All charges dropped in 2015 Waco biker shootout that left 9 people dead
Prosecutors say no one will be punished and any further effort would be a 'waste of time'
No one will be convicted or otherwise held accountable for the 2015 shootout between rival biker gangs in Waco restaurant parking lot that left nine people dead and at least 20 injured, prosecutors in Central Texas said Tuesday.
In a statement announcing all charges will be dropped in the deadliest biker shooting in U.S. history, McLennan County district attorney Barry Johnson said any further effort to prosecute the case would be a "waste of time, effort and resources."
"In my opinion, had this action been taken in a timely manner, it would have, and should have, resulted in numerous convictions and prison sentences against many of those who participated in the Twin Peaks brawl," Johnson said. "Over the next three years the prior district attorney failed to take that action, for reasons that I do not know to this day."
The shooting outside a Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco on May 17, 2015, involved rival biker gangs, the Bandidos and Cossacks, and occurred as bikers from various groups were gathering to talk over matters of concern. Fights and gunfire broke out.
Waco police officers monitoring the gathering also fired on the bikers, killing at least two.
Only one case prosecuted, ended in mistrial
Surveillance footage showed many bikers running from the scene and ducking for cover after gunshots rang out. A smaller number could be seen pointing and firing weapons, slinging a chain or participating in fist fights.
Law enforcement officers recovered dozens of firearms, knives and other weapons from the restaurant and adjacent parking lot, many of which officers organized indiscriminately into piles on the pavement and in the back of a police vehicle, dash-cam video showed.
Law enforcement officials arrested 177 bikers in the May 2015 shooting outside a Twin Peaks restaurant and charged 155 with engaging in organized criminal activity.
Former District Attorney Abel Reyna dropped charges against all but 24 of the bikers and chose to re-indict them on a riot charge. These are the 24 cases Johnson is dropping.
Only one case was prosecuted in court and that ended in a mistrial.
More than 100 bikers have filed civil rights lawsuits alleging McLennan County, the city and others violated the plaintiffs' civil rights by arresting them without probable cause after the shooting.
"It's a travesty that so many people were rounded up and then investigated, instead of vice versa," Mark Snodgrass, president of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, said Tuesday. "A lot of these people's lives were put on hold for four years."
Messages left for Reyna on Tuesday were not immediately returned.