4 Waco bikers killed in May shot by police rifles - report

FILE PHOTO: A police officer inspects a weapon removed from a vehicle in the parking lot of the Twin Peaks restaurant, where nine members of a motorcycle gang were shot and killed, in Waco, Texas May 19, 2015 © Mike Stone
Four of the bikers who died in what the police called a gang shootout in Waco, Texas earlier this year may have been shot by police. The shots that killed them came from the same type of rifle the police used, new reports show.

A May 17 shootout at the Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco left nine bikers dead and about 20 wounded. Police have arrested nearly 200 people. At the time, Waco police said they confiscated “a thousand guns,” but had to revise that number down in the days since the gunfight.

Four of the dead bikers and at least one of the wounded were hit by bullets from .223-caliber bullets, the only weapon fired by Waco police officers that day, AP reported, citing ballistics reports and forensic evidence.

Two of the dead had wounds from only that kind of rifle bullets; the other two were shot by other guns as well. The rest of the victims were killed by bullets fired from a variety of other guns, AP noted, adding it was not clear whether any of the bikers arrested at Twin Peaks had .223 caliber rifles. Among the 400 or so weapons seized by the police were 12 “long guns,” according to the agency.

The ballistics analysis was conducted by the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences.

In June, Waco Police Chief Brent Stroman said that his officers had fired a total of 12 rounds, using the semi-automatic setting on their rifles.

Waco police had assigned 16 officers to watch the restaurant, with state officers in support, believing the gathering of bikers to be a potential public safety hazard. According to local media, the gathering was a legitimate political gathering organized by the Texas Confederation of Clubs and Independents (CoC&I), which was crashed by the Cossacks biker gang. Seven of the bikers killed in the shootout were members of the Cossacks.

In November, a grand jury indicted 106 of the people arrested after the shooting on charges of engaging in organized criminal activity. Charges against the other 80 bikers are still being considered, said McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna.