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Thursday 24 May 2018

Three charged over 2015 Texas biker shootings

Police arrested nearly 200 bikers following the shooting that left nine people dead and 20 injured.

The car park of Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas (Jerry Larson/AP)
The car park of Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas (Jerry Larson/AP)

By Emily Schmall, Associated Press

Three members of the Bandidos motorcycle club will face murder charges stemming from a 2015 shooting that involved police and members of another biker club outside a restaurant in Waco, Texas.

The indictments mark the first murder charges in the case, while more than 20 other bikers were re-indicted on new charges ranging from rioting to tampering with evidence.

Police arrested nearly 200 bikers following the shooting at a Twin Peaks restaurant that left nine people dead and 20 injured.

Investigators say the incident was sparked by rivalries between the Bandidos and Cossacks motorcycle clubs.

Waco police officers monitoring the gathering also fired on the bikers.

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Jeff Battey is among those facing charges (McLennan County Sheriff's Office/AP)

The murder charges were filed against Jeff Battey, a local sergeant-at-arms with the Bandidos, and two other club members: Ray Allen and Glenn Walker.

Battey, a former Marine, and Allen were seen “triangulated” over Matthew Smith, a Cossacks member who later died at the scene from gunshot wounds, according to Waco police incident reports.

Ballistics evidence also suggests Walker fired his weapon.

Law enforcement evidence also showed that police officers killed at least two bikers.

A grand jury cleared the officers of wrongdoing.

Surveillance footage showed numerous bikers running from the scene and ducking for cover after gunshots rang out.

Law enforcement officers recovered dozens of firearms, knives and other weapons from the restaurant and adjacent parking area.

All of the bikers arrested following the shooting were charged with engaging in organised criminal activity, with the underlying offences of homicide and aggravated assault.

But prosecutors have dropped 154 of those cases in the last four months, saying they wanted to focus on those who were “more culpable”.

Only one biker — Jake Carrizal, a train driver and the president of the Dallas chapter of the Bandidos — has been tried.

His trial ended in a hung jury and a mistrial last autumn, though he was among the bikers re-indicted on Wednesday.

Carrizal is now facing a new charge of rioting.

Press Association

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