Texas police asked rival motorcycle gangs on Tuesday to put aside their differences after a weekend brawl at a Waco restaurant that left nine people dead and 18 injured, calling for a halt to the carnage and threats of revenge attacks.
“There has been enough tragedy and there has been enough bloodshed in Waco, Texas. We would appreciate there not being any more,” Police Sergeant Patrick Swanton told a news briefing.
He added that threats for reprisal against police from motorcycle gangs have “toned down” but are still a worry for law enforcement officials, who arrested 170 people following Sunday’s brawl at the Twin Peaks Sports Bar and Grill in the central Texas city.
Of the 18 injured, seven remain in the hospital and all are in stable condition. Few of those involved in the deadly brawl are from the Waco area, Swanton said.
The nine killed ranged in age from 27 to 65 and a preliminary autopsy report indicates they all died from gunshot wounds, according to records made available by the McLennan County Justice of the Peace.
Those arrested were being held on bail of $1 million each in separate parts of a county jail to prevent an outbreak of violence, county officials said.
They face organized crime charges relating to capital murder. Charges directly relating to the violence will likely come after an investigation of the bullet-riddled crime scene where gang member attacked each other with guns, knives, clubs, brass knuckles and chains.
All three were later apprehended and returned to custody, police said.
Those in custody are likely to stay there because the bail amount is beyond the means of Waco bail bond agencies, a local agent said.
“We do not write $1 million bonds. In fact, there is not any agency in Waco that will. In order for these folks to get out of jail on a lower bond, an attorney will have to file a writ with the court,” said Charlie Pickens of Pickens Bail Bonds.
RESERVATIONS FOR A BLOODBATH
A coalition of bikers rented out a patio of Twin Peaks, known for scantily clad waitresses serving mugs of beer, for a Sunday meeting that turned sour when a rival gang showed up, police said.
A dispute over a parking space or a gang member’s foot being run over may have sparked the brawl that ended with a gunfight between bikers and nearly two dozen police who had taken positions outside the restaurant in anticipation of violence.
Among the gangs involved in the shooting were the Bandidos, which the U.S. Justice Department says has between 2,000 to 2,500 members in the United States and 13 other countries. It is one of the biggest motorcycle gangs and a rival to the better-known Hells Angels.
The Bandidos have been battling with a rival gang, the Cossacks, for control in the state, which has been seen as Bandidos territory, an expert on outlaw motorcycle gangs said.
“The Bandidos… think they own Texas,” said police officer Steve Cook, who heads the Midwest Outlaw Motorcycle Gang Investigators Association.
“They say ‘This is our territory and this is it’ and that’s the way they leave it,” he said.