About 1,000weapons 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 broadcaster 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 CNN, adding an AK-47 rifle was among the weapons recovered.
The Central Texas Marketplace Shopping Center, with about 50 stores and restaurants located along a major highway that was shut after the deadly brawl, reopened on Wednesday, police said.
Authorities still are 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 170 people into custody and they are being held on bail of $US1 million each on charges of involvement in organised crime relating to capital murder.
The nine killed ranged in age from 27 to 65 and a preliminary autopsy report indicates they all died from gunshot wounds, according to records made available by the McLennan County Justice of the Peace.
Eighteen other bikers were injured and most have been released from the hospital. No police or bystanders were injured.
Law enforcement wants gang members to remain jailed as long as legally possible, experts said, as investigators try to find out who did what to whom in a fight among more than 100 bikers.
“A $US1 million bail for 170 people is ludicrous on its face,” said former Galveston County Assistant District Attorney Michael Haskell said.
“They want the big fish, but obviously they have some minnows in there and it’s unfair to them,” said Haskell, who now practices law in Fort Worth.
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