Waco biker shootout no charges
FILE - In this May 17, 2015 file photo, authorities investigate a shooting in the parking lot of Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas. Law enforcement did nothing on the day to stop a meeting in Waco, Texas in 2015 that erupted into the deadliest shootout between biker gangs in U.S. history, even though they had detailed advance intelligence that the encounter between the Cossacks and Bandidos was likely to turn violent, according to a review by The Associated Press of a trove of evidence compiled by prosecutors for use in state trials of 154 bikers. (AP Photo/Jerry Larson, File)

In May of 2015, nine people were shot to death in a wild exchange of gunfire outside the Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas. What came to be known as the Waco biker shootout, morphed from a battle between lawless rival biker gangs to a massacre in which, according to the evidence, many of the dead had been shot by local police. That, after a judge’s gag order and ballistics tests that were initially suppressed by local law enforcement.

For an idea of the confusion and misinformation that was issued in the aftermath, read this AP report from September of 2015.

That was written four months after the shooting.

Following the shooting, 177 people were arrested and held for days or weeks on $1 million bonds on charges of engaging in organized criminal activity. But no one has been indicted, and it remains unclear whose bullets struck the dead and wounded.

It’s also unclear when cases will be presented to a grand jury. Bikers were taken to the Waco convention center for processing after the shootout and were told on the way that they were going to be interviewed as witnesses, according to a 430-page Texas Department of Public Safety report that corroborates what arrested bikers have told AP.

But prosecutors decided late that night to arrest the majority of those detained.

The local prosecutor at the time, District Attorney Abel Reyna, reportedly made a hash of the criminal cases. Special prosecutors were appointed to handle some of them. As the Waco Tribune-Herald reports,

The special prosecutors appointed to handle four cases in which Reyna recused his office dismissed those cases by early this year. One of the prosecutors called Reyna’s mass prosecution strategy a “harebrained scheme” that was “patently offensive.”

As time passed, the case went from “one of the biggest criminal prosecutions in state history” to this week’s news that, after all this time, the current McLennan County DA, Barry Johnson, has announced that no one will be prosecuted.

Former McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna sought indictments against 155 bikers on those identical charges and chose to try Jacob Carrizal, the Bandidos Dallas County chapter president, first.

Carrizal’s case, tried in Waco’s 54th State District Court, ended in mistrial in November 2017, with most of the jurors in his case favoring acquittal. No other defendant has been tried since.

Johnson’s campaign hammered Reyna for his handling of the Twin Peaks cases, and he won the March 2018 Republican primary by 20 percentage points. After the primary, Reyna dismissed all but 24 of the remaining Twin Peaks cases.

Johnson seems to have thrown up his hands and decided to walk away from the debacle to “end this nightmare that we have been dealing with in this county since May 17, 2015.”

Here’s the AP’s report . . .

WACO, Texas (AP) — No one will be convicted or otherwise held accountable for the 2015 shootout between rival biker gangs in Waco restaurant parking lot that left nine people dead and at least 20 injured, prosecutors in Central Texas said Tuesday.

In a statement announcing all charges will be dropped in the deadliest biker shooting in U.S. history, McLennan County District Attorney Barry Johnson said any further effort to prosecute the case would be a “waste of time, effort and resources.”

“In my opinion, had this action been taken in a timely manner, it would have, and should have, resulted in numerous convictions and prison sentences against many of those who participated in the Twin Peaks brawl,” Johnson said. “Over the next three years the prior district attorney failed to take that action, for reasons that I do not know to this day.”

The shooting outside a Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco on May 17, 2015, involved rival biker gangs, the Bandidos and Cossacks, and occurred as bikers from various groups were gathering to talk over matters of concern. Fights and gunfire broke out. Waco police officers monitoring the gathering also fired on the bikers, killing at least two.

Surveillance footage showed many bikers running from the scene and ducking for cover after gunshots rang out. A smaller number could be seen pointing and firing weapons, slinging a chain or participating in fistfights. Law enforcement officers recovered dozens of firearms, knives and other weapons from the restaurant and adjacent parking lot, many of which officers organized indiscriminately into piles on the pavement and in the back of a police vehicle, dash-cam video showed.

Law enforcement officials took the extraordinary step of arresting 177 bikers after the shooting, then charged 155 of them with engaging in organized criminal activity. Many were held on a $1 million bond.

