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 .
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