Forty-eight more bikers have been added to the indicted list in the shooting incident that happened in Waco, Texas, last May. This brings the number to over 150 bikers who have been indicted in the “deadly fracas” CNN originally reported about last May.
The gathering began cordially enough as several biker groups came together at the outdoor bar area of a strip mall restaurant they had reserved, but when a rival biker gang showed up uninvited, an incident led to an argument in the parking lot. The argument grew, ending up in a hail of gunfire, and by the end of the chaos, nine bikers were dead and dozens more were injured. Authorities seized hundreds of weapons including guns and knives, and 177 bikers were arrested.
In November of last year, 106 bikers were indicted by a Texas grand jury. They are accused of “engaging in organized criminal activity with the underlying offense being aggravated assault and murder,” says Abel Reyna, McLennan County’s Criminal District Attorney. Just yesterday, 48 additional bikers were indicted. To date, CBS News reports, no single person has been indicted specifically for murder, although the investigation is ongoing and further indictments have not been ruled out.
The way these indictments are framed, the organized criminal activity facet of them implies a premeditation and alleges that all bikers who were indicted hold a responsibility for the injuries and deaths that resulted from the melee—even though the coalition of bikers was supposedly there for peaceful purposes. Additionally, despite the broad gag order surrounding this incident silencing police and prosecutors, several surveillance videos have been released showing multiple angles of the shootout.
Sub-Story and Territory Tales
Members of the biker groups that met on May 17 last year claim they were there for peaceful reasons, and even though they call themselves clubs and insist they exist for only social reasons, their structure reflects a gang tier mentality. Additionally, the two groups most involved in the biker brawl, the Bandidos and the Cossacks, are seen by some police officers as criminal gangs, part of the outlaw biker clubs referred to as the “one percenters”.
The one-percenter label among bikers stems from a comment made by the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) that 99 percent of motorcyclists are law-abiding citizens, and 1 percent are outlaws. Ironic how that theme plays through many groups of people from different ethnic, racial, and professional groups. Despite denials that they are involved in illegal or criminal activities such as drugs, the Bandidos are considered one of the one-percenter biker groups.
Tension between the Bandidos and the Cossacks was not new and in fact had been growing for months. In March of last year, each “club” seriously beat and wounded a member of the other during two separate incidents. Law enforcement had “picked up intelligence” that the two groups were going to go to war with each other, and had been closely monitoring several biker rallies in the months after, but nothing happened, until May.
For whatever reason, the Bandidos decided to move a regularly held meeting of the Confederation of Clubs and Independents from Austin to Waco, a known territory where the Cossacks regularly meet. The Cossacks state they were invited to the meeting, while the Bandidos deny they were invited. Fortunately, Waco police were close by, already watching the restaurant because of the information they had received and the fear that the event could turn violent. Unfortunately, tensions came to a head so quickly that nine bikers were killed, and now over 150 of them have been indicted for criminal activity.
[Photo by Erich Schlegel/Getty Images]