Former District Attorney Abel Reyna ultimately dropped charges against all but 24 and re-indicted them on riot charges. Those were the cases that came to an end Tuesday.

Only one case was prosecuted in court and that ended in a mistrial.

More than 100 bikers have filed civil rights lawsuits alleging McLennan County, the city and others violated the plaintiffs’ civil rights by arresting them without probable cause after the shooting,

“It’s a travesty that so many people were rounded up and then investigated, instead of vice versa,” Mark Snodgrass, president of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, said Tuesday. “A lot of these people’s lives were put on hold for four years.”

In a statement, Reyna said he disagrees “with the overall result as well as several statements and accusations within Mr. Johnson’s press release; however, it is solely his decision on how to proceed with any case in the District Attorney’s Office.”

107 COMMENTS

  1. I don’t really know what to make of it, but I gotta say, whoever was “slinging a chain”, as their chosen weapon in a gunfight, has a pair of brass balls.

  2. Video inside the building showed very few participating in any fighting, shooting or anything except staying low and trying to get away from it all.

    Reports at the time were the police were sent to the scene and told to expect trouble before anything started so they were primed. The DA had ambitions and planned to make a name with this. There were allegations the shooting was initiated from outside the parking lot.

    Wasn’t there, cannot judge those who were there because of conflicting stories including on the LEO side.

    • The rumor I have heard a few times is that there was an undercover officer in with the Cossacks (the group that went uninvited in order to start shit), which is how the police knew there was going to be trouble. I have also heard speculation that that undercover officer was in with the group where the brawl started.

        • “Pretty well connected for a twelve-year old to hear all that, I’d say”

          That can’t hold a patch on rumor spread during any grade school day.
          Just look at the rumors still being put forth about the Las Vegas mass shooting. You don’t need anything more than an internet connection and a browser to find them. No special connections needed.

  3. “according to the evidence, many of the dead had been shot by local police.”

    That tells the story,after all police can’t possibly be guilty of the crime of murder,now can they.

    • Why else would it take years to figure out there was no crime committed(by the arrestees anyway) here? Why else would all the evidence be sealed away from public view?
      To protect the thugs with badges, and their accomplices in suits at the Courthouse, is the only reason I can come up with.

        • Once again you state no one can criticize cops without becoming one. Maybe you need to not be a cop and see how it feels.

        • When my boss gets on my ass I typically tell him to become an engineer or shut up. Oh wait, I don’t because that’s not how the world works. Cops and all other government employees work for the people and therefore are completely open to their criticisms, whether they’re informed or not.

        • Clark Kent hates the bright light of truth. It is his Kryptonite. Whenever a cop kills someone and a civilian has questions about said injustice, his standard refrain is “unless your a cop you don’t get an opinion.”
          Hey Clark, you work for the people, not the other way around.

        • Hmm.

          So you’re a cop that goes around using the name of a guy who puts on a uniform and literally becomes Superman.

          You are almost certainly the problem in your department. Maybe if you ever make Detective you’ll lose enough of that shine to be worth a damn to the people you serve. Because right now you’re not.

  4. WACO HAS A BAD REP FOR THE COPS, of course no video/dash-cam or other evidence of who shot first . the DA peed on his feet by dragging his ass for so long, more than likely to cover for a friend. very typical of a bent prosecutor. more than likely a democrat.

    • Republicans defend law enforcement more than anyone. They are also less likely to go after their voters for prosecution.

      • No elected official wants to be in the position of arresting or incarcerating any bikers, they’re all Trump supporters.

        • If you really believe that, and I doubt you do, you should really open your eyes. OMG members are always being prosecuted and imprisoned all across America. Most are convicted felons and not legally allowed to vote. But I do agree with you that the majority of motorcycle club members (not the 1%) are huge Trump supporters.

    • No. But we CAN call it State sanctioned murder and get angry.
      If you insist on sweeping it into the closet with all the other government skeletons, the oppression will just go on and on. Forever. Getting worse and worse with each cycle. But perhaps that’s what you want? To sweep crimes under the rug? OFC, if you are one of the criminals, that would suit you right down to the ground.

      • Kenneth, if you have evidence of such, go for it. If not, get that evidence or shut the fuck up. Simple as that.

