FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — The family of a biker slain in a shootout outside a Waco restaurant is suing the restaurant’s parent company for negligence, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Dallas County.
Twin Peaks recklessly hosted a meeting of motorcycle clubs May 17 after police warned of tensions between two biker gangs, according to the suit filed by the widow of Jesus Delgado Rodriguez, who is seeking unspecified damages and a jury trial.
Rodriguez, of New Braunfels, was among nine bikers killed in the shootout that authorities say stemmed from an apparent confrontation between the Cossacks and Bandidos, both classified as gangs by the Texas Department of Public Safety. Eighteen others were injured, and 177 people were arrested and held on $1 million bonds, on charges of engaging in organized criminal activity.
It remains unclear who fired the bullets that struck the nine who died; the results of autopsies and ballistic analyses have not been made public.
All but four of those arrested have been released, mostly on reduced bonds, and there has been no indictment.
Rodriguez was a decorated Vietnam War veteran with no criminal history. The 65-year-old man known as Mohawk died from gunshot wounds to the head and torso, according to a preliminary autopsy report.
Rodriguez’s death was “something that shouldn’t have happened,” his widow, Mary Rodriguez, told The Associated Press.
“I think the police should have stopped it,” she said.
Waco police became aware of rising tensions between the Cossacks and the Bandidos in March, according to spokesman Sgt. Patrick Swanton.
Authorities confronted Twin Peaks’ management with concerns about the restaurant hosting a meeting of the Confederation of Clubs and Independents, a coalition of motorcycle clubs that advocates rider safety, but Twin Peaks failed to cancel the event, according to the lawsuit.
On the date of the event, police attempted to enter the restaurant, but were blocked by management. State and local authorities then occupied positions outside the restaurant, including on the rooftop of a neighboring restaurant, Don Carlos, the lawsuit said.
Don Carlos filed a lawsuit in May, seeking at least $1 million to compensate for lost profits and property damage.