9 Dead in Texas Biker Shootout

9 Dead in Texas Biker Shootout9 Dead in Texas Biker Shootout

Police in the US state of Texas said nine people were killed and at least 100 arrested after a shootout between rival biker gangs in Waco. The incident happened in a shopping area called the Central Texas Market Place.

Police said eight had died at the scene and a ninth in hospital - all were bikers. At least 18 others were hurt. One witness said the car park of the area resembled "a war zone."

"There were maybe 30 guns being fired in the parking lot, maybe 100 rounds," the witness said, BBC reported.

Waco police said the shooting happened shortly after midday when rival gangs got into a fight, apparently over parking space near the shopping area. Up to five gangs were involved.

Police spokesman Sgt. Patrick Swanton said the fight started with punches and then escalated to chains, clubs, knives and finally firearms. "These are very dangerous hostile biker gangs. A lot of innocent people could have been injured," he noted.

To escape the fight, some restaurant customers and employees took cover in the freezer, according to local reports. More than 100 weapons were recovered, and Waco police said officers were continuing to arrest people arriving with weapons.

No officers were hurt, Swanton said, praising their response. One officer at the scene was hospitalized due to a "heat-related issue," not an injury, he said.

"Fortunately, none of our officers, nor any of our innocent civilians, were injured in this melee," he noted.