Shotout between rival biker gangs in Waco, Texas, leftÂ at least nine people dead, police said.
Nine people were killed andÂ dozensÂ were injured on Sunday afternoon in a terrible armed clashÂ among rival biker gangs boiled over at a sports bar in Waco, Texas.
The shotoutÂ took place outside the Twin Peaks Sports Bar and Grill at a shopping mall in the centre of the city, police report. Eighteen people were taken to hospitalÂ with injuries that included gunshots and stab wounds, said Waco Police Sgt. Patrick Swanton.
The clash took placeÂ shortly after noon and quickly escalated into a brawl involving clubs, knives and chains, the police sergeant explained. The fight may have been tied to a dispute over a parking spot, he supposed.
When the bikers began shooting, officers tried to stop the massacre, also usingÂ weapons.
No officers were hurt, Swanton said, praising their response.
“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.”
When the shooting ended, bodies were scattered across two parking lots.
â€śThese are very dangerous, hostile biker gangs,â€ť Swanton told reporters. â€śA lot of innocent people could have been injured today.â€ť
“There are dead people still there, there is blood everywhere … There are bullet holes in vehicles all over the parking lot,” he said.
“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.
“In my nearly 35 years of law enforcement experience,” he went on, adding:Â “this is the most violent and gruesome scene that I have dealt with.”
Harley Davidson-Waco, situated Â about half a mile from the scene, was closed indefinitely at the request of police, according to its Facebook page.
“We will be working closely with Waco PD to determine when it is safe to reopen. They have also requested that you avoid riding in the area if you have another form of transportation,” the shop posted.
Corporate management at Twin Peaks, known for its scantily clad waitresses,Â postedÂ a statement claiming thatÂ it was reviewing the circumstances of 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 reads.
Several locations in the city promised to postponeÂ Monday’s planned bikini contest and offered prayers to those affected by the shotout.
Finding motorcycles in downtown Waco stores appeared to beÂ difficult. The most obvious ones were the 100 or so in the Twin Peaks parking lot belonging to the 170 people arrested in Sunday’s violent fight.
However, three gang members were arrested trying to enter the crime scene, Swanton said. It is not clear if more arrests will be made, he added.