WACO -- Nine motorcycle gang members were killed and several others were injured after a shooting at Twin Peaks on Sunday. Police say 170 bikers were booked into the McLennan County Jail to be charged with Engaging in Organized Crime. That number has decreased from 192, originally reported by police.
Sgt. Patrick Swanton with the Waco Police Department confirmed the conflict began just after 12 p.m. with an argument in the bathroom of the restaurant, allegedly over a parking spot, which then escalated and moved into the parking lot. Police say multiple weapons were involved in the conflict, including brass knuckles, chains, knives, bats, clubs and firearms. About 100 were recovered at the crime scene.Eight people were killed on scene and one died later at the hospital. They were identified Tuesday as 31-year-old Richard Matthew Jordan, 65-year-old Jesus Delgado Rodriguez, 46-year-old Charles Wayne Russell, 44-year-old Daniel Raymond Boyett, 43-year-old Wayne Lee Campbell, 39-year-old Jacob Lee Rhyne, 47-year-old Richard Vencent Kirshner, Jr., 40-year-old Manuel Issac Rodriguez, and 27-year-old Matthew Mark Smith.
All nine fatalities were confirmed to be bikers. No police officers or innocent bystanders were injured, but one officer was transported from the scene for heat exhaustion.At least 18 people were sent to local hospitals with gunshot and stab wounds. Two of those people were transported to other hospitals due to the severity of their injuries.
As of Tuesday morning, seven people were still in the hospital.
"It is a pretty gruesome scene," Swanton said.He also stated that police officers had received threats after the incident. Just before 10 a.m. Monday he said the Waco Police Department has "credible intelligence" that bike gang leaders have given members "green lights" on law enforcement.
During a briefing Monday morning, Swanton said investigators were still collecting evidence. Hundreds of cars and motorcycles are still in the parking lot, many of them covered in bullet holes. All bodies have been recovered from the crime scene.
"In 34 years of law enforcement, this is the worst crime scene, the most violent crime scene that I have ever been involved in," Swanton said.
"This is one of the worst gun fights we've ever had in the city limits. They started shooting at our officers."
Police had been made aware of growing gang activity at Twin Peaks but did not receive cooperation from the management team. Sgt. Swanton stated thatthe event could have been avoided had the restaurant worked with Waco PD two months ago.
Twin Peaks Operating Partner, Jay Patel, released the following statement:
"We are horrified by the criminal, violent acts that occurred outside of our Waco restaurant today. We share in the community's trauma. Our priority is to provide a safe and enjoyable environment for our customers and employees, and we consider the police our partners in doing so. 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. We will continue to cooperate with the police as they investigate this terrible crime."
Swanton called the statement an "absolute fabrication." He also said that Waco police had to contact Twin Peaks' national office last week after getting no help from local management.
A spokesman for the Twin Peaks franchise in Dallas, Rick Van Warner, released a statement Sunday night as well.
"We were shocked by the shootings that took place in the parking lot of our franchised restaurant in Waco and are fully reviewing all the circumstances surrounding it. 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."
The Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission said it will close Twin Peaks for seven days while it conducts its own investigation.
Police have declined to release the names of the gangs involved, but at least five were present. Some of the gangs were fighting as allies.
Twin Peaks and Don Carlos were immediately placed on lockdown, and the remaining businesses in the Central Texas Marketplace were closed shortly after the incident.
The west side of the shopping center is expected to open on Monday. The shopping center from Cabela's to Best Buy remains closed.
Police ask that civilians continue to avoid the area near Twin Peaks because they believe more biker gangs are traveling to Waco.
Multiple agencies, including the Texas Department of Safety and Federal Bureau of Investigation, are on scene to help with the investigation. Swanton said several local law enforcement agency in Central Texas had come to help overnight, including off-duty officers who were at Twin Peaks and jumped in to help police when the incident took place.
"They without a doubt did a hell of a job," he said, stating that they probably saved lives.
Police will continue to provide updates throughout the day.
"I will be extremely transparent throughout this process. We will not hide anything from anybody," Swanton said.