The Latest on Waco shooting: Warning on biker gang violence

May 18, 2015, 4:55 PM

6 p.m. (CDT)

Texas authorities issued a bulletin to law enforcement agencies earlier this month warning of increasing violence between two motorcycle gangs.

The May 1 bulletin obtained by Dallas television station WFAA (http://bit.ly/1HqTbze ) says there had been skirmishes and talk of war between the Bandidos and Cossacks for months.

Nine gang members were killed Sunday when a melee broke out at a Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco.

The bulletin was issued by the Texas Joint Information Center run by the Texas Department of Public Safety. It said the conflict might stem from Cossacks refusing to pay Bandidos dues for operating in Texas and for wearing the Texas patch on their vests without the Bandidos’ approval.

Department of Texas spokesman Tom Vinger would not confirm or deny the authenticity of the bulletin, citing agency policy.

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4:30 p.m. (CDT)

A restaurant shootout among rival biker gangs in Waco has become a last-ditch rallying cry for opponents of legalizing openly carried handguns in Texas.

The shootout that left nine people dead and 18 wounded happened with only two weeks remaining for the Texas Legislature.

Police chiefs and opponents invoked the chaos in Waco as they made a final protest to a state Senate committee Monday. After an hour of testimony, the committee advanced the legislation to the full Senate.

Austin Assistant Police Chief Troy Gay said “open carry would or could have provided more confusion” in Waco.

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott is all but certain to soon sign the bill into law. He said concerns that open carry may have exacerbated Sunday’s shootout were off the mark.

Texas allows concealed carry but is one of only six states that don’t allow some form of open carry.

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12:40 p.m. (CDT)

Twin Peaks has revoked the franchise rights for a restaurant in Waco, Texas, that was the scene of a shootout involving rival motorcycle gangs that left nine bikers dead and 18 injured.

Company spokesman Rick Van Warner confirmed Monday that the Waco venue’s franchise agreement will be terminated.

The restaurant only opened last August and Waco police say it has since been the scene of several biker gang gatherings. Police say restaurant managers did not cooperate when authorities expressed concern about those gatherings.

Van Warner said in a statement that the management team chose to ignore warnings and advice from the company, and did not establish the “high security standards” that the company requires.

About 170 gang members were arrested in the aftermath of Sunday’s shooting.

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12:05 p.m. (CDT)

About 170 motorcycle gang members charged with engaging in organized crime are each being held on a $1 million bond in the wake of a deadly shootout in Texas, and authorities say capital murder charges are expected.

McLennan County Justice of the Peace W.H. Peterson set the bond Monday for each suspect and described the amount as “appropriate” given the level of violence that occurred a day earlier at a Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco.

Peterson also performed inquests on the nine dead bikers but declined to identify them pending notification of family. Peterson says all nine were from Texas.

Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton says while capital murder charges are likely, it’s too early to determine how many motorcycle gang members will face the charge.

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10:55 a.m. (CDT)

The head of the Texas Department of Public Safety says the violence that unfolded in Waco when rival motorcycle gangs opened fire on each other in a restaurant parking lot is unprecedented.

DPS Director Steve McCraw, a former FBI agent, said Monday that the shootout Sunday was the first time “we’ve seen this type of violence in broad daylight.”

McCraw’s agency sent Texas Rangers to process the crime scene and special agents who target motorcycle gangs.

He wouldn’t reveal details about what prompted the melee that killed nine bikers. Waco police say a dispute that began in a Twin Peaks restaurant bathroom spilled into the parking lot.

McCraw says DPS is constantly monitoring biker gangs and that motorcycle gang violence dates back to at least the 1970s.

___

7:45 a.m. (CDT)

About 170 people have been arrested and a restaurant has been closed after a shootout among rival motorcycle gangs left nine bikers dead.

Waco police on Monday announced the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission closed Twin Peaks for a week amid safety concerns.

Police say the deadly gunfire broke out Sunday following a dispute in a bathroom that moved into the parking lot. Police say 18 bikers were wounded.

Police initially said 192 people were being booked on charges of engaging in organized crime, but revised that number downward Monday.

Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton says law enforcement will continue to guard the town after receiving threats overnight from various biker groups. The Texas commission, responsible for alcohol regulations and compliance, then closed Twin Peaks for seven days.

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The Latest on Waco shooting: Warning on biker gang violence