Jacob Carrizal wiped away tears Tuesday while telling jurors about being surrounded by Cossacks at Twin Peaks, his fight for survival and his frantic search for his father, a fellow Bandido who was wounded in the deadly May 2015 incident.
Carrizal, 35, told jurors about his life as a Bandidos chapter president, denied the group is a criminal street gang and said he had never been in trouble before his arrest after the biker shootout that left nine dead and at least 20 wounded, including his father, Christopher Julian Carrizal.
Jacob Carrizal is on trial in Waco’s 54th State District Court on charges he directed the activities of a criminal street gang and two counts of engaging in organized criminal activity with underlying offenses of murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Carrizal, a locomotive engineer, will return to the witness stand Wednesday morning as prosecutor Michael Jarrett continues his cross-examination. Court officials said testimony could wrap up Wednesday, with the judge giving his instructions to the jury and attorney jury summations coming Thursday morning.
Carrizal became emotional as he described the frantic scene at Twin Peaks that afternoon and his fear of not being able to locate his father in the immediate aftermath once the bullets stopped flying.
Under questioning from his attorney, Casie Gotro, Carrizal admitted he lied to police about carrying a gun that day and said he shot Jacob Rhyne, a Cossack, twice with his two-shot Derringer as both lay on the parking lot. He said he only shot Rhyne because Rhyne was pointing a gun at him while he was lying on the pavement.
Rhyne was among those killed at the former Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco on May 17, 2015.
Carrizal said the day started when about 20 members of the Dallas Bandidos chapter and their support groups met on Interstate 35 for the ride to Waco.
When they got to the Twin Peaks parking lot, Carrizal, who was leading the group with his uncle, David Martinez, who was Dallas chapter president at the time, stopped and turned his motorcycle while trying to find a place to park. Almost immediately, Cossacks streamed off the patio and surrounded him and the other Bandidos.
Carrizal said he put his kick stand down, got off his motorcycle and heard Cossacks telling them they could not park there. He said he was surprised to see so many Cossacks at the biker coalition meeting set to be held at Twin Peaks that day. The Bandidos are members of the coalition, the Cossacks are not, he said.
“That’s all I saw was Cossacks,” Carrizal said. “I was surrounded. Not just a few, but dozens.”
He said he tried to make it over to the rest of his group through what he described as “a sea of Cossacks.” When he made his way over there, he heard his uncle and Owen Reeves, a Cossacks Nomad, arguing about whether the Bandidos’ bikes were blocking in the Cossacks and if they could park there.
As the argument intensified, Carrizal asked the name of a Cossack standing in front of him and told him to “be cool, be cool,” he said. Martinez told the Cossacks to get back on the porch and the Cossacks cursed him, he said.
A Bandido yelled for them not to talk to his president that way and a Cossack punched a Bandido nicknamed “Wrecker.” After the first punch, the Cossack in front of Carrizal punched him and Carrizal said he hit him back as hard as he could. Carrizal said he was still wearing his black and yellow helmet and was swarmed by a group of Cossacks.
“I was fighting and kicking and trying to get away and they ripped off my face shield and tried to hit inside my helmet with brass knuckles,” Carrizal said.
A former Twin Peaks employee testified for the prosecution she saw a man in a “big yellow helmet” at the center of the fighting pull out a “big, Dirty Harry-type gun” and fire the first shot.
As the fight continued, Carrizal said he heard the first gunshots. He tried to reach for a knife in his pocket but he couldn’t get to it. He said it didn’t occur to him to reach for his Derringer, which he said his father gave him for protection on the road because the Bandidos were being targeted by the Cossacks.
“I was just lying there waiting to be stabbed or shot,” Carrizal said.
That’s when he saw the Cossack he later found out was Rhyne pointing a gun at him, he said. After he fired both shots, he tried to reload but couldn’t. Carrizal scrambled toward the edge of the parking lot and took cover behind a light pole, he said.
His voice began to break as he described how he started yelling for his father, a former Bandido who left the group decades ago but who became a Bandidos prospect with Carrizal about six or seven years ago.
As he searched the area for his dad, he saw Bandido Manuel Rodriguez lying dead and another “brother” bleeding from a head wound.
He and other Bandidos helped carry the wounded to seek medical attention and he finally saw his father, his shirt stripped off, being helped by two police officers. His father was shot in the right shoulder.
He said his father put his bloody head on his lap while they waited for medical attention. His father started telling Jacob Carrizal to take care of his mother, his brothers and Carrizal’s two sons as if he anticipated dying, Carrizal testified.
Carrizal told Gotro he lied to police about having a gun because he was scared because he had never been in trouble before.
Gotro asked if Waco police officers who fired on the bikers saved lives at Twin Peaks. Carrizal said yes, adding they saved his life twice that day.
Carrizal said he did not go to Waco to pick a fight, said he is not a criminal or a member of a criminal street gang and is not guilty of the charges against him.
Carrizal said law enforcement have stereotypical images of motorcycle groups, but said his chapter of the Bandidos does not commit crimes, doesn’t tolerate those who do and performs charitable work like toy runs.
He said when he became interested in joining the Bandidos, he had heard the same stories about the group being a rough street gang. However, once he met the Bandidos, he said they were a caring, good group who would do anything for their fellow brothers.
He said being a Bandido is to be a man, to be honest, to be a man of your word.
“You can be rich or you can be poor, but if you are a Bandido, you are a Bandido,” he said, adding he has never been asked or expected to commit a crime while a Bandido.
Gotro, playing the devil’s advocate, asked Carrizal about his long beard and the large tattoo of an eagle on the back of his right hand.
“Let’s face it. You don’t look mainstream, Jake,” Gotro said.
Carrizal laughed and agreed but said that doesn’t make him a bad guy or a criminal. He said he can be a good father, a good husband, a good citizen and a good Bandido at the same time.
Jarrett asked Carrizal under cross-examination how many toy runs it would take to make up for the deaths of the nine people killed at Twin Peaks that day.
Carrizal told the prosecutor that no amount of toy runs could make up for it, but that he blames the Cossacks for what happened at Twin Peaks, saying the Bandidos came to Waco to attend a meeting and nothing would have happened if the Cossacks had not crashed the meeting.
Jarrett’s cross-examination of Carrizal will continue at 9 a.m. Wednesday in Waco’s 54th State District Court.