Shopping area reopens after deadly Texas motorcycle gang fight

Reuters News
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Posted: May 20, 2015 10:05 AM

By Jon Herskovitz

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - The shopping center in the central Texas city of Waco shut after a weekend brawl between rival motorcycle gangs that left nine people dead will reopen on Wednesday, police said.

Authorities still are investigating the main crime scene, a Twin Peaks restaurant in the center where five biker gangs used guns, knives, clubs and chains in a Sunday fight that spilled out into two parking lots. The battle ended in a hail of bullets from police positioned outside in anticipation of violence.

Waco police said in a statement that reopening the Central Texas Marketplace Shopping Center, which has about 50 stores and restaurants, is "great news for our local businesses who have been so patient with our investigation."

Police have taken 170 people into custody and they are being held on bail of $1 million each on charges of involvement in organized crime relating to capital murder.

The nine killed ranged in age from 27 to 65 and a preliminary autopsy report indicates they all died from gunshot wounds, according to records made available by the McLennan County Justice of the Peace.

Eighteen other bikers were injured and most have been released from the hospital. No police or bystanders were injured.

Law enforcement wants gang members to remain jailed as long as legally possible, experts said, as investigators try to find out who did what to whom in a fight among more than 100 bikers.

"A $1 million bail for 170 people is ludicrous on its face," said former Galveston County Assistant District Attorney Michael Haskell said.

"They want the big fish, but obviously they have some minnows in there and it's unfair to them," said Haskell, who now practices law in Fort Worth.

(Additional reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Bill Trott)