Some Waco motorcyclists who showed up about noon Sunday at Twin Peaks restaurant thought they would be having lunch and discussing pending “bikers rights” legislation.
Instead, what was billed as a quarterly meeting of delegates to the Texas Confederation of Clubs and Independents, Region 1, was interrupted by a bloodbath.
It remained unclear Monday whether the meeting of a political interest group was directly connected to the battle that left nine dead, 18 wounded and more than 170 people under arrest on charges of organized criminal activity.
Police said five motorcycle “gangs” were involved, and all who died were members of the Texas-based Bandidos or their rivals the Cossacks.
The confederation includes Bandidos as leaders but its membership reflects a broad coalition of biker groups, including veterans organizations. Officials with the regional group Monday did not return email requests for comment. The Cossacks are not listed as members of the COC&I.
Robert Carter of the Waco- area Legion Riders said he was shocked to hear of the violence. He had planned to attend the quarterly meeting on behalf of the group based at American Legion Post 121 in Elm Mott, but his son went instead.
Carter said he knew about tensions among motorcycle factions in Texas and thought violence could erupt between them at some point.
“We were aware it could happen at any time, but we really weren’t expecting it here,” he said. “We were expecting it to be somewhere private. . . . If we had known something was going to happen, we wouldn’t have gone.”
Johnny Snyder, vice president of the Waco chapter of the Boozefighters Motorcycle Club, attended the meeting Sunday with his wife and other officials from the club.
He declined to discuss details of Sunday’s incident, but he said confrontation was not on the meeting’s agenda.
“Every meeting we have is about bikers’ rights not to be harassed and stereotyped,” he said.
Snyder said none of his group was part of the mass arrests, and he took issue with police descriptions of Sunday’s events as gang violence.
“We are not a gang, we are a motorcycle club,” he said. “We’re a group of like-minded individuals who like to ride motorcycles. . . . It’s a brotherhood, a kinship.”
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