Biker gang shootout in Waco, Texas leaves 9 dead, 18 injured.

Massive Biker Gang Shootout in Texas Leaves 9 Dead, 18 Injured

Massive Biker Gang Shootout in Texas Leaves 9 Dead, 18 Injured

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May 18 2015 2:05 AM

Massive Biker Gang Shootout in Texas Leaves 9 Dead, 18 Injured

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Police escort a man at the scene of a shooting in Waco, Texas, in this handout photo provided by the Waco Police Department on May 17, 2015.

Reuters/Waco Police Department/Handout

A horrific, chaotic scene unfolded at a sports bar in Waco, Texas, as a simmering feud among at least five gangs sparked a shootout that ended with nine bikers killed, 18 injured, and more than 100 people detained, according to the Waco Tribune. The violence began around noon at a Twin Peaks restaurant that is part of a large shopping center. “Preliminary findings indicate a dispute broke out in a bathroom, escalated to include knives and firearms and eventually spilled into the restaurant parking lot,” reports the Associated Press. There were as many as 200 bikers with allegiances to different gangs inside and outside the restaurant, and a witness claims about 30 guns were being fired in the parking lot.

Police were already at the scene because they were expecting trouble. And at one point, the aggression among the bikers turned on the law enforcement officers. But despite the hail of gunfire, “no officers, shoppers or bystanders were injured,” reports the New York Times. “There were so many rounds fired from bad-guy weapons here, it is amazing that innocent civilians were not injured here,” said Sgt. Patrick Swanton, a Waco Police Department spokesman. “In 34 years of law enforcement, this is the worst crime scene—the most violent crime scene—that I have ever been involved in. There are dead people still there. There is blood everywhere.” It’s not clear yet whether any of the bikers were killed by police.

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After the shooting, police pointed the finger directly at the restaurant, saying managers appeared to have no interest in preventing gang activity at the establishment. “What happened here today could have been avoided,” Swanton said. “They failed and this is what happened,” he said, in reference to the managers of the local franchise. The operating partner of the Twin Peaks franchise posted a statement on Facebook, claiming management has been cooperating with the police:

Statement from Jay Patel, Operating Partner, Twin Peaks Waco franchise:"We are horrified by the criminal, violent acts...

Posted by Twin Peaks Waco on Sunday, May 17, 2015

When told of the restaurant’s claims that it had been cooperating with authorities, the police spokesman said: “That is an absolute fabrication.”

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the Today’s Papers column from 2006 to 2009. Follow him on Twitter.