Police Sergeant Describes How Waco Biker Carnage Began

October 18, 2017
By David Lee

WACO, Texas (CN) — A Waco police officer testified Tuesday that the owner of a Twin Peaks “breastaurant” declined to cancel a biker event where a deadly 2015 shootout broke out between the rival Cossacks and Bandidos motorcycle gangs.

Police Sgt. Stephen Drews testified that the owner said nothing bad ever happened during previous bike nights at the restaurant. He said police planned a large, visible presence at the restaurant as a deterrent for violence, but did not expect and were not prepared for the shootout.

“It looked like somebody took Cabela’s [hunting and fishing supplies] and turned it on end and shook it into the parking lot,” Drews testified. “There were so many knives, guns, clubs, you name it.”

Drews testified for the prosecution during the second week of the trial of Jacob “Jake” Carrizal, 35, of Dallas, in McClelland County Court.

Carrizal, a leader of the Dallas chapter of the Bandidos, is charged with directing the operations of a criminal gang, and two counts of engaging in organized criminal activity. The shootout on May 17, 2015 killed nine bikers and injured 20.

More than 150 people have been charged. Carrizal, the first to go to trial, faces up to life in state prison if convicted of all charges.

Tensions ratcheted up between the gangs when the Cossacks started wearing “Texas” bottom rocker patches on their vests without permission from the Bandidos, who claim the state as their territory.

Drews said police planned for the biker event with assurances that both gangs considered it foolish to have a violent confrontation in such a busy place on a Sunday afternoon. He testified that nothing happened between the two gangs until a column of Bandidos, led by Carrizal, rode into the parking lot. He said gunfire broke out seconds after hearing a fellow officer report heavy tension.

Prosecutors say Carrizal directed members to Waco and told them to be ready for a violent confrontation. A gang expert testified Monday that he saw evidence on Carrizal’s cellphone instructing members to “bring their tools,” or guns, not to travel alone, to leave women at home, not to tolerate disrespect and that “this is the life” they have chosen.

Carrizal’s attorneys disagree. They say the Cossacks instigated the shootout, that they showed up wearing bulletproof vests and ambushed the Bandidos before they could dismount their motorcycles.

From Courthouse News.

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Expert Witness Blames Both Sides in Waco Biker Shootout

October 17, 2017
By David Lee

WACO, Texas (CN) – A leader of a Bandidos motorcycle gang chapter from Dallas urged members to bring guns and not travel alone before a deadly 2015 shootout with the rival Cossacks gang at a Twin Peaks “breastaurant” in Waco, a state agent testified Monday.

Prosecution witness and gang expert Douglas Pearson – a police officer from Aurora, Colorado – testified during the second week of the trial of Jacob “Jake” Carrizal, of Dallas, in McClelland County Court.

Carrizal, 35, is charged with directing organized criminal activity resulting in a violent shootout at the restaurant on May 17, 2015, that killed nine bikers and injured 20.

More than 150 people were charged in the aftermath. Carrizal is the first to go to trial. He faces up to life in state prison if convicted.

Pearson spent his third day of testimony being cross-examined by defense attorney Casie Gotro, of San Antonio. Pearson disagreed with the defense argument that the Cossacks were the instigators of the shootout, testifying that both groups were criminal street gangs and that the shootout was “tit-for-tat, gang-on-gang violence.”

Pearson told Gotro that he saw evidence on Carrizal’s cellphone that he’d told other Bandidos to “bring their tools,” or guns, not to travel alone, to leave women at home, to not tolerate disrespect and that “this is the life” members have chosen.

Gotro asked whether that was not the same as evidence showing the Cossacks wanted violence, too. She said Cossacks showed up wearing bulletproof vests and ambushed the Bandidos before they could dismount their motorcycles.

“Does that not tell you that one side was the aggressor and the other side was not?” she asked. “Is it not significant to you that the president of one group is telling members to send members of another group to the hospital?”

