WACO (May 20, 2015) Forty-two of the approximately 170 suspects in custody in connection with the deadly shootout between rival biker gangs and police Sunday at Waco’s Twin Peaks restaurant are from Central Texas and 17 are from Waco or a Waco suburb, according to information released Wednesday.
Authorities are hauling about 135 motorcycles from the scene of the shooting. (Photo by Austin McAfee)
That supports the early contention that most of the bikers involved in the brawl that left nine dead and 18 injured were not local.
One Suspect Freed On Bond
One of the members of a motorcycle gang arrested in connection with the gun battle Sunday outside of Waco’s Twin Peaks restaurant was in the process of posting $1 million bond Wednesday at the McLennan County Jail.
Jeff Battey, 50, was among the 170 bikers arrested after the shootout Sunday that left nine bikers dead and 18 injured.
All 170 were charged with engaging in organized crime and were ordered held in lieu of $1 million bonds.
Battey had to post 10 percent of that amount, or $100,000, in cash, in order to secure his release.
Hundreds Of Weapons Recovered
Meanwhile Wednesday, Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said investigators recovered about 300 weapons from the shooting scene including everything from pocket knives to assault-style knives to guns to chains to brass knuckles, to an AK-47 and body armor.
Earlier in the day, Swanton said about 1,000 weapons were recovered.
He said on-scene investigators were relaying the information to him.
"The crime scene officers specifically stopped at my request to count weapons and have now been able to determine that count and it is 318 and still counting. We do expect the numbers to continue to rise," he said late Wednesday afternoon.
Investigators found weapons hidden throughout the restaurant, evidently abandoned by bikers as they attempted to flee, Swanton said.
"They have been found in sacks of chips, stuffed between bags of flour, stuffed into the bench seating, hidden in shelves, thrown into trash cans, placed in the kitchen stoves, discarded on floors and even so far as to attempt to flush a handgun down a commode," he said.
As of late Wednesday afternoon, investigators had recovered 188 handguns, an AK-47 rifle and 157 knives, he said.
Swanton walked through the restaurant earlier Wednesday
“When you enter through the doors, it is just an eerie feeling knowing what occurred there, he said.
“There was blood everywhere, evidence in the bathroom.”
“It's a pretty traumatic looking scene,” he said.
"It's almost surreal.”
“There's blood splatter blood evidence everywhere there still food on the tables half eaten hamburgers half-drunk margaritas. It's the most surreal thing I've ever seen."
“There are still purses on the table from a small number of citizens.”
"We're talking unimaginable numbers of evidence that we're going to have to live from this crime scene,” he said.
"Blood still on parking lot is an environmental issue at this point,” he said.
Meanwhile Wednesday San Antonio officials confirmed that one of the men arrested in connection with the shootout is a retired San Antonio police detective.
Martin Lewis 62, worked for the department for more than 30 years before he retired in 2004.
He remains jailed in lieu of $1 million bond charged with engaging ni organized crime.
Autopsy Reports Released
Preliminary autopsy reports released Tuesday identify the nine bikers who died Sunday afternoon in a shootout with rival gang members and police at Waco’s Twin Peaks restaurant, and at least two of them have local ties.
The nine bikers, all of whom were members of either the Bandidos or the Cossacks, all died of gunshot wounds.
Jesus Delgado Rodriguez, 65, died of gunshot wounds of the head and trunk.
Jacob Lee Rhyne, 39, died of gunshot wounds to the neck.
Richard Vincent Kirshner, Jr., 47, died of gunshot wounds but the report did not specify where he was shot.
Richard Matthew Jordan, III, 31, died of gunshot wounds to the head.
Wayne Lee Campbell, 43, died of gunshot wounds to the head and trunk.
Daniel Raymond Boyett, 44, died of gunshot wounds to the head.
Matthew Mark Smith, 27, died of gunshot wounds to the trunk
Manuel Issac Rodriguez, 40, died of gunshot wounds but the report did not specify where he was shot.
And Charles Wayne Russell, 46, died of gunshot wounds to the chest.
Jordan and Boyett both lived in Waco at least at one time, according to online Texas driver’s license records.
Boyett’s most recent renewal listed an address in the Chalk Bluff area just outside of Waco.
Jordan’s most recent license renewal, however, showed a Pasadena address.
Online records show addresses in New Braunfels for Jesus Rodriguez, Ranger for Jacob Rhyne, Arlington for Wayne Campbell, Keller for Matthew Smith, Allen for Manuel Rodriguez and Tyler for Charles Russell.
No records were found for Richard Kirshner.
Eight of the dead bikers were members of the Cossacks and one was a Bandido, authorities confirmed.
