A member of motorcycle gang 'Bandidos' waits in front the regional court in Duisburg March 25, 2010. A member of 'Hells Angels' is accused of having murdered a member of 'Bandidos' on October 8, 2009 in western town of Duisburg. REUTERS/Ina Fassbender

Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton has never seen a crime scene like the Twin Peaks Restaurant in Waco Texas "There's blood everywhere. We will probably approach the number of 100 weapons," he told reporters. About 200 bikers were present during the altercation, which included members of the Bandidos, Cossacks and Scimitars gangs. Swanton said that at least 9 are dead after a brawl erupted around midday on Sunday May 17th, terrifying local residents and patrons of the Central Texas Marketplace, the shopping center where Twin Peaks is located. The altercation reportedly began over a parking space and devolved into a brawl that included fisticuffs, knives and chains. At some point, bikers started to bring out guns and start shooting.

Why did bikers congregate at Twin Peaks in the first place? The short answer is booty, booze and burgers. Twin Peaks is a lumberjack-themed “breastraunt,” whose owner CEO Randy DeWitt once told Bloomberg that “Hooters just wasn’t racy enough.” It’s an aggressive business model, whose customers are typified, though perhaps caricatured, by the rowdy male members of the violent biker gangs. The long answer is that Twin Peaks franchises host “Bike Nights,” which include specials geared towards bikers. Police say that these theme nights have been a catalyst for violent altercations in the past.

As early as two months ago, police knew that tensions were running high between rival gangs. “There’s been some trouble brewing between these gangs for sometime,” McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara told reporters after the shooting. Officials were so concerned about violence breaking out on Biker Night that they asked the Waco franchise owner to cancel the event, according to local media. When the owner refused, police pleaded higher-ups of the Twin Peaks chain. Its unclear to what extent the national franchisor cooperated with police, but in any case it did not close down the event. Refusing advice from the police is not a crime, and Twin Peaks administrators are not being charged by police. However, authorities were surprised when local Waco Twin Peaks published a note on its Facebook page saying that it would “continue” to cooperate with police.

“[...]Our management team has had ongoing and positive communications with the police and we will continue to work with them as we all want to keep violent crime out of our businesses and community. We will continue to cooperate with the police as they investigate this terrible crime," the Twin Peaks statement said.

waco fb screenshot
Waco Twin Peaks statement of cooperation is a 'fabrication,' say police, adding that the restaurant refused their advice to cancel a bike night that led to 9 deaths and 192 criminal charges after a brawl. Waco Twin Peaks / Facebook

On Monday morning, Sgt. Swanson called the statement a “complete fabrication.” After his comments, Twin Peaks stealthily corrected post on their Facebook page. The company has not acknowledged police efforts to cancel the Bike Bike night. Of the hundreds of bikers that were present during the brawl, 192 have been charged as of Monday morning.

Police have summarily closed the restaurant for seven days, stressing that it’s not a punitive measure, but a protective one to prevent another burst of violence as bikers flood into Waco following the incident. The closure was ordered by police, but it’s hard to think that the restaurant would be open anyway. With floors and sidewalks still covered in blood, its unimaginable that any amount of booze, booty and beer pull in patrons in today.

bike night
Example of a Bike Night event from an Oklahoma Twin Peaks franchise. Police placed some of the blame on a Waco franchise for refusing to cancel an event that they suspected would erupt in violence. On Sunday, 9 were dead, including some likely killed by police. Courtesy, Twin Peaks Franchise
Corrections: this article was amended to reflect the true author of the Facebook statement, which is the local Waco Franchise, not the national organization. National Twin Peaks representitives told the Latin Times in an email "We also warned them," but did not detail how, when or why the warnings went unheeded.

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