Pearson disagreed, saying both sides showed up ready to fight. He said tensions between the gangs started when the Cossacks started to wear “Texas” bottom rocker patches on their vests without permission from the Bandidos, who claim the state as their territory.

Gotro unsuccessfully tried to have Pearson’s testimony thrown out in its entirety when he left the stand. State District Judge Matt Johnson rejected her motion to strike.

Several civil negligence lawsuits have been filed in addition to the pending criminal cases. The former franchisees of the Waco restaurant have denied responsibility, claiming that everyone who entered the restaurants “with the intent to engage in a confrontation with others” acted without the restaurant’s authority and were criminally trespassing.

From Courthouse News.

Waco Restaurant Denies Blame for Deadly Biker Shootout

September 2, 2015
By David Lee
DALLAS (CN) – The former franchisee of a Twin Peaks “breastaurant” in Waco denies responsibility for the gunshot death of a Dallas-area man, blaming rival biker gangs for the shootout with police that left nine dead.
Mary E. Rodriguez and her family sued Chalak Mitra Group, Peaktastic Beverage, Front Burner Restaurants and Twin Restaurant Investment Co. on July 2 in Dallas County Court.
She said her late husband, Jesus Delgado Rodriguez, 65, was not a member of any motorcycle gang when he was killed in the May 17 parking lot shootout between the Cossacks, the Bandidos and police.
Another 18 people were injured and 177 people have been arrested and held on $1 million bonds in McLennan County. Multiple lawsuits have been filed, citing the identical charges filed against people who say they just happened to be there.
Franchisees Chalak and Peaktastic responded to Rodriguez’s lawsuit on Aug. 28, claiming that everyone who entered the restaurant “with the intent to engage in a confrontation with others” acted without the authority of the restaurant and were criminally trespassing.
“Plaintiffs’ own conduct and/or the conduct of third parties is the cause of any harm that plaintiffs’ claim in this case,” the 6-page answer states. “Plaintiffs’ claims are barred as a result of their own negligence, which contributed in whole or in part to the alleged damages.”
The franchisees claim there is evidence that unidentified third parties at the shootout are responsible for Jesus Delgado Rodriguez’s death.
His widow claims that days before the shootout, Twin Peaks’ national headquarters in Dallas failed to cancel the event despite being contacted by police. She claims that when police tried to enter the restaurant on the day of the event, managers asked them to leave.
Rodriguez says the defendants failed to provide adequate security and profited from “gathering together armed rival gangs to sell them” booze.
“Twin Peaks’ conduct is an extreme example of putting profits ahead of known danger to the public, even after multiple warnings from authorities and specific knowledge of the risk,” the complaint states. “Defendant’s negligent conduct was more than momentary thoughtlessness or inadvertence. Rather, defendants’ conduct involved an extreme degree of risk, considering the probability and magnitude of the potential harm to decedent.”
The franchisees ask the court to declare that the widow and her family “take nothing” and pay for the costs of the lawsuit. They are represented by James Winton with Baker & Hostetler in Houston.

From Courthouse News.

