Nine motorcycle gang members were killed and numerous other people were injured in a confrontation among three rival biker gangs – followed by a shootout with police – at a sports bar in Waco, Texas, police said Sunday.
Officers remained on the alert for possible “payback” attacks by the gangs involved, which police refused to name.
Waco police Sgt. Patrick Swanton said police had already been expecting trouble at Twin Peaks Sports Bar and Grill, in the busy Central Texas Market Place, so when the rumble began around 12:15 p.m. (1:15 p.m. ET), they were ready to move in.
Police had been already deployed to the scene, which Swanton described as a biker “recruiting event.”
“It progressed very rapidly from hands and feet as weapons to chains,” he said. “My understanding is a club was involved, and knives were involved. Gunfire broke out on the part of the criminal biker gangs.”
The violence spilled out of the restaurant and into the parking lot where, Swanton said, the bikers fired first at each other and then at the police.
“They started shooting at our officers and our officers returned fire, taking several of them down,” Swanton said.
Eight people were killed at the scene, and a ninth died at a hospital, Swanton said, adding 18 people were taken to hospitals with gunshot and knife wounds, some with both.
He said there were probably near 100 weapons strewn across the crime scene.
Swanton had trouble containing his anger at the restaurant’s management, saying the management not only knew biker gangs congregated at the bar but that it actively encouraged their business.
“We have attempted to work with the local management of Twin Peaks to get that cut back to no avail,” Swanton told reporters at a briefing Sunday afternoon. “They have been of no assistance. … Apparently, the management wanted them here.”
“Are we frustrated?” he asked.” Sure, because we feel that there was more that could have been by the management. Now we have nine individuals that are dead.”
Swanton said it was miraculous there were no injuries to bystanders.
“Let’s say, it’s Sunday — and someone was looking out for us,” he said. “So many rounds were fired by bad-guy weapons, it’s amazing no innocent civilians were injured.”
Other bikers were reported to be converging on Waco, Swanton said. Police would be ready for them, he said, adding that witnesses were being moved to secure locations.
Texas DPS chopper landing in Central Texas Marketplace parking lot. Still major police presence. pic.twitter.com/pzrAjkLoyr— Jane Lonsdale (@KCENJane) May 17, 2015
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