    • Not really. The police had formed a firing squad of M4 armed officers who simply opened fire on the civilians. There was no shootout, it was simple execution by the police.

        • There is extensive surveillance camera footage of the altercation, including the shooters. The police confiscated many firearms, all with serial numbers showing purchaser and/or ownership. Yet no prosecutions for attempted murder, malicious wounding, brandishing a deadly weapon in a public place or any other related charge.

          It’s a known fact that both the Bandidos and the Cossacks engage in multiple criminal enterprises, including prostitution drug dealing, illegal weapon transactions and protection racket. Yet they got a complete pass on their wall this behavior in a public place.

          And let’s see the department reports on the two individuals killed by police that they admit to, was it a righteous shoot? Who was killed? Who did the shooting?

          One must agree with the theory of a complete cover up by the authorities in order to protect… who?

        • My guess, since I know nothing about the incident, is the prosecutors are the reasons for lack of prosecutions. Sure the police could still have screwed up their investigations, but blaming the lack of prosecutions on just the police is a far step to take. And if their really was an informant or U/C officer in the middle of when it went down, I’d love to see the officer’s report on that! When these type of gangs start shooting at each other, it gets real hairy, real fast. Check out the Laughlin, NV incident between the Hells Angels and the Monguls in 2002. I’m sure the casino videos have been made public by now.

        • And I’m quite certain the video evidence has NOT been released, because I’ve looked, and its not there.
          But since you are so certain it has been made public, how about either posting a link so we can all see it, or else STFU?
          It’s as simple as that.

        • I can’t believe after almost 17 years those videos have not been released. I will look. However, I was there, I saw what happened. I helped in reviewing those videos. I saw judicial corruption first hand. Can’t remember if it started out in the state courts then went federal, or the other way around. Most folks know about Las Vegas corruption, but to my knowledge, not in law enforcement. I worked with those guys for years. Never saw any signs of corruption.

  5. Imagine that….a wannabe politician-bureaucrat muffed it up.

    If I was a betting man, no cases were brought because there would have more indictment of police than biker.

    But I wasnt there, and evidently no one else was either. So no charges.

    Sad.

    • I hear the police confiscated all the video evidence and refused to release anything that would show what they did. They released things that made the bikers look bad. Then they sealed everything and refuse to go to court so they won’t ever have to reveal evidence into the public record.

      Sounds like what Florida is going to pass very soon.

  6. I have a completely different view on this.i feel of a cop shoots a criminal or criminal then the cop shouldnt be charged.if a criminal shoots and kills another criminal so be it one less criminal on the streets.as long as no incident people were shoot or killed let it be a wash.as for a DA or anyone that is trying to make a name for there selves they should be the ones charged.by doing that you make the situation worse.

      • He probably won’t ever go because there are too many Muslim terrorists [ISIS] fighting the corrupt government for control of the people. Trump loves how things are done there and would love to bring that to America because that’s how you make a constitutional representative republic work.

    • Mmmm, yeah, pretty much…I think they were hoping, and it might have been part of the strategy, start a gunfight, and let the 2 clubs(gangs) kill each other, then to arrest and prosecute the remainder…didn’t go exactly as planned, so it took 3.5yrs to come up with an excuse to let all go…

        • It doesn’t take being there to notice that years later, all the charges have been dropped. It doesn’t take being there to notice that the evidence is all sealed away from view.
          It only takes a little thought and even just one eye.

        • There may have been some collusion or corruption on the part of the judge/prosecutors. I’d really like to know why this case was not prosecuted by the feds instead of the locals.

  7. My assumption on why it was dropped?

    Ballistics showed all the deceased were from LE bullets. No one to prosecute, except people on the ‘right side of the law’, so drop the case and act like you did the bikers a favor.

    • Yup. If all of the deceased had 5.56 rounds in them, and the only ones at the scene carrying 5.56 weapons were LE, what happened is pretty goddam obvious.

      • Obviously what? I hope you are not a lawyer because that kind of ‘proof’ would be (correctly) laughed out of a courtroom.

        • Yeah because courtrooms are filled with justice. Only police, trial lawyers, and judges understand the American courtroom at this point. Everyone else understands that the “justice system” is simply slugs leaving a trail of slime wherever they go.

