It's been nearly a year since nine bikers were killed in a chaotic shootout between the Cossacks and Bandidos gangs at a Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, and we still don't know much about what happened or who did what. And while 177 bikers were arrested at the scene, we still don' t even totally know which ones will be charged with a crime.
A Waco grand jury handed out 106 indictments in November — a full six months after the shooting — and announced 48 more indictments last month. The indicted bikers were all charged with engaging in organized criminal activity, so it's pretty clear investigators remain unsure who fired the fatal gunshots, otherwise we'd probably see a few murder charges. When the District Attorney's office announced the first round of indictments, it got the number of dead wrong, claiming ten people were killed instead of nine. At least it was able to get that cleared up the second time around.
Whether there will be a third round of indictments is unclear. There are 38 more bikers who were arrested and have yet to be charged. No one seems to be able to agree on what their status is. Houston lawyer Paul Looney, who represents three of the bikers arrested in May, told the Houston Chronicle that all possible charges are automatically dropped against the remaining non-indicted bikers because the grand jury has apparently passed the agreed-upon deadline to hand out indictments in the case. "It timed out," Looney told the Chron on Friday. "Pop the champagne."
But county officials handling the case apparently think they have all the time in the world.
“Mr. Looney’s version of what transpired today is sadly inaccurate,” McLennan County DA Abel Reyna told KWTX-Waco on Friday. “We have not filed any dismissals in any of the remaining Twin Peaks cases... Furthermore, any McLennan County grand jury can hear evidence on this matter and decide to issue additional indictments. This is an ongoing, continuing investigation.”
That investigation has been "ongoing" for a quite some time now, and has produced few public results. Last month, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives reportedly completed its report tracing the 151 guns recovered from the shooting scene (according to the Associated Press, there were more than 400 weapons found at the scene, firearms included). While the ATF hasn't released that report, the AP says it reviewed grand jury evidence that showed four of the fatally shot bikers were hit with "the same caliber of rifle fired by Waco police."
Whatever else investigators may currently know about what happened, they aren't sharing. From the AP in December:
Police and the district attorney's office declined to comment on the latest evidence, but have defended the officers' use of force, claiming that bikers had also opened fire on police. Police have previously cited a gag order in the criminal case of one of the bikers. Media groups including the AP have fought the order, contending that it is overly broad and unconstitutional.
With a gag order firmly in place and hundreds of related cases that need to be tried, it seems like it will be a long, long time before we get anything close to a complete picture of what happened in Waco.
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