A meeting called to discuss motorcycle safety, held in a shopping mall restaurant in Waco, Texas, degenerated into an armed battle between biker gangs, leaving 9 dead and 170 (!) arrested. Why?
Apparently it was precipitated by an argument over a parking space, but the feud goes back two years ago when the Cossacks added the word “Texas” at the bottom of its “colors,” that is, the logo that constitutes the patch on their leather jackets. The Bandidos took offense, interpreting the new name of the “Texas Cossacks” to mean that the rival gang was claiming that all of Texas was now its territory. So violence has broken out between the two gangs ever since, culminating in the carnage at Waco. Nine people dead over a word on a piece of cloth.
It started, the police were told, with an argument over a parking space outside a sports pub in a shopping mall.
Another dispute broke out in the bathroom, and it didn’t take long before a battle was underway — knives, clubs, brass knuckles and bullets flying past the familiar facades of Best Buy and Office Depot.
By the time it was over, the parking lot at the Twin Peaks restaurant was strewn with shell casings, puddles of blood, bullet-riddled cars and abandoned motorcycles. Nine people were dead, 18 injured and more than 170 arrested on suspicion of engaging in organized crime. . .The occasion was a publicly scheduled meeting of the Texas Confederation of Clubs and Independents, a grass-roots gathering called to discuss legislative and safety issues, according to William A. Smith, a Dallas-based attorney and biker. “They happen about every other month,” he said, and always unfolded without violence.
The purported dispute involving the Bandidos and the Cossacks had its roots in 2013, said former Bandido leader Edward Winterhalder, who now writes books on motorcycle gangs and consults on television shows. The Cossacks club, which was founded in Texas in 1969, offended the Bandidos when it affixed the word “Texas” to the bottom of its colors, a territory-claiming patch also known as the “bottom rocker,” he said.
The Bandidos swiftly warned the Cossacks to remove the label, Winterhalder said, but the Cossacks refused.
Fistfights escalated to worse violence, including an incident in December 2013 when a Bandido leader was accused of stabbing two Cossacks in Abilene, Texas.
On Sunday, Winterhalder said, the Cossacks and their support club, the Scimitars, arrived at the Twin Peaks restaurant prepared for violence.