Thursday 22 March 2018

Suspects fired most in biker clash

A dispute between two rival biker gangs erupted on May 17 outside the Twin Peaks restaurant
A dispute between two rival biker gangs erupted on May 17 outside the Twin Peaks restaurant

Officers involved in a deadly shooting outside a biker gathering in Texas had disabled the automatic setting on their rifles, and most of the dozens of shell casings found at the scene were from suspects' guns, police said.

Only three of the 16 officers outside the Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco fired their weapons after gunfire erupted following a dispute between two rival biker gangs on May 17, Waco police chief Brent Stroman said.

The chief said the officers, who had been posted outside in anticipation of a large biker meeting, fired 12 times after being shot at during the melee that left nine people dead and 18 injured.

"We did not fire indiscriminately into the crowd. Our officers were restrained," Mr Stroman said during a news conference.

Witnesses have said they thought they heard automatic weapons during the shooting. Investigators have not said who fired the fatal shots.

The shooting began after an apparent confrontation between the Bandidos, the predominant motorcycle club in Texas, and the Cossacks, according to investigators. About 175 bikers were arrested following the shooting, and hundreds of weapons - including 151 firearms - were recovered.

Mr Stroman said the three officers who fired their weapons shot a total of 12 bullets, although 44 shell casings have been found so far at the scene. Police spokesman Steve Anderson said 32 of the recovered casings came from suspects' weapons, and do not include casings from revolvers, from which casings must be manually ejected.

Other weapons recovered include knives, brass knuckles, tomahawks, bats, a machete and a chain. Some weapons were stashed between bags of flour in the restaurant's kitchen, while others were recovered with metal detectors, found buried under grass, police said.

Mr Stroman also defended investigators' decision to arrest about 175 bikers following the shooting and charge each with engaging in organised crime.

Press Association

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