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.”