Texas shootout: nine killed in deadly biker bar brawl

Shopping centre carpark like 'war zone' as rival motorcycle gangs attack each other with guns, knives and chains


Nine people were killed and at least 100 arrested when a gunfight broke out between rival motorcycle gangs outside at busy shopping centre in Waco, Texas.

The pre-arranged meeting at the Twin Peaks Sports Bar and Grill, involving hundreds of bikers from several gangs, descended into violence after a row over a parking space. As the fighting spilled out of the restaurant bikers shot at police officers, who returned fire in a carpark outside the restaurant. At least 18 people were hospitalised for knife and gunshot wounds, all of the dead and injured were gang members.

"Fortunately, none of our officers, nor any of our innocent civilians, were injured in this melee here today," said police sergeant Patrick Swanton.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

The carpark looked like "a war zone," one witness told the local Waco Tribune-Herald. "There were maybe 30 guns being fired in the parking lot, maybe 100 rounds," she said.

Diners at the restaurant were forced to lock themselves in a freezer room for safety, before being escorted off the premises by armed police, the BBC reports.

Police believe at least five rival motorcycle gangs were involved in the shootout, with sources confirming that the Bandidos and Cossacks biker gangs were at the centre of the incident.

"In 34 years of law enforcement, this is the most violent crime scene I have ever been involved in," said Swanton. "These are very dangerous hostile biker gangs. A lot of innocent people could have been injured today."

Up to 200 gang members had gathered at the restaurant to discuss "turf and recruitment" matters, "two areas where the groups have often clashed", reports Associated Press. Police were aware of the meeting, and had several officers stationed in the area.

The fight began in the restaurant bathroom - reportedly over a parking space - and spilled out into the carpark, quickly escalating from a fistfight to a shootout. Police say expect to recover up to 100 weapons from the crime scene, including handguns, knives, chains and clubs.

The Twin Peaks restaurant has hosted biker events in the past and sergeant Swanton blamed restaurant owners for not cooperating with law enforcement agencies over safety concerns.

"We have attempted to work with the local management of Twin Peaks to no avail," said Swanton. "They have continued to allow these bikers to gather here, and this the culmination of what has occurred."

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.