When news of the shootout between rival biker gangs at a Waco, Texas, Twin Peaks restaurant initially broke, the story was that nine gang members had been killed in a fight that also involved police exchanging shots with armed gang members.
But the buried lede in a KCEN TV report was this—”Police had been made aware of growing gang activity at Twin Peaks but did not receive cooperation from the management.” In fact, KCEN’s Rissa Shaw tweeted that in the time leading up to the shootout, “Waco Police [said] Twin Peaks national had to be called because Waco chain was uncooperative.”
With this as a background, think about the circumstances of the shootout once more. Police were already on scene before the shooting began and Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said a fight broke out and “quickly escalated from fists and feet to chains, clubs and knives, then to gunfire. Gang members were shooting at each other and officers at the scene fired their weapons as well.”
Swanton added: “This is one of the worst gun fights we’ve ever had in the city limits. They started shooting at our officers.”
In total, nine people died—all of whom were gang members—and “eighteen people were transferred to local hospitals with gunshot and stab wounds.” No word yet on whether any of those eighteen people are non-gang patrons who were in or around the Twin Peaks restaurant when they were injured.
Yet Sgt. Swanton made clear “that the event could have been avoided had the restaurant worked with Waco PD.”
So here’s the question: If Swanton is correct and the fight and subsequent shootout could have been prevented by Twin Peaks’s management cooperating with authorities, does this open the restaurant chain to lawsuits if, in fact, some of the injured turn out to be non-gang patrons who were simply in the restaurant to eat, drink, and watch sports on TV?
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.