Lee West shows position in which a biker fell. His fingers point to a scar in the concrete where a ricochet pierced the corrugated metal of the rear wall of Twin Peaks on May 17 (click image for full size)
Lee West contacted The Legendary after this story had been given considerable attention, saying this: “My loyalty is to men and women being falsely accused and shot and killed trying to eat and meet. I care not about readership of mis-construed facts.” He said he regrets having given an interview about matters only those who were there would have known. Those folks may not have been at liberty to speak. We extend our regrets because talking about severe trauma is good for the soul.
Waco – There is a declivity between the decorative stuccoed walls that mask the refrigeration and air conditioning equipment at the rear of this doomed building.
Lee West stands there in the 100-degree heat, explaining where he thinks there are huge holes in what is known of the story of what happened there on May 17. He relates the recollections of bikers he has interviewed. Suddenly, he locks eyes with the interviewer, and the thousand-yard stare says it all when he zones back in. There is a fleeting look of despair. Then, quick as flipping the channel on a TV, he is back in the groove.
In that small space, a number of bikers sheltered from what they have described as withering semiautomatic rifle fire they encountered from a phalanx of three squads of police shooters who laid an L-shaped ambush when members of the Cossacks and Bandidos – as well as other clubs – either attempted to dismount their bikes, alighted from cars and truck parked behind the restaurant, or jumped the patio railing.
That was the signal for police to begin firing, according to Lee West, who has made extensive contact with bikers who were either treated and released after being wounded, sent to jail and charged with engaging in organized criminal activity, or rounded up in the aftermath of the bloody events of May 17.
According to his sources, men who are under the strictures of bond conditions that could send them back to jail, their bond fees forfeited if they speak openly, there were certain conditions imposed by their questioners, the Waco Police Department, DPS, and other investigators as yet unnamed.
Those who were wounded and said they were sure the bullets came from the firearms of other bikers were released. Those who said they were pretty sure it was police gunfire that cut them down went to jail, according to West. In all, 20 were wounded, 9 lost their lives, and 177 were arrested and charged. Police arrested an additional 62, then released them without charges, records as yet unreleased show.
West is an internet jockey, builder of websites, on-line radio shows, a former serviceman, and alienated by a legal system that kept him locked up for six months on a civil complaint regarding child support in the penitentiary and mental health hospital-rich environment of Cherokee County, home of the State Hospital at Rusk. “People just disappear there,” he declares.
His first job out of high school was selling firearms and ammunition at a big box store in Jacksonville, his home town.
A judge of the County Court At Law told him there would be no writ of habeas corpus. That right has been suspended in time of war, he explained. Like many young men in their post armed forces experience, West is looking to fight back.
As the interview wound down, two corporate types in casual dress arrived with a real estate agent. They said they are from a restaurant franchising outfit out of Chicago, looking to locate a “Chicago Dogs” microbrewery beer, brats, and buns theme restaurant in Waco. They honestly did not recognize the Twin Peaks location. One man shook his head, talked about how a deal would either “pencil out,” or it wouldn’t. He said he’s from Brooklyn. “This place is worthless,” he said with a shrug. “Besides, it doesn’t fit our profile, our business plan.”
Bleach ran in rivulets, marking the concrete where crime scene clean-up crews washed away the blood after police released the bodies of slain bikers for transport to the medical examiner’s offices at Dallas.