The fatal May 17 biker gang fight at Twin Peaks brought international media attention to Waco this summer, overshadowing efforts to improve Waco’s image.
Members of the Waco Police Department were staged at the Central Texas Marketplace restaurant to intervene in the event of a fight. Their intervention, later praised in Waco Mayor Duncan’s related press release, limited the number of casualties to nine people. Approximately 170 suspects were arrested in relation to the fight.
Although Twin Peaks is six miles south of Baylor’s campus, the Baylor Police Department was also alerted to the day’s potential outbreak of violence.
“The Baylor campus itself was never in any danger, although additional officers were deployed,” said Lori Fogleman, assistant vice president for media communications.
Edmond, Okla., senior Sydney Gunderson, who was in Waco at the time of the fight, only noticed unusual activity when she and a friend drove back to the campus from Cameron Park.
“Police officers were standing outside the Convention Center with guns that looked like AK-47s,” she said. “We got closer to ask what was going on but they waved us away.”
On campus, Gunderson did not notice any signs of disturbance.
Although Fogleman is not aware of any students that were present at the scene of the fight, no innocent bystanders were killed or wounded. The only victims were members of biker gangs who had come to Twin Peaks for a scheduled meeting.
Although the fight drew attention to Waco and perhaps alarmed parents of Baylor students, both Fogleman and Waco Visitors Bureau Director Liza Taylor are not concerned with any negative effects the event might have on Waco’s image.
“We’re not getting a sense from anyone outside Waco that’s concerned or terribly concerned,” Taylor said.
The Waco Visitors Bureau will continue to focus on positive developments already happening in Waco, like the revitalization of the downtown area. Both the Waco and Baylor police departments remain prepared for additional threats.