Biker Widow Sues Twin Peaks Restaurant Chain

July 9, 2015
By David Lee

DALLAS (CN) – The widow of one of nine bikers killed in a shootout at a Twin Peaks “breastaurant” in Waco sued the restaurant’s franchisee and former corporate parent, claiming they profited from selling alcohol to armed gangs.
Mary E. Rodriguez and her family sued Chalak Mitra Group, Peaktastic Beverage, Front Burner Restaurants and Twin Restaurant Investment Co. on July 2 in Dallas County Court.
Rodriguez says her late husband, Jesus Delgado Rodriguez, 65, was not a member of any motorcycle gang when he was killed in a parking lot shootout between the Cossack and Bandido motorcycle gangs and law enforcement.
Another 18 people were injured and 177 people have been arrested and held on $1 million bonds.
Rodriguez said her husband was a “motorcycle enthusiast,” a former U.S. Marine and a decorated Vietnam veteran.
Rodriguez echoed criticism Waco police have levied against the restaurant’s management for hosting regular motorcycle club events.
“In the months leading up to the incident in question, law enforcement became aware of a specific dispute between rival motorcycle gangs in Texas,” Rodriguez says in her 11-page complaint.
“On May 1, 2015, the Texas Department of Public Safety issued an advisory statement to police warning of the likelihood of conflict between rival motorcycle gangs as tension between the gangs remained high in Texas. Local police confronted management at the Waco Twin Peaks with the intelligence they had received and their safety concerns about hosting the event, but Twin Peaks was resistant to the concerns or law enforcement (as it had been in the past).” (Parentheses in complaint.)
Three days before the shootout, the chain’s national headquarters in Dallas failed to cancel the event despite being contacted by police, Rodriguez claims. She says that when police tried to enter the restaurant on the day of the event, managers asked them to leave.
Rodriguez claims the defendants failed to provide adequate security and profited from “gathering together armed rival gangs to sell them alcohol.”
“Twin Peaks’ conduct is an extreme example of putting profits ahead of known danger to the public, even after multiple warnings from authorities and specific knowledge of the risk,” the complaint states. “Defendant’s negligent conduct was more than momentary thoughtlessness or inadvertence. Rather, defendants’ conduct involved an extreme degree of risk, considering the probability and magnitude of the potential harm to decedent.”
Twin Peaks and Chalak could not be reached for comment after business hours Wednesday. Rodriguez told The Associated Press her husband’s death “shouldn’t have happened” and that “the police should have stopped it.”
She seeks punitive damages for premises liability, negligence, gross negligence and wrongful death. She is represented by Robert C. Hilliard with Hilliard Munoz in Corpus Christi and E. Chevo Pastrano in Houston.
The defendants were sued within days of the shootout by a neighboring restaurant, Don Carlos Restaurant, which claimed they “disregarded basic common sense and ordinary prudence” by inviting armed rival gang members to a meeting where alcohol was served.
The defendants then sued each other over the parent company’s termination of the franchisee’s area development agreement that gave Chalak the right to develop six Twin Peaks restaurants, in Texas and Louisiana.
Several people who were arrested and given $1 million bonds have sued law enforcement on constitutional claims, for filing identical charges, and giving identical high bonds, to people who, they claim, simply happened to be there .

From Courthouse News.

Twin Peaks Former Franchisee Blamed for Waco Shootout

May 29, 2015
By David Lee
DALLAS (CN) – The Twin Peaks restaurant chain blames its former Waco franchisee for damaging its brand and reputation by asking police to leave before a deadly shootout between rival biker gangs.
Dallas-based Twin Restaurant Franchise sued Chalak TP Waco LLC in Dallas County Court on Wednesday.
The May 17 shooting at the Waco restaurant left nine dead and at least 18 wounded.
Waco police have been highly critical of the restaurant’s local management for being uncooperative leading up to the shooting. Several armed police officers were in the restaurant’s parking lot in anticipation of trouble and returned fire when they were shot at.
The corporation, which touts itself as the “ultimate sports lodge,” sells comfort food and cold beer served by scantily clad “Girl Next Door” waitresses, according to its website. It has more than 70 outlets in 23 states.
In its lawsuit, the corporation said the shooting “could have been much worse” if not for “the brave actions” of Waco police and other law enforcement.
“Three days prior to the incident, franchisee agreed in a telephone call with franchisor to verify and enforce certain important priorities of Twin Peaks National, including implementing proper security measures to ensure the safety of the Waco restaurant’s guests and team members during the event,” the complaint states.
“Franchisor stressed that franchisee should hold the safety of the guests, the community of Waco, and the Twin Peaks brand in the highest regard. Lastly, franchisor emphasized that responsible alcohol service should be monitored by franchisee and ensure that management presence is felt by guests.”
The corporation says that Chalak assured it that the restaurant was “100 percent fully prepared” for the bikers and that a “strong plan” was in place.
But it claims the franchisee’s management “chose to ignore” the warnings and advice from the corporation and police.
“In fact, upon information and belief, franchisee management asked or directed Waco law enforcement to leave the premises immediately prior to the event,” the complaint states.
Twin Peaks says it terminated the franchise agreement one day after the shooting, when the city shut down the restaurant and the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission suspended its alcohol license.
“The termination highlights Twin Peaks National’s continuing commitment to providing a safe and friendly environment for our guests,” the complaint states. “Twin Peaks will always be grateful to the officers who risked their lives in Waco to protect the public.”
Twin Peaks says the closure for public safety reasons and conduct that “materially impairs the goodwill” of the brand is grounds for termination under its agreement.
Twin Peaks spokesman Rick Van Warner declined to comment on the lawsuit Thursday evening.
“At this time, it would be inappropriate to comment on pending litigation,” he said.
Twin Peaks seeks a declaration that it is entitled to terminate the franchise agreement. It is represented by James D. Shields in Addison.
A neighboring business, Don Carlos Restaurant, sued Twin Peaks and its former franchisee on May 21 in Dallas County Court over lost business, claiming they “disregarded basic common sense and ordinary prudence” by inviting the armed rival gang members to a meeting where alcohol was served.

