A gathering of members from several rival motorcycle gangs outside a Twin Peaks Restaurant in Waco, Texas, this weekend turned deadly as gunfire broke out and left nine dead and 18 others injured. Police said on Monday that 192 people will be charged in the shootout.
The fight, which began without weapons, spilled into the shopping plaza where the restaurant was located and escalated to include firearms and other weaponry. At least five motorcycle gangs were involved in the fight.
“There were so many rounds fired from bad-guy weapons here, it is amazing that innocent civilians were not injured here,” Sergeant Patrick Swanton, a Waco Police Department spokesman, said at a news conference. “In 34 years of law enforcement, this is the worst crime scene — the most violent crime scene — that I have ever been involved in. There are dead people still there. There is blood everywhere.”
Twin Peaks Restaurant, a national chain that opened its Waco location last year, advertises a “Bike Night” on Thursdays, with “beers, bites and bikes at the hottest place in town!” Although the shooting took place outside the restaurant, a spokesman for the chain acknowledged that the promotion led to the meeting of several rival gangs — a volatile situation in itself that a law enforcement official described as enough for conflict.
“If any of those allegations are true that there was ample warning to potentially prevent something of this nature, then there is no way we would allow someone to continue operating under our own brand,” a Twin Peaks representative told The New York Times.
Sergeant Swanton, however, described the situation as the result of consistent inaction from Twin Peaks. “We have attempted to work with the local management of Twin Peaks to no avail,” Sergeant Swanton said. “They have continued to allow these bikers to gather here, and this is the culmination of what has occurred.”
The restaurant will be closed for at least a week as part of an investigation by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.