Authorities still unsure of who started Waco shootout: cops or bikers

Waco biker shooting

Nearly one year after the deadly shooting, it is still unknown who fired the first shots. (Photo: Associated Press)

As part of the ongoing investigation surrounding the shootout at a Waco, Texas, Twin Peaks restaurant last May that left nine dead and 20 wounded after two rival biker clubs and multiple law enforcement agencies clashed, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have wrapped up its portion of the investigation, which focused on firearms.

Altogether, federal authorities gathered information from 151 firearms confiscated from members of both biker clubs, in addition to casings and bullet fragments. Among the information collected by the ATF was whether any of the guns could be traced back to previous crimes, as well as where and to whom the gun purchase originated and who possessed the firearm on the day of the shooting.

While details surrounding the case are still somewhat scarce, the ATF confirmed that most of the bikers’ guns they collected and reviewed had not been fired, according to a report by the Houston Chronicle.

“We are just processing it for them; we are not making investigation decisions,” said Nicole Strong, Special Agent with the ATF’s Houston Division. “Now it is up to the police department to determine what they do with that information.”

During the initial investigation, authorities recovered a total of 44 spent shell casings. Of those, 12 were previously confirmed to be .223-caliber casings, presumably from police-issued rifles. The Waco Police Department confirmed the officers from their department who fired shots that day are on administrative leave, pending the outcome of the investigation, which could likely be lengthy. However, the department has not revealed how many officers are currently on leave.

Witnesses claim the incident started over one of the restaurant’s parking spaces and an apparent feeling of disrespect toward one of the group’s leaders. But what started as a brawl eventually led to gunfire. However, it is still unknown at this time who – among both law enforcement and bikers – fired first, who was an aggressor and who may have acted in self-defense.

After the shooting, the number of weapons recovered was reported to be close to 500, but that number was later reduced to around 300, about half of which are firearms. Other weapons recovered included “knives, brass knuckles, batons, tomahawks, weighted weapons, a hatchet, stun guns, bats, clubs, a machete, a pipe, an ax, pepper spray, and a chain,” according to a statement released by the Waco Police Department about month after the shootout.

Currently, 106 bikers have been indicted and face various charges for engaging in organized crime, with charges against additional bikers expected to come at a later date. The indictments have not been made public and a court-issued gag order prevents anyone involved from disclosing any details about the case.