Biker disputes police claims, says violence not planned

Posted at 3:08 PM, May 19, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-19 17:41:01-04

By The Associated Press

A self-described member of the Bandidos says a meeting held at a Texas restaurant where a deadly shootout ensued was organized to discuss motorcycle laws and other innocuous matters.

Jimmy Graves describes himself as an ambassador for the Bandidos motorcycle club. He disputes law enforcement claims that the gathering Sunday at a Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco was a prelude to a violent battle involving five motorcycle gangs.

Graves says the confederation of biker groups that gathered lobby for laws protecting motorcyclists and discuss harmless topics such as trademarks for club logos.

He acknowledges that differences with other groups, such as the Cossacks, have been "simmering and brewing."

The Texas Department of Public Safety in an annual gang assessment report describes the Bandidos as a criminal organization.

Police say the shootout began with a parking dispute and someone running over a gang member's foot. Nine people were killed and 18 wounded.

2:15 p.m. (CDT)

A Texas motorcycle club member who was at a restaurant when gunfire broke out says he was there to discuss the rights of bikers and did not expect violence.

Johnny Snyder said Tuesday that he wasn't hurt in the Waco gunfire that left nine bikers dead, more than a dozen injured and about 170 arrested.

Snyder told The Associated Press that he was questioned following Sunday's shootings but not charged. Snyder declined to say what he saw inside the Twin Peaks restaurant. He says he was only concerned about "me not getting shot."

The 42-year-old long-haul trucker is vice president of the Boozefighters Motorcycle Club in Waco. Snyder says members do charity events, have family gatherings - and are not gang members.

Snyder says he was attending a quarterly meeting of various motorcycle clubs about legislative issues.

12:05 p.m. (CDT)

Preliminary autopsy reports show the nine people killed in a large fight in Central Texas involving rival motorcycle gangs all died of gunshot wounds.

The reports provided by a McLennan County justice of the peace show the nine men ranged in age from 27 to 65, and some were shot in the head, neck or torso.

Police have said all the dead were members of two of the five biker gangs that gathered for a meeting Sunday at a Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco.

Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton says about 50 weapons have been confiscated from the scene, primarily knives and firearms.

Swanton has said officers outside the restaurant who were monitoring the gathering Sunday fired on armed bikers as the shooting moved outside.

11:30 a.m. (CDT)

About 50 weapons were confiscated from the scene of the weekend shooting involving rival motorcycle gangs in Central Texas that left nine gang members dead and another 18 injured.

Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said Tuesday that nearly all the weapons were firearms and knives, but also included a chain with a padlock for the purpose of beating others.

He says upward of 100 weapons may be found once authorities are done investigating the crime scene at a Twin Peaks restaurant where the gangs had gathered Sunday for a meeting.

Preliminary findings indicate a parking dispute at the restaurant led to the violence. Swanton says the shooting began inside Twin Peaks and continued outside, where bodies were seen in the aftermath laying in the parking lot.

10:40 a.m. (CDT)

Texas police say a weekend shootout involving rival motorcycle gangs that killed nine people and injured 18 apparently began with a parking dispute and someone running over a gang member's foot.

Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said Tuesday that an uninvited group appeared for the meeting of a loose confederation of biker gangs held at a Twin Peaks restaurant on Sunday.

He says one man was injured when a vehicle struck his foot. This caused a dispute that continued inside the restaurant, where fighting and then shooting began, before spilling back outside.

Swanton also said that of the 18 injured, seven remain hospitalized. He described their conditions as stable.

He says the police investigation is being hampered by some who "are not being honest with us."

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