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Police in Texas call for motorcycle gang truce

Composite image of booking photos Image copyright AP
Image caption Police have taken 170 people into custody, some of whom can be seen here

Police in Texas are calling on members of rival motorcycle gangs to stop fighting after a deadly weekend shoot-out in Waco left nine dead.

Sgt Patrick Swanton said: "There has been enough tragedy and there has been enough bloodshed."

Seven people remain in hospital and 170 are in custody. About 50 weapons were recovered from the scene.

Sgt Swanton said the fight may have started when someone's foot was run over in a car park.

There was also anger that an uninvited gang had shown up at a meeting between other gangs, hosted by the restaurant Twin Peaks.

On Tuesday morning, police continued to pore over the multiple crime scenes - the restaurant areas, the bar, the toilets and the car park.

Police are keeping members of the rival gangs in different parts of the jail, the Waco Tribune-Herald reported.

Three of the men arrested were mistakenly charged with lesser offences and were released on Tuesday after posting a $50,000 (£32,000) bond. Texas officials said all three men were arrested again and are being held on more serious charges.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Officials have begun removing the motorcycles and other vehicles - seen in this photo from Monday - from the restaurant's parking lot

On Monday night, they began removing motorcycles and other vehicles from the area. Tow trucks are requiring a heavy police escort when they move the vehicles away from the scene. Around 80 cars or pickup trucks still need to be carried away.

The restaurant meeting was meant for a coalition of invited bike groups and the organisers had requested the outdoor seating area for the event.

A bike gang which was not invited to the meeting showed up, and a "disturbance in the parking lot" followed, according to Mr Swanton.

That incident sparked the larger gun battle, which ultimately left nine people dead. The names of the deceased have not been released, because family members are still being notified.

Mr Swanton would not say how long the shoot-out lasted, but said that police responded "within seconds if not within at least a minute".

He said that police were not inside the restaurant because they "were not welcomed by management".

The sergeant said that the "credible" threats made against law enforcement in recent days are diminishing.

"We think that those threats are toning down a bit. We appreciate that," he said, but noted that police are asking for "cooperation from known criminal bike gangs".

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