WACO, Texas, May 17 (UPI) -- Texas police announced on Monday that 192 people will face organized crime charges following the Waco bike-gang shooting where nine people were killed and 18 were injured.
Nine people were shot to death after rival biker gang members opened fire at the Twin Peaks Sports Bar and Grill in Central Texas on Sunday. The incident initially started as a fist fight, which then turned into a battle with knives, clubs and chains, and later, guns.
One witness described the scene as a "war zone."
"Twenty-five feet away there were families," Waco police Sgt. Patrick Swanton said. "This is one of the worst gunfights we've ever had in the city limits. They started shooting at our officers."
According to police, three rival biker gangs began fighting at the Waco restaurant while multiple officers were out in the parking lot arranging protection for residents. The fight started in the restaurant and spilled outside, KWTX-TV reported.
The officers were in the area because they had anticipated possible trouble at the restaurant -- which has been the scene of ongoing tensions between bikers in recent weeks.
"We had officers on scene. We expected issues," Sgt. Swanton said.
Eight of the victims died at the scene and one later at a hospital. Several others were wounded in the fight. Police said on Facebook that the Central Texas Marketplace was closed following the shooting.
Police immediately secured the scene. District attorney Abel Reyna told police two weeks ago that trouble had been brewing among the biker gangs for some time.
"Thank goodness the officers were here, and took the action that they needed to take to save numerous lives," Swanton said.
The officers at the scene engaged the gunmen in the fight -- firing their weapons, as well. However, Waco police said no officers were wounded in the gun battle.
The victims were taken to two nearby hospitals, one of which was placed on lockdown at one point, the KWTX-TV report said.
"We crouched down in front of our pick-up truck because that was the only cover we had," one witness told the TV station.
Police later responded to a crime scene at the Waco Convention Center and a gathering of bikers at a local truck stop. However, it was not immediately known whether either of those incidents were related to the restaurant shooting.
Though the gunfire was confined to the shopping center, authorities said they were concerned that some of the bikers who left the restaurant might instigate violence elsewhere.