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May-18-2015 13:29printcomments

170 Outlaw Bikers in Texas Charged with Capital Murder

Bonds Set At $1 Million For Shooting Suspects

Waco bikers
Bikers are arrested by Waco Police.
Photo: KXAN

(SALEM, Ore.) - What started out as a huge gathering of bikers enjoying food and drink ended with nine people dead, 18 wounded, and 170 arrested in Waco, Texas on Sunday.

Police say at least 5 outlaw biker clubs were involved in a deadly shootout with each other and police in a restaurant parking lot.

It was no surprise that they would come together, many clubs were assembled for the Texas Region 1 Confederation of Clubs and Independents meeting, according to the United Clubs of Waco website.

Sgt Mike Swanton of the Waco Police Department said that the restaurant, Twin Peaks, where the killings took place, had been warned by police of possible violence. Swanton said issues had gone on for about two months with restaurant management. He took the time at the press conference to encourage businesses to work with police.

As the bikers filled the restaurant for their event, the SWAT team was situated in the parking lot, as well as other uniformed officers. “They could have cared less that we were there. It mattered not to them,” Swanton said regarding the bikers’ reaction to their presence.

When the shooting began, first on scene were uniformed Waco Police. “Those officer’s reactions to a potential deadly situation saved citizens’ lives,” said Swanton. “There were shots fired and it was all very fast. The officers were there in seconds.”

Apparently, it all began with a “disturbance” in the bathroom between bikers. It quickly escalated outdoor to the patio bar and many people got involved. There were shots fired inside the restaurant and out in the parking lot.

“Bikers then shot toward police officers who returned fire. Who shot who will be released as the investigation (comes together),” Swanton said.

“All the victims were in the immediate perimeter; there were 3 bodies in the parking lot, 4 in front of the restaurant and 1 victim had been moved to an area behind the restaurant.”

When the police cleared the area, “there were people shot, stabbed, and beat,” according to Swanton. In all, they recovered 100 weapons from those they arrested.

Police say that all of those killed and injured were bikers, and no officers or bystanders were hurt.

Some of the clubs in attendance, but not necessarily involved in the violence, included the Bandidos, the Cossacks, the Scimitars, the Leathernecks, Veterans, Kottonmouths, and Los Pirados. Photos and video from the scene shows members of these different clubs.

Law enforcement told the press that the Cossacks and the Bandidos were at the center of the deadly incident.

There are many biker clubs in the United States and around the world. None appreciate being regarded as gangs. Some biker clubs are considered "outlaw" because they are not sanctioned by or adhere to the rules of the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA), instead, they have their own rules. Being an outlaw club does not necessarily mean there is “outlaw” activity going on however.

In this case, trouble was apparently brewing long before this meeting and unfortunately was not avoided.

170 individuals have been arrested and are being booked and processed into the McLennan County Jail.

"Exile" is a non-fiction chronicling Janet Phelan's life.

They are each being charged with Engaging in Organized Crime and Capital Murder. The prospect of 170 separate trials is an enormous undertaking, “impossible from an administrative perspective,” according to a CNN law advisor.

Swanton says it is a capital murder case “because of the number of people killed in one episode.”

In Texas, Capital Murder (same as First Degree Murder) is punishable by the Death Penalty.

According to Texas law, to convict a defendant of capital murder, prosecutors must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  • The defendant intentionally and knowingly caused the death of another person;
  • The defendant intended to cause serious bodily injury and committed an act that was clearly dangerous to human life and this act caused the death of an individual;
  • or The defendant committed or attempted to commit a felony (other than manslaughter) and in performing that felony, committed an act that was clearly dangerous to human life and this act caused the death of an individual.

This afternoon, bonds were set At $1 million for each of the Twin Peaks shooting suspects.

As for the venue where all this happened, the Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission is implementing a Summary Suspension closing Twin Peaks Restaurant for at least 7 days.

“This is not a punitive action on TABC's part but done due to the ongoing danger it presents to our community. They are conducting a parallel investigation and further action may be forthcoming,” said Swanton.

Sources: Waco Police Department, Texas Law, CNN

SEE ALSO: American Motorcycle Culture: The One Percenters

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