About 50 weapons were recovered at the shooting scene including guns, knives and a chain with a padlock that could be used to beat someone, police said Monday.
Other weapons have been discovered in some off the vehicles towed from the shooting scene, police said.
Investigators, meanwhile, continued to process evidence for a third day Tuesday at the Waco Twin Peaks restaurant where a gun battle between rival biker gangs and police left nine dead and 18 injured.
Stores on the west side of the Central Texas Marketplace from Men’s Warehouse to Kohl’s were open again Tuesday, but those on the south side, from Cabella’s to Best Buy were still closed Tuesday.
Access to the south side of the complex was still restricted.
The shooting investigation will take weeks if not months, Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said during a news conference Tuesday morning.
He later said investigators hope to clear the crime scene by mid-morning Wednesday.
Crews continued to remove an estimated 135 motorcycles and at least 80 cars and pickup trucks from the restaurant’s parking lot Tuesday, a process that started Monday evening.
Police are escorting the flatbed trucks carrying the cycles and vehicles from the scene to an impound site, Swanton said.
Seven of the 18 bikers injured in the shootout remained in hospitals Tuesday, Swanton said.
All of them are in stable condition and most are improving he said.
He declined to release the names of the nine bikers who were killed, however, because investigators are having trouble locating family members to notify, he said.
Swanton discounted media reports that four of the nine bikers were killed by police, saying that will be impossible to determine until autopsies and ballistic tests have been completed.
“Is it possible? Yes. Is it a fact? No,” he said.
Most of the dead, the injured and the about 170 suspects arrested after the shooting are not from the Waco area, he said.
By mid-morning Tuesday, more than 160 suspects had been booked into the McLennan County Jail, according to online records.
The incident that triggered the violence evidently occurred in the parking lot Sunday as a coalition of several biker groups gathered to meet in the patio bar area of the restaurant, Swanton said.
Members of a biker group that wasn’t part of the coalition showed up and it appears that “someone had their foot run over” in the parking lot he said.
Investigators have identified crime scenes inside and outside of Twin Peaks including bathroom areas, the restaurant area and the patio bar area, he said.
They’ve found evidence of “some type of altercation inside,” he said, including blood.
“We will figure it out,” he said.
“We do know that we have crime scenes inside and outside and we know that assaults occurred inside and outside the establishment,” he said.
He confirmed that there have been “credible threats to law enforcement in and around our area,” but said those have toned down over the past 24 hours.
“We’re thankful for that,” he said.
“We are asking (the biker groups) to stand down, we are asking them to let us sort through our investigation and we will be honest with them as we have with you and will continue to be,” Swanton told reporters.
Patrol officers have arrested a few bikers in the area, he said, and report that they are seeing fewer bikers Tuesday.
The violent feud likely hasn’t ended, though, he said.
Is this over? Most likely not,” he said.
“We would like it to be. Would like some sort of truce,”
The 18 Waco officers and four Texas Department of Public Safety Officers involved in the incident remain on duty as Waco police, Texas Rangers and the DPS Criminal Investigation Division investigate, he said.
Charges Filed Against About 170
The approximately 170 suspects arrested after the shootout Sunday were all charged with engaging in organized crime and were ordered held in lieu of $1 million bonds.
Investigators are questioning them and are encountering varying degrees of cooperation, Swanton said.
One of the 170, Justin Nash Waddington, is a drainage maintenance supervisor for the City of Killeen, city spokeswoman Hillary Shine confirmed Tuesday.
She had no further comment.
McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara said Tuesday he plans to keep all 170 suspects in his jail for as long as he can.
There were 161 inmates charged in the shooting listed on the McLennan County Jail roster at 10 a.m. Tuesday and a few suspects remained to be booked, McNamara said.
"We've had to make sure (the inmates) are separated by gang," McNarama said.
So far they've caused no problem in the jail, he said.
McNamara said his staff is capable of handling the influx and there is ample room to keep them all until their court dates begin to be set.
Affidavits and arrest warrants totaled more than 500 pages, an official said.
At least some and technically all of those in custody could be charged with capital murder because of the number of victims, Waco Swanton said Monday.
All of those killed and injured were members of the Bandidos and Cossacks motorcycle groups, authorities said.
No officers or bystanders were hurt.
Restaurant Franchise Revoked
Meanwhile the Twin Peaks corporate office Monday revoked the franchise of the restaurant where the shooting occurred.
“We are in the people business and the safety of the employees and guests in our restaurants is priority one,” the company said.
“Unfortunately the management team of the franchised restaurant in Waco chose to ignore the warnings and advice from both the police and our company, and did not uphold the high security standards we have in place to ensure everyone is safe at our restaurants.
