9 dead, 18 wounded as rival biker gangs clash at Texas bar

9 dead, 18 wounded as rival biker gangs clash at Texas bar

Nine outlaw rival biker-gang members were killed and 18 wounded in "one of the most gruesome" gunfights at a popular sports bar run by an Indian-origin man in the US state of Texas, attracting organised crime charges for nearly 200 people.

Eight bikers died at the scene of shooting at Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco around noon yesterday, while another died at a hospital later, police said.

All those who died in the shooting were members of Bandidos or Cossacks gangs, local media reported.

Parts of downtown Waco were locked down, and officials stopped and questioned motorcycle riders. Texas police said 192 people are to face organised crime charges in connection with the shooting.
Authorities had anticipated trouble and pre-positioned officers near the restaurant that draws large lunchtime crowd.

Waco police Sgt Patrick Swanton said at least five rival gangs gathered at the restaurant for a meeting that, he said, focused on turf and recruitment, two areas where the biker gangs have often clashed.

An initial probe suggested a dispute broke out in a bathroom, and soon escalated to include knives, clubs and chains. Eventually the brawl descended into a battle of firearms and spilled into the restaurant parking lot, he said.

There were 150 to 200 gang members inside the restaurant at the time. Bikers shot at each other and at officers, who returned the fire.

One witness described the scene as "a war zone."
"This is probably one of the most gruesome crime scenes I've ever seen in my 34 years of law enforcement," said Swanton. "I was amazed that we didn't have innocent civilians killed or injured."

Swanton said the bar was littered with dead bodies, bullet casings, knives, weapons, shattered glass and pools of blood.

Swanton said: "What happened here today could have been avoided."

He said the 18 people who were taken to hospitals with injuries were also gang members.
At least 100 people have been detained for questioning.

Jay Patel, operating partner for the restaurant, said he was "horrified by the criminal, violent acts."
"We are thankful no employees, guests or police were injured in this senseless violence outside the restaurant, and our sympathies are with the families of those killed," Corporate management at Twin Peaks said in a statement.

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