Memo: Violence long simmered between rival Texas biker gangs

Authorities investigate a shooting in the parking lot of the Twin Peaks restaurant Sunday, May 17, 2015, in Waco, Texas. Authorities say that the shootout victims were members of rival biker gangs that had gathered for a meeting. (AP Photo/Jerry Larson)

Two patrons who were eating lunch at the Twin Peaks restaurant when the deadly May 17 shootout broke out have filed a lawsuit against Twin Peaks, its subsidiaries and a former franchise holder.

The plaintiffs are identified only as M.K.H. and C.R.H. in the lawsuit, which says only that they are Texas residents.

The suit, filed last week in Waco’s 170th State District Court, names Peaktastic Beverage, Front Burner Restaurants, Twin Restaurant Investment Co. and Chalik Mitra Group as defendants.

A message from the Tribune-Herald to Twin Peaks corporate offices in Dallas was not returned Monday.

The suit, filed on the plaintiffs’ behalf by Waco attorney Hamilton Lindley, seeks unspecified damages for medical care for injuries suffered during the incident, physical pain and suffering, loss of earnings and mental anguish.

“In defiance of repeated law enforcement warnings, Twin Peaks invited rival biker gangs to its Waco restaurant on May 17, 2015,” the lawsuit says. “Predictably, these rival gangs — fueled by Twin Peaks alcohol — began fighting.”

The plaintiffs, who are not affiliated with a biker group, according to the lawsuit, were having lunch there when the shooting started.

“When the bullets began flying, plaintiffs were trapped inside defendants’ property and forced to find cover to avoid being shot,” the suit alleges. “Plaintiffs suffered personal injuries, including cuts, bruises and abrasions. Plaintiffs also suffered damage to their personal property and significant emotional trauma.”

The lawsuit said the shootout was “the crescendo to a symphony of violence at Twin Peaks.”

Waco police reported disturbances there between biker groups on Feb. 2 and Feb. 15, the suit claims.

“On May 1, 2015, the Texas Department of Public Safety issued a warning of conflict between rival motorcycle gangs — the same gangs that Twin Peaks reserved space for at its Waco location,” according to the lawsuit.

Police warned Twin Peaks officials in Waco and Dallas about the May 17 biker gathering, the suit says.

“Twin Peaks ignored law enforcement’s concern. On the morning of May 17, concerned Waco police arrived at Twin Peaks to protect patrons. But they were asked to leave the Waco location by management,” the suit alleges. “Despite being awash in violent events and direct warnings by law enforcement, Twin Peaks proceeded to have this biker gathering, with reservation for 300 people.”

The suit alleges Twin Peaks is negligent for failing to hire adequate security, for failing to heed law enforcement warnings and failing to stop serving alcohol while allowing weapons in the restaurant.

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