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The Latest on Waco shooting: Police defend arrests

Waco police officers walk along the perimeter of Twin Peaks restaurant during an investigation Wednesday, May 20, 2015 in Waco, Texas. A deadly weekend shootout involving rival motorcycle gangs apparently began with a parking dispute and someone running over a gang member's foot, police said Tuesday. (Rod Aydelotte/Waco Tribune Herald, via AP)

7 p.m. (CDT)

Police are defending themselves from suggestions that innocent bystanders might have been swept up in the arrests of about 170 people after a biker shootout at a Texas restaurant left nine dead.

Waco police spokesman Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said Thursday that there were people at the Twin Peaks restaurant at the time of the Sunday shootout who weren’t arrested. In his words, “If you were innocent, or we thought you were innocent, you were one of those that did not get arrested.”

Swanton said there were “well over 200-plus” people involved in the Twin Peaks shootout and that “some of those individuals were intentionally released that day.”

Some bikers have complained that police acted too hastily in making arrests and scooped up riders who had nothing to do with the violence.

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6:30 p.m. (CDT)

Police are being less specific about gang affiliations of the nine people killed in a biker shootout outside a Texas restaurant.

Waco police spokesman Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said Thursday all those killed or injured on Sunday were members of five criminal motorcycle gangs at the restaurant for a biker meeting. A day earlier he told The Associated Press that all those killed were members of the two rival gangs at the center of the violence.

Family members of one of the men killed — 65-year-old Jesus Delgado Rodriguez — dispute Swanton’s claims. They say Rodriguez was not part of a gang and did not lead a life of violence.

An Associated Press review of court records and a database maintained by the Texas Department of Public Safety found no criminal history in Texas for Rodriguez.

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4:35 p.m. (CDT)

Records searched by The Associated Press show more than 115 of the 170 people arrested in the aftermath of a motorcycle gang shootout outside a Central Texas restaurant have not been convicted of a crime in Texas.

Waco police have said that all those arrested after the shooting belonged to criminal motorcycle gangs. Most of them were being held on $1 million bonds Thursday, charged with engaging in criminal enterprise. Nine people were killed in Sunday’s shootout.

Although dozens of those arrested do have criminal records, 117 did not have any convictions listed under their names and birthdates in a database maintained by the Texas Department of Public Safety. The database also shows five of the people killed had convictions in Texas.

DPS acknowledges its data may contain some errors and omissions.

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4 p.m. (CDT)

A Texas restaurant that was the scene of a motorcycle club conference that ended in gunfire is being sued by a restaurant next door.

A lawsuit was filed Thursday in Dallas. Attorneys for Don Carlos Mexican Restaurant allege the Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco was grossly negligent and reckless in hosting the gathering of armed motorcycle gang members on Sunday.

Don Carlos attorney Tony Buzbee says his client was forced to close and was designated as a crime scene despite having had no role in the event. He says “inviting armed rival gangs to a place where alcohol is served is not only unwise, it is reckless.”

The lawsuit seeks at least $1 million to compensate for lost profits and property damage.

The Dallas-based corporate parent of Twin Peaks didn’t return a message Thursday seeking comment on the lawsuit.

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3:30 p.m. (CDT)

The district attorney for the county where nine bikers were killed in a gunfight outside a Texas restaurant is defending the $1 million bond set for about 170 people charged in the incident.

McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna told The Associated Press on Thursday that he supported a local judge’s decision to set the bonds that high.

One person is known to have posted bond so far.

A confederation of motorcycle groups had gathered at a Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco Sunday when a dispute in the parking lot escalated into deadly violence.

Reyna mentioned the size and scope of the violence, what led up to the shooting and “the fact that a lot of these individuals weren’t even from our county.”

Reyna says he doesn’t know whether he will ask for outside prosecutors to help with the large number of cases.

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2:30 p.m. (CDT)

Military records show one of the nine bikers killed outside a Texas restaurant was a Purple Heart recipient who served in Vietnam.

Jesus Delgado Rodriguez of New Braunfels, Texas, was an active-duty Marine from 1969 to 1973. He received the Purple Heart, as well as a Navy commendation medal and several other awards. The Purple Heart is given to those wounded or killed in action.

Rodriguez’s family says he was not part of an outlaw biker gang, despite police claims that all nine bikers who died were members of criminal gangs.

An Associated Press review of court records and a database maintained by the Texas Department of Public Safety found no criminal history in Texas for Rodriguez.

A confederation of motorcycle groups had gathered at a Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco Sunday when a dispute in the parking lot escalated into deadly violence.

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1:30 p.m. (CDT)

Family members of a man killed in a biker shootout at a Texas restaurant say he was not part of an outlaw motorcycle gang.

That contradicts police claims that all nine bikers who died were members of criminal gangs.

The son of 65-year-old Jesus Delgado Rodriguez, of New Braunfels, told the San Antonio Express-News that his father did not lead a life of violence. An Associated Press review of court records and a database maintained by the Texas Department of Public Safety found no criminal history in Texas for Rodriguez.

Family members said Rodriguez had belonged to two now defunct motorcycle clubs but was not part of any club when he was shot and killed at Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco.

Waco police spokesman Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton told the AP on Wednesday that all those killed were members of the Bandidos or the Cossacks.

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