About 170 motorcycle gang members charged with engaging in organised crime are each being held on a million-dollar bond (€883,000) in the wake of a deadly shootout in Texas, and authorities say capital murder charges are expected.
McLennan County judge WH Peterson set the bond for each suspect and described the amount as “appropriate” given the level of violence that occurred at a restaurant in Waco.
Mr Peterson also performed inquests on the nine dead bikers but declined to identify them pending notification of family. He said all nine were from Texas.
Waco police Sergeant W Patrick Swanton said while capital murder charges are likely, it is too early to determine how many gang members will face the charge.
Police are on alert for any retaliatory attacks after the chaotic shootout outside a branch of the Twin Peaks restaurant chain.
Sgt Swanton said authorities had received threats against law enforcement “throughout the night” from biker groups and stood ready to confront any more violence. “We have a contingency plan to deal with those individuals if they try to cause trouble here,” he said at a news conference.
The shootout erupted shortly after noon at a busy shopping centre where members of at least five rival gangs had gathered for a meeting, Sgt Swanton said.
Preliminary findings indicate a dispute broke out in a toilet and escalated to include knives and guns. The fight eventually spilled into the restaurant car park.
“I was amazed that we didn’t have innocent civilians killed or injured,” Sgt Swanton said.
The interior of the restaurant was littered with bullet casings, knives, bodies and pools of blood, he added.
Meanwhile, the Twin Peaks group — a national chain that features waitresses in revealing uniforms — has revoked the franchise rights for the Waco eatery.
Company spokesman Rick Van Warner confirmed that the venue’s franchise agreement will be terminated.
The restaurant opened last August and Waco police say it has since been the scene of several biker gang gatherings. Police said restaurant managers did not co-operate with authorities
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