By Lisa Maria Garza
DALLAS (Reuters) - A Texas sports bar where a deadly brawl between rival motorcycle gangs erupted earlier this week is being sued by a neighboring restaurant for loss of business, lawyers said on Thursday.
Don Carlos Mexican Restaurant is suing Peaktastic Beverage LLC, the franchise owner of the Waco Twin Peaks restaurant, and the franchise operator for gross negligence, according to a statement from the lawyers.
Nine people were shot to death and surrounding businesses were shut for days in a violent fight involving guns, knives and chains that began at the Waco outlet of Twin Peaks, a chain featuring scantily clad waitresses. Lawyers said police deemed Don Carlos a crime scene and forced it to close as authorities gathered evidence from the parking lot it shared with Twin Peaks.
"Twin Peaks didn't just add gas to the fire, it threw the match. Inviting armed rival gangs to a place where alcohol is served is not only unwise, it is reckless," said high-profile lawyer Tony Buzbee, who is also former Governor Rick Perry's lead defense attorney in an ongoing criminal case, in a statement.
Waco Police had asked the restaurant's managers to stop the meeting but said they did not heed the requests. The Twin Peaks chain revoked the franchise rights from the companies that run the Waco restaurant for not doing enough to ensure security.
Waco Police said on Thursday they have collected the majority of evidence on the outside of the crime scene. About 120 guns and 160 knives were recovered, with more expected to be counted during the investigation.
Police have arrested 170 people, who are being held on bail of $1 million each on charges of involvement in organized crime relating to capital murder. Only one person in the group has been released on bond.
The two main adversaries were motorcycle gangs the Bandidos, seen as the long-standing dominant gang in Texas and called a criminal organization by the U.S. Justice Department, and the Cossacks, which have been challenging them for power in the state, according to experts on the gangs.
(Editing by Jon Herskovitz and Lisa Lambert)