DEVELOPING: Police in Waco, Texas say nine people are dead and multiple people are injured after a shooting between rival biker gangs at a restaurant Sunday.
“Officers were on scene when shooting started,” the Waco Police Department posted on Facebook. “No officers have been injured.”
Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton told The Associated Press that eight people died at the scene of the shooting at the Twin Peaks restaurant about noon Sunday and another person died at a hospital. The severity of injuries to others was not immediately known.
It is not clear if bystanders at the restaurant were among the injured.
Swanton said Department of Public Safety troopers, police officers from several cities and deputies from the McLennan County Sheriff's Office are surrounding the restaurant and securing the area.
“Please avoid the Central Texas Market Place as the area is NOT safe. Officers are continuing to arrest individuals coming to the scene with weapons,” the Waco Police Department posted on Facebook. “This is not the time to sight see as we are dealing with very dangerous individuals.”
Swanton told the station that the fight started in the restaurant with fists and feet, then escalated to chains, clubs and knives and then to gunfire.
Swanton said police were aware that gang members were gathering at the restaurant and officers were present when shots began.
Some of the officers fired on bikers as the shooting spilled from the restaurant into a busy parking lot, according to The Associated Press. Patrons and bystanders dove for cover.
A witness who asked not to be identified told KWTX that he had just finished eating lunch at the nearby Don Carlos Mexican Restaurant with his family and walked out into the parking lot when they heard gunshots and saw wounded people being taken from the scene.
"We crouched down in front of our pick-up truck because that was the only cover we had," the man said.
Victims were taken to the Baylor Scott and White Hillcrest Medical Center in Waco.
Swanton said authorities are concerned that gang members are moving to other parts of the city to continue the confrontation elsewhere.
McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna told KWTX earlier this month that law enforcement was aware of simmering conflicts between gangs that gathered at the restaurant.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.