Today in Texas History – May 17

From the Annals of the Outlaws –  In 2015, a deadly biker gang brawl broke out at the Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco.   The planned gathering of so-called motorcycle enthusiasts started peacefully but escalated into full-fledged gallegedang warfare after a member of the Cossacks ran over the foot of a Bandidos gang member.  The two rival gangs had been fighting over the very important issue of whether the Cossacks could wear the “Texas” rocker on bottom of their motorcycle jackets and vests.  The Waco fight was apparently the culmination of months of increasing hostility and random beatings of gang members.  Six Cossacks, two Bandidos, one Scimitar and one unaffiliated biker were killed, with it being likely that several were shot by police officers who had been monitoring the scene.  Another  18 were injured and at least 170 gang members and others were arrested at the scene.

Bail for most of those charged was set at $1 million.   McClennan County  prosecutor Michael Jarrett said videotape of the shootout shows “Bandidos executing Cossacks, and Cossacks executing Bandidos”. Arguing in favor of the high bonds, Jarrett said, “The facts and circumstances of this case are so extraordinary and so different from anything we have ever dealt with, we believe adequate bonds need to be in place to ensure the safety of this community.” Most of the bikers have since been released, and it seems likely that some innocent people were swept up in the hysteria following the shootout which received world-wide publicity.   And the criminal prosecutions have been on a slow track.  The Waco DA’s office seems overwhelmed and not up to the task of sorting out who actually was killed by who.

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