A fight that broke out between rival biker gangs at a Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas on Sunday, left nine dead, 18 injured, and 170 in jail. Police initially claimed that as many as 1,000 weapons were recovered from the scene. However, they later admitted that 1,000 was an exaggerated estimate, and the actual number of weapons found was 318.
After stating that “up to 1,000 weapons” had been found on the scene, Waco Police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton issued a correction on the department’s Facebook page. He claimed that the original number he gave was a “best guess estimate from looking at the overall crime scene,” and that the actual number was “318 and still counting.”
[quote_box_center]Among the weapons found, Swanton reported 118 handguns, 1 Ak-47, 157 knives and 43 others, including clubs, brass knuckles and chains with padlocks attached to them, which he said were “intended and used as weapons.”[/quote_box_center]
Swanton claimed that the weapons found on the scene “appear to have been discarded as Officers arrived,” and that while some were found in “sacks of chips, stuffed between bags of flour, stuffed into the bench seating, hidden in shelves, thrown into trash cans, placed in the kitchen stoves, discarded on floors,” one individual went “so far as to attempt to flush a handgun down a commode.”
Swanton also reported that the one Ak-47 found on the scene was “found in a vehicle parked in the parking lot,” and was accompanied by body armor.
At a press conference on Monday, Swanton said that the fight broke out around noon on Sunday, when members of rival biker gangs allegedly got into an argument over a parking spot.
The argument reportedly escalated into an all-out brawl that was carried out in the bar area, and then continued outside of the restaurant. Swanton said there were reports of punching, kicking, assault with chains and other blunt objects, stabbing, and shooting.
Swanton referred to the incident as a “capital murder case,” due to the number of people killed in one episode. He also said that when the officers on the scene engaged in gunfire, they wounded and possibly killed several.
[quote_box_center]“There were multiple people on the scene firing weapons at each other,” Swanton said. “They then turned on our officers. Our officers returned gunfire, wounding and possibly killing several.”[/quote_box_center]
While the names of the nine individuals that were killed have yet to be released, McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara said that all nine of them were members of either the Bandidos or Cossacks gangs.
Swanton claimed that some of the motorcycle groups present, including the Cossacks, had reserved the outdoor bar area at Twin Peaks, when members of the Bandidos showed up uninvited.
In contrast to the police department’s official story, the family of one of the nine men killed, 65-year-old Jesus Delgado Rodriguez from New Braunfels, told the San Antonio Express-News that he was not involved in an outlaw motorcycle gang and did not lead a life of violence.
The Associated Press reported that not only did Rodriguez not have a criminal record in Texas, he was an active-duty Marine from 1969 to 1973, and he received several awards including a Purple Heart and a Navy commendation medal.
In the aftermath of Sunday’s shooting, 170 individuals were arrested, charged with engaging in organized criminal activity, and held on $1 million bonds. The AP noted that according to records kept by the Texas Department of Public Safety, four of the nine men killed and 117 of the 170 suspects have no previous criminal record in the state of Texas.
Swanton claimed that the Waco police suspected there would be trouble at the restaurant before Sunday, and that they had been monitoring the location for the last two months. He said that because of their suspicions, the department had 18 local police officers and four DPS troopers on the scene before the fight broke out.
In addition to monitoring the location, Swanton said that the Waco Police Department had tried to work with the management at the Twin Peaks franchise, but that it refused to cooperate.
“What happened today could have been avoided if we would have had management at a local establishment listen to their police department and assist us,” Swanton said. “They failed to do that, and this is the event that happened.”
The franchise initially had its license to sell alcohol suspended for seven days following the shooting. On Monday, the Twin Peaks corporate office released a statement announcing that they had revoked the franchise agreement with the owner of the Waco location.
Twin Peaks spokesman Rick Van Warner told WFAA that the restaurant in Waco was opened in August 2014, and that it will “not open again as a Twin Peaks restaurant.”