A biker with a “big yellow helmet” who appeared to be in charge pulled out a “long, ‘Dirty Harry’-type pistol” and fired the first shot in the May 2015 Twin Peaks biker brawl, a former Twin Peaks employee testified Tuesday.
While testimony thus far has not revealed who was wearing the “big yellow helmet,” previous video and photographic evidence presented by the state show Jacob Carrizal leading a band of Bandidos into Twin Peaks while riding a shiny blue motorcycle and wearing a yellow helmet.
Also, a CNN special on the one-year anniversary of the shootout featured an interview with Carrizal, who said he was punched by a Cossack seconds after he pulled up. A CNN announcer identifies Carrizal on video footage as the biker leading the group into Twin Peaks and wearing a yellow helmet.
It is unclear how many other bikers were wearing yellow helmets that day.
Prosecutors Amanda Dillon and Michael Jarrett declined to say after trial recessed Tuesday if they will prove that Carrizal was the one in the yellow helmet who fired the first shot that day.
Carrizal, 35, president of the Dallas Bandidos chapter, is on trial in Waco’s 54th State District Court, charged with directing the activities of a criminal street gang and two counts of engaging in organized criminal activity in the melee that left nine bikers dead and about 20 injured.
In 10th-day testimony, Shaniqua Corsey, a home health care provider who worked a second job at Twin Peaks, told the jury that that the man wearing the big yellow helmet, as she put it, was surrounded by Cossacks in the parking lot when an argument ensued.
Other witnesses said a punch was thrown before the shooting started. Corsey, who said she was told when she arrived at work that morning that there was going to be a “biker peace rally” at Twin Peaks that day, said she went out the back of the restaurant to check out the motorcycles.
She said she saw bikers “gathered around in a fight circle” and arguing. Suddenly, she said, the man in the yellow helmet pulled out a large handgun that she described as a “long, ‘Dirty Harry’-type pistol” and shot a biker standing in front of him.
Photos introduced by prosecutors show a dead biker lying near Carrizal’s overturned blue motorcycle at the epicenter of where the violence erupted.
Corsey said her attention was focused on the biker in the yellow helmet because he was arguing and appeared to be the one in charge.
“I just stood there awhile, kind of stupidly thinking, ‘Did that really just happen?’ Then I heard more shots and realized it was time to get out of there,” she said.
Corsey and other Twin Peaks employees ran to the back and took shelter in large, walk-in coolers. They stayed there until police came and escorted them out of the building.
Through her questioning, Carrizal’s attorney, Casie Gotro, is trying to show that the Cossacks were the aggressors that day, setting a trap for the Bandidos at Twin Peaks and ambushing them before Carrizal and his group had a chance to park their motorcycles.
In other testimony Tuesday, Waco police Officer Michael Bucher, a 13-year veteran and SWAT team member, said he and fellow SWAT team member Heath Jackson were riding together that day and were discussing what they would do if a fight broke out. During their discussion, Bucher saw a punch thrown from the area outside the patio, he said.
He said both officers got out with the intent to deploy tear gas when the first shot rang out, followed by a barrage that lasted several minutes.
Bucher, an Army veteran who served in Iraq and is familiar with combat scenes, took cover behind the door of his SUV while a round struck the top of the door Jackson was exiting. Jackson testified Monday that he shot four bikers who were pointing guns at the officers or other bikers.
Bucher said he could hear rounds flying over their heads as he scanned the crowd through the scope of his rifle. He said he saw a man with a gun and fired. He said he next saw a man swinging a large chain and shot him. Next, he shot a man with a gun in the center of the crowd, he said.
Later, he assisted other officers with rounding up weapons, securing the crime scene and interviewing bikers.
Bucher, Jackson and officer Andy O’Neal were cleared of wrongdoing by a McLennan County grand jury last year for their roles in the shooting. Witnesses have said their actions saved innocent lives that day.
Former Waco Police Chief Brent Stroman has said the three officers fired a total of 12 shots at Twin Peaks.
Waco police Special Crimes Unit Detective Melissa Thompson said she interviewed Carrizal later that night at the Waco Convention Center and took his photo. She said one photo appears to show a red mark on his forehead, and his Bandidos vest showed evidence that he had been in a scuffle.
Jarrett held up a long-sleeve shirt Carrizal wore that day that says “Bandidos” and “Dallas” on it. His vest featured patches that indicate he is second-generation Bandidos, a 1 percenter and chapter vice president. Carrizal has since been promoted to president of the Dallas chapter.
His father, Christopher Julian Carrizal, was wounded in the right shoulder at Twin Peaks and remains under indictment in the case.
Waco police crime scene technician Joyce Marek said she went to the hospital to take photos of bikers there and to take DNA samples and perform gunshot-residue tests.
While Dillon posted photos on the court’s overhead projector, Marek described injuries suffered by 15 bikers, including Richard Kirshner, who was dead in the photo, and Carrizal’s father.
In the days following the incident, Marek said she processed bikes and vehicles impounded by police.
She said on the dash of Carrizal’s father’s motorcycle was a sticker that said, “I do gang things.” She said she also found a pistol in the saddlebags of the bike.
Before recessing the jury Tuesday afternoon, Judge Matt Johnson told the panel that the trial likely would conclude by the middle of next week.
Prosecution testimony resumes Wednesday morning.