Nine people have been killed in a biker fight in Waco, Texas, CNN reports. Authorities report that 8 people were killed on the scene while one person died while at hospital.
“There were at least three rival gang groups here this morning for whatever reason. As they were here, we had officers on scene. We expected issues,” said Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton, a police spokesman.
The fight erupted at a Twin Peaks restaurant and boiled over into the parking lot. It started off as a fist fight, but the bikers soon resorted to using guns. Authorities later said there were at least five gangs.
“In my nearly 35 years of law enforcement experience,” he said, “this is the most violent and gruesome scene that I have dealt with,” Swanton said.
Authorities have said that the management at Twin Peaks have not been as helpful as they should have been in helping police to deal with gang violence that has happened there in the past.
“Are we frustrated? Sure. Because we feel like there may have been more that could have been done by a business to prevent this,” he said.
The restaurant at Waco is a franchise. Twin Peaks has released a statement indicating that they are cooperating with the police investigation. They also claim to be examining the circumstances that could have led to the shooting.
“We are thankful no employees, guests or police were injured in this senseless violence outside the restaurant, and our sympathies are with the families of those killed,” the statement said.
According to KWTX, restaurant employees and patrons hid in the freezer to protect themselves from the gunfire. Over 100 weapons were found at the scene of the shootout. Eighteen people were rushed to the hospital, but all of the people killed were bikers. No police officers were killed or injured, Swanton said.
“Their action has saved lives in keeping this from spilling into a very busy Sunday morning,” the spokesman said.
“Thank goodness the officers were here, and took the action that they needed to take to save numerous lives.”
Twitter users have likened the shootout to a scene from Sons of Anarchy, a TV show that follows the violent lives of fictitious rival biker gangs.
— RupertJaplit (@Rajibooey) May 18, 2015
Newsweek reports that over 200 gang members were involved in the shootout.
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) May 18, 2015