Waco Revisionism: Police Retract ‘1,000 Weapons’ Claim, 4 of Dead Had No Texas Criminal Records

Tony Webster/Flickr
Tony Webster/Flickr

Several facts have surfaced that call into question the initial accounts of the Waco Police Department on Sunday’s deadly shooting at a motorcycle rights meeting. Waco police released information Wednesday morning that “1,000 weapons” had been found at the scene of Sunday’s shooting that left nine dead, but after the story received wide exposure they significantly revised that estimate down and stated, “We stand corrected.” In addition, four of the nine dead had no criminal records in Texas, according to the Associated Press (AP).

As WacoTrib.com reported in a story that as of 12:15pm East on Thursday still had an incorrect headline, Officials find 1,000 weapons, describe surreal scene inside Twin Peaks:

Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton initially said that number reached up to 1,000. Police later revised that number downward, and Swanton said officials actually have counted 118 handguns, one AK-47 rifle and 157 knives. Not counted are the batons, brass knuckles and chains, and Swanton said he does expect the number of weapons to rise.

“The earlier estimate was an attempt to give me a count and it was initially believed the number was higher than we now know,” Swanton said. “We stand corrected.”

The retraction of the claim comes on the heels of information surfacing that the Waco Police Department used a wide net in the arrests and apparently arrested many in an organized political meeting — a meeting police initially described as being solely composed of criminals intent on violence. The AP also reported information that could be unfavorable to the initial police narrative that media largely parroted, namely that a video of the altercation showed most of the present bikers running from the shooting and that four of the nine dead had no criminal records in Texas.

According to the AP:

According to restaurant security video shown to the Associated Press, only one of the dozens of bikers was seen firing a gun from the patio of the Twin Peaks restaurant where nine people were killed on Sunday.

Waco police in the aftermath rounded up about 170 people, charged them with felony engaging in organized criminal activity and setting bonds at $1m.

Police spokesman Sergeant W Patrick Swanton declined to comment about the video on Wednesday. Swanton has said the people arrested were members of biker gangs with criminal elements that have been monitored by local authorities for months.

The AP continued:

Among those arrested was Theron Rhoten, who showed up at the Twin Peaks restaurant for a regional motorcycle club meeting. But, according to his wife, he soon found himself in the middle of a deadly shootout involving scores of other bikers.

Katie Rhoten said her husband ran for cover and was later arrested, along with motorcycle-riding friends and other “non-violent, non-criminal people”.

Police have said that all those arrested were part of criminal motorcycle gangs. But based on court records and a search of their names in a database maintained by the Texas Department of Public Safety, only five of the nine people killed had criminal histories in Texas.

As Breitbart Texas reported, the Waco Police Department’s description of the event was incorrect. The meeting was held by the Texas Confederation of Clubs and Independents, a group with wide acceptance in the motorcycle community. Though some biker gang members attend and participate, the group is political in nature and works on legislative issues. It is composed of politically-active motorcyclists from all walks of life.