Authorities in Waco, Texas, are still trying to find out what exactly happened on Sunday during a gunfight between rival motorcycle gangs that left nine people dead and 18 injured.
NPR’s John Burnett reports that after the melee, police confiscated guns, knives, chains and clubs. He filed this report for our Newscast unit:
“The fight between rival bikers at the Twin Peaks Bar & Grill spilled from the bar into the parking lot, where the police were already in place, waiting for trouble.
“Sgt. Patrick Swanton said the gang members shot at each other, and at the assembled local and state police, who returned fire.
” ‘We don’t know at this point if our shot placement or if them being shot at by other bike gang members led to their demise,’ said Swanton. ‘We will figure that out as autopsies get handled and as we go thru this investigation.’
“Dozens of bikers are being held for questioning. The police spokesman described the incident as one of the most violent crime scenes he’d witnessed in 34 years as an officer.”
The Dallas Morning News reports that the rival gangs had gathered at the restaurant to work through issues about turf and recruitment.
The newspaper adds:
“The gangs involved Sunday are well-known organized criminal enterprises, some with national affiliations, [Swanton] said, that make money through drug dealings, extortion, robbery and violence.
“Swanton said police had been aware for several months that gang members were gathering, and at least 10 SWAT officers from Waco and the Texas Department of Public Safety were in marked cars outside the restaurant.
“There were no plainclothes officers in the restaurant. Swanton said that was partly because the officers felt they weren’t welcome inside and were concerned with legal issues.”
In total, the Waco Tribune reports, police believe there were five gangs represented at the restaurant.