— Donald Kerabatsos (@Papakila) May 17, 2015
A fight between biker gangs in Waco, Texas ended in gunfire Sunday that left nine people dead and another 18 injured.
Gunfire was also exchanged with police during the mass shootout that prompted 192 arrests, CNN reports. Authorities reportedly “anticipated trouble” between the groups before the fight broke out at Twin Peaks restaurant. Police pre-positioned officers, the site writes, but the fight turned mass shooting spilled into a nearby parking lot.
According to police, more than 100 weapons were recovered.
“There were at least three rival gang groups here this morning for whatever reason. As they were here, we had officers on scene. We expected issues,” said Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton, a police spokesman. He later said there were at least five gangs.
“In my nearly 35 years of law enforcement experience,” he said, “this is the most violent and gruesome scene that I have dealt with.”
In an interesting turn of events that sent social media afire, Swanton placed blame on the restaurant for being “less than helpful in dealing with gangs in the past,” CNN writes.
“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.
Employees of Twin Peaks and customers visiting the restaurant ran into the establishment’s walk-in freezer to escape the gunfire. None of the deceased were police, customers, or employees.
While police have not yet identified the gangs involved, Think Progress notes that photographs taken on the scene appear to show members of the Bandidos and the Cossacks, who have engaged in violent confrontations in the past.
“Many of the individuals involved appear to be white, including some with white supremacist tattoos and patches,” the site notes. And a photograph of bikers casually standing around after the shootout (above) is raising questions about how law enforcement treats specific groups. Individuals took to Twitter to compare the lack of force against the extreme response just weeks ago during protests in Baltimore over the death of a young Black man in police custody.
— Xultar (@Xultar) May 18, 2015
No plastic hog tied suspects, no tear gas, no paddy wagons, no beatings. …OH WAIT…white bad guys pic.twitter.com/AcGLHF3pSv
— Jeff Gauvin (@JeffersonObama) May 18, 2015
Waco brawl has 200 arrested, 9 dead yet they haven’t been called thugs, nor was a curfew imposed, or the national guard sent. SMH!!
— Toni W. (@MzToniToni) May 18, 2015
— Mark Claster (@MClaster) May 18, 2015
There were no fatalities as a result of protests in Baltimore, where thousands of heavily armed National Guardsmen were deployed into residential neighborhoods.
While it is not known if the individuals photographed are guilty of engaging in the gunfight, it must be noted that at first glance there appears to be a stark difference in the response from police officers and media alike, who continue to call the incident a “brawl.”
Do you think police response to the fatal shooting is lax? Sound off below…