  8. The O.M.G. (1%’s) are my personal canary in the coal mine. When the feds go after them as a matter of policy, all bets are off and the war will come soon after. 2nd generation and proud of it. Foxtrot-Kilo-Alpha

  9. Do we really even know the basic facts of what happened aside from the fact that a bunch of bikers and a bunch of police were in one location and a bunch of people shot guns?

    Did police shoot bikers?

    Did bikers shoot police?

    Did bikers shoot each other?

    Who shot first?

    I hate to say it: I think it is pretty much impossible to sort out who committed crimes and who acted legitimately in such a large, chaotic situation. Lesson to learn from this: leave such a situation before it gets to that point.

    • “Did police shoot bikers?”

      The dead bikers had 5.556 slugs in them, and LE had 5.556 weapons. No bikers had 5.556 weapons.

      Ray Charles could figure out who killed who…

  10. Did the bikers have permits for the weapons? Are any of them felons…? Just firing a gun in city limits is a crime,,, but the D A & cops couldn’t file charges???? Something stinks here…
    Between these dummies & Jussie Smollet getting off,,, how can anyone say CRIME DOSENT PAY ????

      • Oh crime most certainly pays, and pays well if your good at it. However, even if you are good at it, you will, *will* do a significant amount of time behind bars intermittently between buisness ventures.

        • If you are truly good at crime you run the justice system. You can get caught and still run for political office even the presidency.

          Crime does pay very well and you can make it a career in America. Just make sure to scratch other people’s backs and never bite the hand that feeds.

        • That’s true, if your extraordinarily good at crime, you go into politics, and become the mayor of Chicago, get into congress etc…

        • Depends on how you do it. Commit a crime with a gun, you do time. Commit a crime with a pen and paper, you get a vacation in the Bahamas.

    • 178 people were arrested. As I recall, less than 15% of them had criminal records. That percentage was the same even in the 2 outlaw MCs involved in the shootout. Many of the bikers in the restaurant had concealed carry permits. There were only 20-30 people directly involved in the shootout. The rest were ducking or running.

      Nobody will ever know the entire story, or with whom the blame lies. There are all kinds of inconsistencies in the accounts. The police spokesman flat out lied about several things in his briefings. Things that were easily and quickly proven wrong. One of the clubs was not invited to that meeting, but showed up anyway. Pretty safe bet that there was a CI or an undercover cop in the uninvited club, because the cops were clearly expecting trouble. Outlaw MCs are incredibly tight lipped about their business, so it’s unlikely that LE found out through rumors. Lots of conspiracy theories around, and if you read enough and talk to the right people, you’ll discover that there are plenty of odd things to support those theories to some extent. I’m not going to share my theory here.

      Regardless of what happened, the DA reached too far and made a huge mess of things from the beginning, and it bit him hard in the ass.

    • Didn’t you hear the news? Harley said their consumer base is dying off and now they have to change their business strategy to save themselves from bankruptcy. They think electric bikes are their future…

      • I rode an electric bike in the 1980s. It’s not the same culture as a gas powered bike. Harley will lose money very fast if they go after this market.

        • H-D has only themselves to blame for faltering sales. To them, it’s as much about selling shirts (which are as overpriced as their bikes are) as it is about selling bikes. Sure, their quality is better than it was years ago, but not enough to justify the price premium over the metric cruisers. The only people who can afford them are well-off empty nesters.

          I liken them to John Deere. How many people have you seen wearing a John Deere shirt or hat that have never thrown a leg over a tractor?

  11. When this happened I remember thinking “clusterfuck”.

    It always appeared to me that overall what happened was a few people who didn’t get along decided to settle their beef at this thing and it all got way out of hand because Waco wanted to make a statement that they didn’t tolerate biker gangs/groups.

    I’ve noticed, and found it odd that if you ride alone or with one to two people you generally get ignored. It attracts the occasional idiot but more often people just aren’t paying attention and don’t see you. Once your riding group swells to over five to seven though, it starts to attracts idiots. Cops, cage ragers, other groups on different motorcycle etc.

    I also note, interestingly, that you seem to be able to make the group larger without attracting that kind of attention if the bikes are mixed. Some Harley’s, crotch rockets, and Indian and a couple Goldwings just doesn’t get the attention that a solid group of similar bikes gets unless one of you has a sidecar. In that case the bike with the sidecar gets all the attention, as it should, because usually it’s a classic or one of those newer bikes that looks like it’s vintage.