“We will not tolerate the actions of this relatively new franchisee and are revoking their franchise agreement immediately. Our sympathies continue to be with the families of those who died and are very thankful no employees, guests, police officers or bystanders were hurt or injured,” the statement said.
Trouble at Twin Peaks among rival bikers had been brewing for some time, District Attorney Abel Reyna told News 10 about two weeks ago.
Reyna said local police were on heightened alert in anticipation of trouble on Thursday nights, when Twin Peaks hosts a Biker Night.
Reyna said some weeks ago trouble erupted between two local motorcycle gangs and that spilled over into gangs from the Dallas-Fort Worth area showing up to support the local groups.
Jay Patel, Operating Partner for the Waco Twin Peaks, issued a statement Sunday evening that said the restaurant management and employees share in the community’s trauma.
"We are horrified by the criminal, violent acts that occurred outside of our Waco restaurant today.
“We share in the community's trauma.
“Our management team has had ongoing and positive communications with the police and we will continue to work with them as we all want to keep violent crime out of our businesses and community,” he said.
On Monday, however, Swanton said the restaurant’s owners were not cooperative with police.
“They have some answering not only to do to you, but to our community as well,” he told reporters.
Late Monday afternoon the restaurant’s operators issued another statement in which they said law enforcement officials did not ask the operator or the franchisor to cancel the patio reservation on Sunday.
The event Sunday afternoon was not a Bike Night, the statement said, but instead the result of a “regular patio reservation made by a female customer who has been to the restaurant previously.”
“Based on the information to date, we also believe that the violence began outside in the area of the parking lot, and not inside our restaurant or on our patio, as has been widely reported,” the statement said.
“We are disappointed that the franchisor, Twin Peaks, made a sudden decision to cancel our Waco franchise before all of the facts are learned. We will continue to assist the authorities in any way possible that will assist in their efforts to bring the wrongdoers to justice,” the statement said.
The statement said the restaurant has hosted seven Bike Nights since last fall “without altercations such as this.”
“We are in the process of gathering additional facts, and urge that people avoid rushing to judgment before those facts are fully known,” the statement said.
Security Tight At Crime Scene
Police were on alert for additional violence Monday and security was tight around the crime scene.
Snipers were positioned on the restaurant’s roof and on overpasses that overlook the crime scene to protect not only investigators, but also the media gathered to cover the shooting.
The danger Sunday at the restaurant was significant, Swanton said, but on Monday he described the scene as secure.
He confirmed, however, that death threats have targeted uniformed police officers.
The nine bodies of gang members who died in the shooting have been taken to various morgues for autopsy.
McLennan County Justice of the Peace Pete Peterson ordered the autopsies, but declined to identify them until their families have been notified.
They all were from Texas, he said.
Three of the dead were found in the parking lot just outside of the restaurant, four were found in front of the building and one had been dragged behind a neighboring restaurant, Swanton said.
All nine were members of two of the five gangs involved in the melee, he said.
Waco crime scene investigators assisted by officers from federal, state and county agencies including the FBI, the ATF and the Department of Public Safety, were meticulously diagramming the crime scene Monday, Swanton said.
Once that process is finished, Swanton said, about 100 motorcycles and many of the 50 to 75 private vehicles in the restaurant’s parking lot will be towed away as evidence.
Investigators say they expect to remain at the scene at least until dark Monday night, Swanton said.
Portions of the Central Texas Marketplace, meanwhile, remained closed on Monday as the investigation continued.
Stores on the west side of the complex from Men’s Warehouse to Kohl’s were open Monday morning, but those on the south side, from Cabella’s to Best Buy were ordered to remain closed.
Traffic into the shopping center off Interstate 35 and Loop 340 was still restricted Monday.
Restaurant’s Alcohol Sales Suspended
The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission Monday announced it is suspending alcohol sales at the restaurant for seven days because of the shooting.
State law allows the agency to suspend a business license to sell alcohol after a shooting, stabbing or murder on premises that’s likely to result in subsequent leadership.
“Any wrongdoing uncovered during the investigation could result in further action against the restaurant, including monetary fines, further suspension, or cancellation of its TABC license to sell alcohol,” the agency said in a press release Monday.
“Our investigators will continue to work with the Waco Police Department to collect statements from any party involved, especially the restaurant staff,” said Maj. Victor Kuykendoll, TABC District 2 Regional Commander.
“We will continue to investigate the operations of the restaurant to determine if they failed to properly manage the folks on the premises and enabled this event to take place.”
The Harker Heights Twin Peaks restaurant has the same owner as the Waco restaurant, the TABC confirmed Monday, but the license suspension will not affect the Harker Heights operation.
