Answers few, far between in Waco shootings

Answers few, far between in Waco shootings

Posted by Ben Baker on Oct 18th 2016

If you are looking for answers for the Waco, Texas, biker shootout May 17, you are going to keep looking for a while.

A gag order on the case issued by a state district judge in McLennan County, where Waco is located, was later upheld by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. As long as that stays in place and until cases go to trial, details will remain few and far between. The original order was sent to an intermediate appellate court which lifted the gag on a Friday. Just a few days later the Criminal Appeals court put the gag back. As of mid-October, the gag order is still in place.

The Waco Police Department is still investigating the matter and has not released a lot of the evidence. The WPD said so the fight started as a dustup between the Bandidos and the Cossacks MCs. Testimony from bond hearings from various bikers offers different versions of what happened, leading to the shootout. Federal investigators are also looking into the matter.
What can be said for certain is the Bandidos have a long history of association with the Confederation. Perhaps in response to this, the Cossacks have refused to join. The May 17 meeting marked the second time in the history of the Confederation that a Cossack MC member attended a meeting. This time, the Cossacks sent a sizable contingent to the meeting.

Bond hearings with members of each MC put the blame on the other one. GQ writer Nathaniel Penn interviewed Bandidos and Cosssacks anonymously and got much the same results.

Penn also wrote, “But things had been ugly between the two rivals for a while-fistfights, knife fights, roadside beatings. Infrequent, but growing in brutality.”


With 9 dead and 20 wounded, it would be easy to think that someone would be on trial for murder by now.

Not yet.

Writing for, Jennifer Cruz said, “…all of those who were initially jailed have been released and not one is facing murder charges.”

This doesn’t mean murder charges won’t be filed. That remains to be seen. Cruz writes, “During the investigation, authorities confiscated nearly 500 weapons, including 151 firearms, and recovered 44 shell casings from the parking lot. Among the casings were multiple spent .223 rounds.”

It’s pretty typical in a mass event like this for law enforcement to start lining up criminal charges like dominoes. It’s also common for most of those charges to go away as the investigation goes on. Cruz points to the Waco Tribune when she writes, “Of the charges that do remain, defense attorneys indicated the district attorney has plans to eventually dismiss most of those charges…”

Defense attorney Paul Looney did tell the paper he expected most of the charges to be dismissed because most the charges would be against the deceased bikers.

A special Grand Jury has been called to session in Waco. This Grand Jury will hear charges against bikers involved in the Twin Peaks shooting. Immediately after the shooting, the sheer number of people involved and those immediate arrested overwhelmed the justice system in Waco.


Not long after the shooting 135 bikers were made to wearer GPS locater anklets. As of the first of October, only 22 still have the ankle devices.

By July 10, only four of those arrested remained in jail.

Writing for the Waco Tribune, reporter Tommy Witherspoon wrote, “None of the bikers who wore the monitors for varying periods of time committed any serious violations that caused them to be removed from the GPS program, said Ronnie Marroquin, office manager for Recovery Healthcare in Waco, which oversees the monitoring program.”

The ankle devices set each biker back $355. $100 of that was an “installation fee” and each device carried a $255 per month charge as long as the person had to wear it.

The incident is being called the Twin Peaks Shootout in some media reports, including the Waco newspaper. The meeting and resulting explosion of violence took place at the Twin Peaks restaurant property. It has since closed.

The day started as a way for motorcycle clubs in the region to come together and discuss things. The Texas Confederation of Clubs and Independents called the meeting, as it had done many times before. Bikers from all MCs would attend, setting aside partisan differences to hear news and information about the motorcycle industry and what lawmakers were planning.