Nearly 200 people have been arrested following a brawl between rival motorcycle gang members that left nine people dead in Waco, Texas.
The fight broke out on Sunday in a restroom at the Twin Peaks Sports Bar and Grill, and spilled into a parking lot as members of as many as five gangs fought each other with knives, chains and guns in front of terrified bystanders.
“One hundred ninety two individuals are being arrested and processed this morning in reference to the Twin Peaks shooting,” the Waco Police Department said in a statement on Monday.
“They will all face ‘engaging in organised crime’ charges,” police said on the department’s Facebook site.
“They are being booked and processed at this time,” the statement said, adding that the restaurant has been ordered to close for at least the next seven days.
Nine gang members were killed in the mayhem, and local news outlets reported that as many as 18 people were wounded, most from gunshots and stabbings.
“In 34 years of law enforcement this is the most violent crime scene I have ever been involved in. There is blood everywhere,” Sergeant Patrick Swanton told the Waco Tribune-Herald.
“Twenty-five feet away there were families,” he said. “This is one of the worst gun fights we’ve ever had in the city limits. They started shooting at our officers.”
Police fired their weapons to quell the melee. They said more than 100 weapons were collected from the chaotic and bloody scene.
The Twin Peaks is located in a popular Waco shopping and dining centre known as the Central Texas Marketplace.
Police had been aware of a planned biker gathering in advance and officers intervened quickly, but not before the bathroom fist fight spun out of control.
Swanton said police had made their concerns known beforehand to Twin Peaks, but the bar – part of a so-called “breastaurant” chain known for its scantily clad waitresses – had not been cooperative.