The restaurant will be allowed to resume normal operations after seven days, pending the results of the investigation, which could take several weeks to complete.
Once police clear the crime scene the restaurant could resume food sales, but Swanton said Monday he hopes the owners will allow for a cooling-off period and will keep the business closed for the immediate future.
DPS Director: Twin Peaks Gunfight Unprecedented
Texas Department of Public Safety 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.
McCraw says DPS is constantly monitoring biker gangs and that motorcycle gang violence dates back to at least the 1970s.
Officers “Did A Hell Of A Job”
Waco police anticipated possible violence Sunday based on the previous disturbances at the restaurant and on unspecified intelligence.
Eighteen uniformed Waco police officers including an assistant chief, sergeants and one rookie were standing by outside the restaurant Sunday and responded within a matter of seconds after the violence broke out between members of five rival gangs, Swanton said.
“They did a hell of job in response to a very deadly scene,” he said.
He declined to name the gangs, saying “we’re not going to give them publicity,” but they included the Bandidos, the Cossacks and the Scimitars.
The catalyst for the violence was a fight that broke out in a restaurant restroom and spilled into the outdoor party bar area, Swanton said.
Shots were fired inside the restaurant and bikers were shot, stabbed and beaten before the fight quickly moved outside to the parking lot, Swanton said.
As the officers responded, the bikers directed gunfire in their direction, police said.
“Our officers took fire and responded appropriately, returning fire,” he said.
The number of shots fired and who fired them won’t be released immediately pending completion of the investigation, he said.
“Those officers quickly gained control of a very violent scene and took numerous biker individuals into temporary custody,” he said.
They called for backup and officers from agencies throughout McLennan County responded, he said.
Officers from those agencies remained at the scene Monday, he said.
Off-duty officers who were shopping nearby also responded, even though they lacked protective gear, Swanton said.
Diners and some employees locked themselves in a freezer to escape the violence.
The scene at the Market Place between Don Carlos and Twin Peaks was absolute chaos, Swanton said earlier.
"It is one of the most violent scenes I've seen in my 34 years as a police officer in Waco," Swanton said.
Swanton said officers recovered more than 100 weapons from the scene and there were several vehicles that had bullet holes in them.
The 18 injured victims were taken by ambulance to Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest Medical Center, Providence Health Center and two were reportedly transferred to Scott & White Hospital in Temple because of the severity of their injuries.
Their names and information about their conditions weren’t available Monday.
Neither Hillcrest nor Providence would comment Monday on how many patients from the shooting they have or on security measures in place in the aftermath of the violence.
Scores of suspects were transported in vans and buses to the Waco Convention Center downtown, which was also under tight security.
The suspects were processed there before they were transferred to jail.
Officers also were also sent to the Flying J Truck Stop, at New Road and Interstate 35 because of reports a large number of bikers had been seen gathering there.
Customers At Nearby Restaurant Took Cover
A witness who was having lunch across the parking lot at Don Carlos said he and his family had just finished eating and walked into the parking lot when they heard several gunshots and saw wounded being taken from the fight scene.
"We crouched down in front of our pickup truck because that was the only cover we had," the man, who asked not to be identified, said.
He and his family were traveling to Salina, Kansas and decided to stop for lunch.
He said he saw several wounded men being treated.
He also said there were several police officers at the scene and ambulances were responding to the scene to aid those hit by gunfire.
Ambulances from Waco and a number of surrounding communities responded to the scene, Swanton said.
Area businesses, after learning of the shooting, sent water and food to officers at the scene, he said.
Baylor University police deployed additional officers as a precaution after the gun battle, but in an email said the campus was never in any danger.
“Baylor police have been monitoring and will continue to monitor the situation,” the campus-wide email said.
Waco Mayor Thanks Officers
Waco Mayor Malcolm Duncan, Jr., issued a statement Monday evening in which he thanked the law enforcement officers and first responders to “joined forces to control and minimize the tragic loss that occurred in our city.
“We are fortunate to have such well trained professionals who are prepared at a moment’s notice to step forward, risking their own life and safety, to protect the lives of others and to make a strong collective statement that we will not tolerate wrongful acts of violence in our community,” he said.
“I am thankful that innocent bystanders were not harmed in this incident and I want to assure all of our citizens that your safety is and has been our priority and we are confident that this rogue event will not disrupt or endanger our community,” he said
“Waco's location on I-35 has always been a strategic advantage but in this case it only facilitated the convening of a large group of people with criminal capability. We are fairly certain most of the criminal activity was perpetrated by non-residents. We want to also assure the tourists and other travelers that Waco is safe and secure and back to work,” he said.