Crime Texas prosecutors drop dozens more cases from Waco shooting
Seconds mattered: How the response at Parkland went wrong in 11 minutes
Ten people lay dead or dying on the first floor of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School's freshman building when assistant football coach Aaron Feis rushed across campus and burst through the structure's west door to confront Nikolas Cruz. The burly Feis nearly grabbed Cruz, who was heading up a stairwell to the second floor when Cruz shot him. Not far from the building, Broward Sheriff's Office deputy Scot Peterson heard the gunfire crack out the open door.It was Feb. 14, Valentine's Day, two minutes after the shooting started.Gripped by an unholy bloodlust, Cruz kept firing for another four minutes, until 2:27 p.m.
FORT WORTH, Texas — Prosecutors on Tuesday dismissed more than 60 cases stemming from a 2015 shooting in Waco involving rival biker clubs that left nine dead, the latest sign of serious trouble for an ambitious pursuit of convictions following the deadliest biker shooting in U.S. history.
The FBI Is in Crisis and America Is Paying the Price
In normal times, the televisions are humming at the FBI’s 56 field offices nationwide, piping in the latest news as agents work their investigations. But these days, some agents say, the TVs are often off to avoid the crush of bad stories about the FBI itself. The bureau, which is used to making headlines for nabbing crooks, has been grabbing the spotlight for unwanted reasons: fired leaders, texts between lovers and, most of all, attacks by President Trump. “I don’t care what channel it’s on,” says Tom O’Connor, a veteran investigator in Washington who leads the FBI Agents Association.
McLennan County prosecutors tossed out 66 more cases and have dismissed or refused 154 of the original 192 cases since February, saying they wanted to focus on those who were "more culpable." Officials said in late April that only about 25 cases will be prosecuted of the more than 150 people ultimately indicted on felony charges of engaging in organized criminal activity.
Police arrested nearly 200 bikers following the mayhem at a Twin Peaks restaurant involving members of the Bandidos and Cossacks motorcycle clubs. Waco police officers monitoring the gathering also fired on the bikers, shooting at least two fatally.
Only one biker — Jake Carrizal, a locomotive driver and the president of the Dallas chapter of the Bandidos — has been tried and it ended in a hung jury and a mistrial last fall.
1st murder charges filed in 2015 biker shooting in Texas
Three bikers have been indicted on murder charges stemming from a 2015 shooting involving police outside a restaurant in Waco, Texas. They include a prominent member of the Bandidos motorcycle club. The Wednesday indictments mark the first murder charges in the case. Police arrested nearly 200 bikers following the shooting that left nine people dead and 20 injured. Most of those cases were dropped earlier this year.The indictments mark the first murder charges in the case, and more than 20 other bikers were re-indicted on new charges ranging from rioting to tampering with evidence. The lesser charges come just eight days before the statute of limitations on such crimes runs out.
The county's district attorney, Abel Reyna, said in a statement in February announcing the first round of disposed cases that information gleaned during Carrizal's trial was "invaluable" in his office's decision to narrow the focus of its investigation. That trial was fraught with delays as Carrizal's defense attorneys repeatedly demonstrated to the presiding judge that prosecutors had not shared all of the evidence required by law.
Reyna added that prosecutors were expecting to review evidence from a federal racketeering trial in San Antonio against the former president and vice president of the Bandidos after it had concluded.
The trial ended Monday, and it is unclear whether prosecutors in Waco have reviewed any federal evidence. Reyna declined to comment Tuesday.
The bulk of the dismissals and refusals followed Reyna's defeat in a Republican primary election in March.
George Soros, Progressive Groups To Spend Millions To Elect Reformist Prosecutors
A broad progressive coalition is spending millions of dollars to oust hard-line prosecutors around the country and replace them with criminal justice reform advocates. The allies are hoping to replicate what is already happening in Philadelphia, where new District Attorney Larry Krasner (D) is reshaping the city’s criminal justice system with the goal of ending mass incarceration. Billionaire George Soros, who backed Krasner’s election in 2017 with a $1.45 million donation, is investing in other district attorney races across the nation this cycle.
A judge on Monday dismissed one of the four cases Reyna recused his office from prosecuting, an action Reyna said was taken to avoid the appearance of a conflict. In the motion to dismiss, Brian Roberts, a special prosecutor in the case, said that the biker, Matthew Clendennen, a landscape-lighting business owner in Hewitt, Texas, should never have been charged.
"Frankly, you can't just wholesale charge 192 people because they were wearing vests and have some connection with a motorcycle club," Roberts said, adding that "there's more to a charging decision. Presence alone is not enough."
Surveillance footage showed many bikers running from the scene and ducking for cover after gunshots rang out. A smaller number could be seen pointing and firing weapons, slinging a chain or participating in fistfights. Law enforcement officers recovered dozens of firearms, knives and other weapons from the restaurant and adjacent parking lot, many of which officers organized indiscriminately into piles on the pavement and in the back of a police vehicle, dash-cam video showed.
By Tuesday, only 37 of the original 154 bikers remained under indictment. Bikers and defense attorneys expected additional dismissals during another status hearing set for Thursday in Waco.
Here are the victims of the Texas school shooting .
An exchange student and a substitute teacher were among 10 people killed Friday in TexasA young boy prays during a vigil held at the Texas First Bank after a shooting left several people dead at Santa Fe High School on May 18 in Santa Fe, Texas.
Texas prosecutors drop dozens more cases from Waco shooting
Texas prosecutors drop dozens more cases from Waco shooting FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Prosecutors on Tuesday dismissed more than 60 cases ...
10 Dark Mysteries Involving Strange Cults
10 Dark Mysteries Involving Strange Cults. Most people can't understand the decision to join a cult. It's hard to fathom the motivation behind someone who ...