UPDATE, 7:45 p.m. Sunday: Police now believe there were five gangs involved in Sunday’s deadly shootout at Twin Peaks in Central Texas Marketplace, and some were allied with one another.
Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said police attempted to contact Twin Peaks’ corporate headquarters after the shooting, but said he is unsure of the content of that conversation.
Officials are continuing to comb the crime scene as of about 7:30 p.m. and weapons and even several dead bodies remain in the parking lot.
In downtown Waco, about 100 or more people were questioned at the Waco Convention Center by law enforcement authorities, said Senior Department of Public Safety Trooper D.L. Wilson.
Officials had also closed off several streets downtown, including the bridges spanning the Brazos River. Reports were trickling in Sunday evening of various restaurants and bars that were closing early because of the potential for more violence in the city.
Sunday evening, Twin Peaks tweeted: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and victims of the tragedy at franchise partner’s restaurant in Waco.”
UPDATE, 6 p.m. Sunday
Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said part of the altercation that preceded Sunday’s biker gang shooting at Twin Peaks started in a restroom, spilled into bar, then into the parking lot.
At least two of the gangs were trying to do some recruiting in the area Sunday, and Twin Peaks was a known place for that kind of activity, Swanton said. Multiple law enforcement sources confirmed that the Bandidos and Cossacks biker gangs were at the center of the incident.
“In 34 years of law enforcement, this is the most violent crime scene I have ever been involved in,” Swanton said.
“There is blood everywhere. We will probably approach the number of 100 weapons.”
“What happened here today could have been avoided ... They failed and this is what happened,” referring to the Twin Peaks local management.
“Next door were families dining in Don Carlos,” he added. “Twenty-five feet away there were families.”
Swanton continued, “This is one of the worst gun fights we’ve ever had in the city limits. They started shooting at our officers.”
He added, “None of our innocent civilians were injured today in this melee.”
Officials are interviewing people of interest in multiple areas, he said, and while there are no other active crime scenes, there have been scuffles and disturbances throughout the city.
“The unfortunate side of gangs such as these is that they work intel just like we do,” he said.
Central Texas Marketplace was closed entirely Sunday because of additional bikers coming to the scene, including the three arrested earlier.
UPDATE, 5 p.m. Sunday
Officials are hearing reports and seeing evidence of many biker gang members coming into town from throughout the state. In response, police are moving some witnesses to a secure location, said Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton.
Multiple police sources confirmed that the Bandidos and Cossacks biker gangs were involved in Sunday’s shooting.
Swanton said police have also stepped up the law enforcement presence in the area, but won’t say what else officials are doing to prepare.
At least 18 people are confirmed injured, in addition to the nine confirmed dead. Most of the injured have gunshot or stab wounds, and some have suffered both. Some of those injured have been transferred to other hospitals for their own safety, Swanton said.
Swanton added officials are in the process of shutting down all of Central Texas Marketplace.
“We don’t feel it is safe to keep these businesses open,” Swanton said.
Three additional biker gang members were arrested with weapons and taken to the McLennan County Jail on charges of engaging in organized crime. The sergeant said police will charge suspects with the most severe charges possible.
There are still a large number of people being detained, he noted.
“This is not something we’re playing around with,” Swanton said. “This is a major crime scene. ... It is a pretty gruesome scene.”
UPDATE, 4 p.m. Sunday
At least nine people are confirmed dead in a shooting around noon Sunday at Twin Peaks restaurant, said Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton.
All of the fatalities are members of biker gangs. No patrons, servers or law enforcement officials were killed, Swanton said.
There is a very significant increase in law enforcement in McLennan County right now, Swanton said. Local, county, state and federal agencies are involved in investigations into the biker gangs.
DPS and intelligence agents were working on the investigation long before today and Waco police have been aware of the inquest for more than a month, said Swanton.
Twin Peaks and Don Carlos were closed down after the shooting, and witnesses are being questioned on the scene and at the police department, according to the sergeant.
“The management wanted them here,” Swanton said of Twin Peaks officials. “Management knew that there were issues, and we were here, but they continued to let those groups of people into their business.”
Brad Doan, general manager of the Twin Peaks at Central Texas Marketplace, said the restaurant did not have an immediate statement in response to the shootings or Swanton’s claim that Twin Peaks was not cooperative with police until after Sunday’s shootings. Doan referred all questions to Twin Peaks’ corporate management. They were unable to be immediately reached Sunday afternoon.
Numerous people have been detained, but it is not clear how many people have been taken into custody.
“A lot of innocent people could have been injured today,” Swanton said. “These are very dangerous, hostile criminal biker gangs.”
There were at least three rival gangs on the scene when the shooting occurred, Swanton said, though he did not immediately provide the names of the gangs.
At least 12 Waco officers, including a SWAT team, and other DPS troopers were at Twin Peaks or in the immediate area when the incident broke out.
Waco police officers moved in and did fire rounds during the incident, Swanton said, praising their quick response.
“Their action has saved lives by keeping this from spilling into a busy Sunday morning,” he said.
Eight people were confirmed dead on the scene and one other at the hospital, Swanton added.
Helicopters continued to fly overhead about 4 p.m., and officials asked citizens not to come near the area.
Multiple people were killed or injured in a shooting that started just after noon Sunday inside Twin Peaks restaurant in Central Texas Marketplace and involved two biker gangs.
Officials would not immediately release information about the number of people who were either killed or injured.
Police also would not immediately say if any of the injured parties were restaurant servers or patrons but said no law-enforcement officials were injured, said Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton.
The altercation began inside Twin Peaks and spilled into the parking lot, Swanton said.
One witness described the dangerous, chaotic scene as something akin to a war zone.
“There were maybe 30 guns being fired in the parking lot, maybe 100 rounds,” said Michelle Logan, 37, who was at Twin Peaks at the time of the shooting and said she knows some of the victims.
“They just opened fire.”
Logan said she saw several people injured by the shooting.
“There’s a lot of people in the hospital, a lot of people shot,” she said, adding that people scattered after the shooting began.
The incident did not appear to be random, Logan said.
“It was a set up,” she said.
The meeting between the two biker gangs was being monitored by police before the incident started, Swanton said, after officials became aware that the gangs were frequenting the establishment.
Swanton said management at the restaurant was not cooperative with police until after the shooting Sunday.
Officers quickly had bikers at gunpoint after the altercation moved into the parking lot. Suspects were being held at bay as far from the doors of Twin Peaks as the Interstate 35 access road.
Officials called the scene “secure but active” as of about 2:30 p.m.
Officers said there were multiple types of weapons used, including guns, chains, knives, bats and clubs.
Officers from Lacy Lakeview, the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office and multiple other agencies were on scene, as well as ambulances from as far as Limestone County.
Officials locked down Don Carlos restaurant, which is next door to Twin Peaks.
It was not immediately known how many people were taken into custody.
Victims were taken to both Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest Medical Center and Providence Health Center.
I-35 traffic has been diverted from the area.
Officials would not release more information about the circumstances of the incident, or if it was related to others throughout the city.
Return to www.wacotrib.com for updates as they become available.