The District Attorney from McLennan County, Texas (where Waco is located) dropped all charges against 24 defendants in the 2015 Twin Peaks shooting, meaning that no one will face any criminal charges for the violence that left nine dead and 20 injured.
As The Waco Tribune reports, Barry Johnson said in a statement that the dismissal of the charges puts an end to a four-year “nightmare” that has tied up the resources of his office.
“After looking over the 24 cases we were left with, it is my opinion as your district attorney that we are not able to prosecute any of those cases and reach our burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.”
On May 17, 2015, members of rival motorcycle gangs the Bandidos, the Cossacks, and affiliate clubs had gathered at Twin Peaks, a Waco restaurant, despite the objections of law enforcement officials who had asked the restaurant not to host the bikers.
Shortly after noon, gunfire erupted, reportedly over a dispute over a parking spot and a member of one gang supposedly getting his foot run over. In the confusion, in addition to bikers shooting at one another, law enforcement officials also shot at bikers, and bikers shot at law enforcement officers.
When the dust had settled, nine individuals were dead, including four bikers who had been shot dead by police. 20 people were injured.
Nearly four years after nine men died and another 20 were injured in a brutal melée at a Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas, the local district attorney announced Tuesday that he will dismiss the remaining 24 cases involved in the shooting https://t.co/X4162V7p5M— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) April 3, 2019
At one time, as The L.A. Times reported in May 2015, 177 individuals were in Waco and area jails, overwhelming the city and county’s criminal justice apparatus.
Over the years, the number of people charged criminally in the shootout was whittled down to just 24. And with Wednesday’s announcement, that number is now zero. Only one person — Bandidos Dallas County chapter president Jacob Carrizal — was brought to trial, and he was acquitted.
According to The Daily Beast, Johnson says that his predecessor, Abel Reyna, bungled the case. Specifically, he claims that Reyna wanted to charge large numbers of suspects with conspiracy, instead of going for murder, assault, and gun charges against individuals.
“In my opinion, had this action been taken in a timely manner, it would have, and should have, resulted in numerous convictions and prison sentences against many of those who participated in the Twin Peaks brawl.”
Meanwhile, the law enforcement officials believed responsible for killing four of the nine victims were all cleared of wrongdoing by their respective agencies. That leaves five people murdered, whose killers will almost certainly never be brought to justice, says Johnson.
“We just weren’t able to meet our burden to prove a murder.”