From Courthouse News.

First Lawsuit Filed in Biker-Gang Shootout By Neighboring Restaurant

May 22, 2015
By David Lee
DALLAS (CN) – A neighboring restaurant has filed the first lawsuit against the Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco where a deadly shootout between rival biker gangs broke out on Sunday.
Don Carlos Restaurant and Waco-based franchisee DC Waco Restaurant, Inc. sued Peaktastic Beverage, LLC, which does business as Twin Peaks Restaurant, Addison-based corporate parent Front Burner Restaurants GP, LLC, and Twin Restaurant Investment Co., LLC in county court on Thursday.
The plaintiff claims Twin Peaks “disregarded basic common sense and ordinary prudence” by inviting the armed rival gang members to a meeting where alcohol was served.
“Twin Peaks has been repeatedly warned by law enforcement that such meetings were not wise, and that violence could likely result,” the eight-page complaint states. “This was part of a nationwide program by the corporate franchisor that encouraged such events. Because of decisions that defy common sense, not only has the Twin Peaks lost its liquor license and franchise rights, but nine people are dead and at least 18 are wounded.”
The plaintiff argues it has suffered “as further fallout from these imprudent and unreasonable decisions.” It has yet to open since the shootout, saying police closed businesses immediately surrounding Twin Peaks.
“Patrons of plaintiff’s place of business were trapped inside the establishment as thousands of bullet rounds were fired by law enforcement officials and gang members,” the complaint states. “Law enforcement agents used plaintiff’s porch and surrounding walls to protect themselves from incoming fire. At least four cars in the parking lot of plaintiff’s place of business now have multiple bullet holes in them.”
Waco police have also criticised the Twin Peaks’ Waco management for being uncooperative leading up to the shooting. Several armed police officers were present in the restaurant’s parking lot in anticipation of trouble.
The plaintiff says the Twin Peaks location is a “known destination” for motorcycle clubs and gangs due to its sponsored events.
“Twin Peaks, through its operating partner, Jay Patel, hosted a special event on Sunday, May 17, 2015, for the biker clientele deemed the ‘Texas Region 1 Confederation of Clubs and Independents Meeting,'” the complaint states. “This meeting was promoted by Twin Peaks through targeted advertisements, including photos of scantily-clad dressed women holding various firearms.”
Twin Peaks franchisor spokesman Rick Van Warner declined to comment on the lawsuit.
“Since we have yet to be served and have not seen lawsuit, it would be inappropriate to speculate at this time,” Van Warner told Courthouse News on Thursday.
Touting itself as the “ultimate sports lodge,” Twin Peaks sells comfort food and cold beer served by scantily-clad “Girl Next Door” waitresses, according to its website.
It operates over 70 locations in 23 states.
Don Carlos Restaurant seeks over $1 million in actual damages in lost profits and punitive damages for negligence and gross negligence. It is represented by Anthony G. Buzbee in Houston.

From Courthouse News.