WACO, TX – At least nine people were killed and 18 others hospitalized Sunday when a shootout erupted between five rival biker gangs and police in Waco, Texas, a police spokesman said.
All the dead and wounded were believed to be biker gang members.
Officers traded gunfire with bikers after a brawl broke out, possibly wounding or killing some at Twin Peaks, a sports bar and restaurant known for its scantily clad waitresses. The bikers had purportedly gathered to recruit members.
Officials feared more bikers may try to head to Waco to seek revenge Sunday night, leading Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton to issue a warning.
“We are prepared to deal with those individuals if they come to Waco,” Swanton said in a televised news conference, adding that “criminal” biker gang members had already “felt the wrath of law enforcement in Waco.”
Local, state and federal investigators now face a vast and bloody crime scene both inside and outside the restaurant.
“In 34 years of law enforcement, this is the worst crime scene, the most violent crime scene I have ever been involved in,” Swanton said, describing a scene littered with “dead bodies, shell casings, knives, clubs” at the Central Texas MarketPlace where the Twin Peaks is located.
Hundreds of bikers from five different biker gangs had gathered at the scene before the shooting, and police in tactical gear had already gathered nearby for fear that there might be an incident at the restaurant, said Swanton, who laid blame for the massacre on the Twin Peaks’ management.
“We knew there would be trouble at this biker event,” but Twin Peaks’ management hosted the bikers anyway despite police warnings, Swanton said.
“What happened here today could have been avoided,” he said.
The massacre apparently began with a fight inside a bathroom, spread into the Twin Peaks restaurant and then spilled outside into the parking lot, Swanton said.
“Our officers were here in seconds,” said Swanton, who said the bikers then “turned on our officers,” who fired back, as diners lunched at a restaurant next door.