      • You’d probably get pulled over a lot so the cops could see if it’s real. Sure, they’d want paperwork if it is a real MG but really they’d just want to oogle it.

        You’d prolly get the same attention if you were riding around on a sidecar equipped KS750 or R75 with an MG34 on it too.

  12. I seem to recall other Americans murdered in WACO , Texas , on April 19 , 1993.

    This police corruption has its roots at least back that far. ( Yes , locals were involved )

      • Law ENFORCEMENT stopped being about “Protect & Serve” a LONG time ago.
        Now, it is all about control, oppression, & backdoor revenue generation. Many police departments get the majority of their operating funds from HIGHWAY ROBBERY…..literally stealing people’s assets by “arrest”! If YOU SEE A CROOKED COP AND DO NOTHING YOU ARE WORSE THAN THE OFFENDER!

        • No, the vast majority of LEO’s don.t violate the law. Sure, just like every other segment of society, there are some bad ones. But by and large, LEO’s are the creme of the crop. What do they say, one bad apple…

  13. I talked to one of the top of the line biker attorneys here in Atlanta some time ago and asked about this. He is plugged in as is actually on retainer by a number of the clubs.

    This place was frequented by any number of motorcyclists every weekend as just a place to go to eat. You could have guessed that guys on bikes like to go to a place where female breasts are mostly on display.

    Clubs frequently meet for any number of reasons. This day was not unlike any other. For some unknown reason, on this day the local police has decided to place snipers on nearby roofs. Dozens more were nearby.

    A loud sound is heard, and all hell broke loose. As one other poster noted, the vast majority just ducked. It wasn’t all men – lots of wives and girlfriends were present. Other non biker folks were there.

    We won’t know what happened, because a whole lot of folks don’t want the public to know what happened. The general public will just assume it was those anti-social biker types. If the biker folks had done something that cause this, you would damn sure be told what it was. By the way, only bikers were killed. No cops. No non-biker types. It seems that those with a red dot on them were the ones that went down.

    • First of all, if we are talking about the 1%ers, they are not clubs, they’re GANGS. They are every bit as bad and in some cases worse than MS-13. If the person you talked with represented OMG’s, he is a dirt bag. Just because he want to law school, doesn’t make him someone to look up to. Every single OMG lawyer I’ve run across was no better than their clients.

  14. The police / ME admitted back in 2018 that 3 “trained police” shot at least 4 bikers who turned out to be unarmed.

    https://www.wacotrib.com/news/twin-peaks-biker-shooting/waco-police-officers-in-twin-peaks-shootout-will-not-be/article_8648aecc-edb4-53e5-93fe-6a6ffcd228a0.html

    The cynical part of me suspects one “officer” panicked and almost everyone was shot by police. Plus some hand guns in the confusion. Most autopsy reports said they were shot from above and the police were on top of surrounding buildings.

    • If ten out of 100 bikers were killed, it would have fully qualified as a “decimation”…

  15. From what I know, the police were surrounding the business and positioning themselves to open fire on the gangs if they saw a gun, which is what they did. The cops did most of the shooting and killing. I assume that is why they don’t really want to go to court. A lot of people were killed by the police when they tried to defend themselves or others from the gang violence; they didn’t know the police were pointing gun at them from afar.

    It essentially was a mass shooting done by the police… It’s been awhile since that has happened, It’s no surprise it happened in Texas.

  16. Sounds like a fucked investigation and prosecution.

    That said don’t declared yourself as an “outlaw” and go to a armed riot.

  17. I see a lot of Conspiracy Theorists who have no evidence except the badly written and poorly documented event that took place. Bikers DO have and use 5.56 ARs and have shoot each other at events to SETTLE differences. So step back and take off the anti everything tin foil hats and wait for more information.

  18. “More than 100 bikers have filed civil rights lawsuits alleging McLennan County, the city and others violated the plaintiffs’ civil rights by arresting them without probable cause after the shooting,”……Say WHAT?, Also the judge better start looking for a new job he dropped the ball big time!

  19. My daughter was looking for a server job when she was in college, after she applied at Olive Garden she went down the street to the local Twin Peaks. I got a real chuckle from her describing the kind of place she had walked in to.

    Told her that anyone could see just how good the tips were, since they were on display.

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