About 1,000 weapons including firearms and knives have been recovered from the scene of a deadly Sunday battle between rival motorcycle gangs in the Texas city of Waco that left nine people dead, a police spokesman told CNN on Wednesday.
Gang members hid weapons in bags of potato chips and in bathrooms at the Twin Peaks restaurant, where they attacked each other with guns, knives, brass knuckles, clubs and chains, Waco Police Sergeant Patrick Swanton said.
“These were vicious gang members that were in our city Sunday,” he told the cable news network, adding an AK-47 rifle was among the weapons recovered.
The deadly incident was likely sparked by a simmering turf battle between two major motorcycle gangs, the Bandidos and the Cossacks, according to experts on the gangs.
The Cossacks have canceled a rally planned for this weekend in a rural area west of Fort Worth after the local sheriff asked them to call it off given what happened in Waco, the sheriff said.
“Tensions are still running high between those two bike gangs,” Palo Pinto Sheriff Ira Mercer said, adding it was the prudent thing to do.
The Central Texas Marketplace Shopping Center, with about 50 stores and restaurants located along a major highway, reopened on Wednesday after being shut following the brawl, police said.
Authorities are still investigating the main crime scene, the restaurant where the fight took place and spilled over into two parking lots. The battle ended in a gunfight with police positioned outside in anticipation of violence.
Police have taken into custody 170 people, who are being held on bail of $1 million each on charges of involvement in organized crime relating to capital murder.
The nine killed ranged in age from 27 to 65 and a preliminary autopsy report indicated they all died from gunshot wounds, according to records made available by the McLennan County Justice of the Peace.