several wounded men being treated.
He also said there were several police officers at the scene and ambulances were responding to the scene to aid those hit by gunfire.
Ambulances from Waco and a number of surrounding communities responded to the scene, Swanton said.
Area businesses, after learning of the shooting, sent water and food to officers at the scene, he said.
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