Texas

Waco Shooting Between Cossacks and Bandidos Gangs Leave 9 Dead, 18 Injured

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Rival motorcycle gangs shot up a restaurant in Waco, Texas. From a local TV station's report:

Sunday afternoon, Waco Police, assisted by Department of Public Safety troopers, police officers from several cities and deputies from the McLennan County Sheriff's Office were surrounding the Twin Peaks Restaurant, in the Central Texas Market Place after several people were reported shot during a rival motorcycle gang fight, Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said.

Police initially said three gangs were involved, but later said factions from at least five gangs took part in the melee.

Police and troopers were in the parking lot trying to secure the area and protect citizens when a fight broke out inside the restaurant and spilled into the parking lot.

Swanton said the fight quickly escalated from fists and feet to chains, clubs and knives, then to gunfire.

Gang members were shooting at each other and officers at the scene fired their weapons, as well, Swanton said.

Other patrons in Twin Peaks and some employees locked themselves in a freezer to escape the fight.

The scene at the Market Place between Don Carlos and Twin Peaks was absolute chaos, Swanton said.

"It is one of the most violent scene I've seen in my 34 years as a police officer in Waco," Swanton said.

Swanton said officers recovered more than 100 weapons from the scene and there were several vehicles that had bullet holes in them.

Swanton said no officers and no civilians were injured.

More here.

Swanton of the Waco police department told the Waco Tribune that the management of the restaurant was at least partly to blame:

"The management wanted them here," Swanton said of Twin Peaks officials. "Management knew that there were issues, and we were here, but they continued to let those groups of people into their business."

While members from five gangs have been implicated, the main confrontation was between the Bandidos, founded in 1966 by a Vietnam vet, and the Cossacks, founded in 1969.

According to the 2013 National Gang Threat Assessment, "outlaw motorcycle gangs" account for 2.5 percent of gang members nationwide but present a bigger threat to law enforcement efforts than that small percentage represents.

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