OFFICERS’ NARRATIVE OF AN AMBUSH IN A FREE FIRE ZONE
They wrote in the old days that it is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country. But in modern war, there is nothing sweet nor fitting in your dying. You will die like a dog for no good reason. – Ernest Hemingway
Six Shooter Junction – Supplements 0064 and 0081 to Waco Police Department case number 15-9146 are addenda to what has no doubt by now become the raft of paperwork associated with the “biker shoot-out” at the COC meeting of May 17.
I choose to think that they came to me “unknowingly,” as George Harrison said of the melody to his hit song, “My Sweet Lord,” a hymn to the Hindu deity, Krishna. Harrison chose to settle with the publishers of “He’s So Fine,” a sixties girl group ballad d’amor with the chorus, “doodle-lang, doodle-lang, doo-lang” in their plagiarism suit against him by saying his melody line came to him “unknowingly,” admitting no fault, and paying the undisclosed sum.
Eloquent of the old boy to do so, no doubt – only way out, and all that.
The documents resemble the ultra-severe Mondrian block, fill-in-the-blank database business form – the kind that makes the eyes roll all over the page, zooming from one detail to the next before landing on a topic – each one an exclamation point.
Before one has read more than a few words, it is plain these are after action reports penned by soldiers. Special weapons are ultra-light, very flat-shooting carbines with recoil compensators and muzzle suppressors to help the triggerman stay on target with surgical precision. These are commissioned civil peace officers, but they are serving in the capacity of fast action small unit raiders, equipped as such, trained to razor sharp precision.
It’s just a subset of the multidisciplinary business of criminal justice in all its diversified aspects, from patrol work to corrections, judicial and legal systems, counseling and behavior modification – each one a profit center for the corporate conglomerations who specialize in all this.
After all, what is war if not a hideously dangerous industrial activity, one that has been turned into a profit center in all its guises, “The War on Terror,” or “The War on Drugs,” perhaps, “The War on People Wearing Colorful Vests?” We owe our dear Mr. Vonnegut for those sentiments, no doubt.
If, as McLuhan postulated, the printing press gave primitive man an eye for an ear, then the style of writing preferred by the Martians among us resembles a murmuring shout, babbling bombast.
One learns that Officers Jeremy Finch and Vrail George reported the single offense of violation of “PC 71.02 1(f), Engaging in Organize…” No doubt the database slot ran out of room for additional characters and prevented the typist from completing the description – organized criminal activity. Type of Call is “Other – Special Crimes.”
Both reports say the offense took place on Sunday, May 17. The report date on Finch’s is May 22; George filed his on the day of the shoot-out. Curiously, though George reports the time the offense took place was 12:20, Finch’s report marks the time at 00:54.
When they set out for Twin Peaks from police headquarters, they were clad in their regular patrol uniforms, armed with pistols and patrol rifles, “and a few extra magazines,” says George’s report.
“Due to the nature of the situation the detail communicated on our encrypted channel ‘D.'”
Under the law, the offense report is public information, but it’s up to the able staff of the Texas Attorney General to determine if the material requested is “work product” or any other “excepted” information, such as ballistics reports, scientific analyses, witness statements, officer’s suppositions and impressions.
It also says that the records do not belong to the police, the AG, the judges, the lawyers, the clerks, legislators, or anyone else, other than We The People. All the rest of these characters, talking heads, titled goons and elected opportunists, are considered “custodians” of the record. More power to them. All hail!
How much does it cost to allow the government to control reality by withholding information about extreme violence that shatters the calm of a Sunday afternoon? Is it an undisclosed sum, one paid to keep from having to admit any wrongdoing?
We’ll take our chances. There are worse offenses than seeking the light.
After all, you only die once.
It says here that at 12:20 p.m. that Sunday, when shots rang out, both officers sprang into action as previously instructed at headquarters. They had been assigned along with others to report to 4671 Jack Kultgen Freeway, Waco where “it had been learned that two rival motorcycle clubs (The Banditos and Cossacks) were expected to be among the clubs based on information from Detective Rogers from his sources.”
Rogers has been described as a “gang expert” who works as an investigator the the City of Lorena.
They joined other members of the Waco SWAT Team, including Officers Michael Bucher, Davis, Fischer, Jackson, O’Neal, Pina, Rush, Nicki Stone, Sgt. Drews, Sgt. George, and Sgt Zboril, as they took up visible but remote positions in unmarked SUV vehicles and marked patrol cars, two men to a vehicle, and settled down to wait and watch.
In their briefing, their supervisors had told them to refer to the front entrance side of the restaurant, which faces the I-35 service road, as its “A” side, the west side of the building next to an area being excavated for the foundation of a new building as the “B” side, the rear, which faces north, as the “C” side, and the eastern elevation, where the patio is located, as the “D” side, facing the Don Carlos Restaurant.
The Bandidos arrived at 12:05 and within minutes, “Officer (Michael) Bucher that was with Officer Jackson at the front of the restaurant parked in front of the neighboring Don Carlos advised over the radio that it appeared that there was a lot of tension building between the Banditos that had just arrived and Cossack members that had been at the location since my arrival,” wrote Finch.
Within a couple of minutes, “I heard what I recognized to be a gunshot, possibly from a pistol being fired. ” He and his partner approached the “D” side of the building, “just outside the rear parking lot,” its rear walls on the north side, saw people taking cover between vehicles, and they told them to show their hands and lie on the ground.
As he alighted from the car, he heard several bullets pass his vehicle and his head. He got his rifle and joined Sgt. Drews and Officer Fischer.
As they made their way along the sidewalk on the “D” side of the building beside the patio area, Finch heard Bucher on the radio saying that there were still shooters firing from their positions on the ground, a man crawling with a gun in his hand. “…I saw blood all over the parking lot and sidewalk, multiple handguns, brass from fired pistol ammunition, knives, batons and other items all over the ground. There were at least four people on the ground that appeared to be deceased and had obvious gunshot wounds to their heads near motorcycles that were parked near the sidewalk and on the sidewalk.”
He and his partner saw Jeffrey Lee Battey and Ray Arnold Allen, both of whom were wearing Bandidos vests, standing behind the building, Allen’s face obscured by a full face helmet. About 5 yards away, Matthew Mark Smith lay on the ground, gasping for air.
“Mr. Allen and Mr. Battey were in a triangulated position to Mr. Smith and when I first saw Mr. Allen he had in his right hand holding a silver in color 1911 style handgun…”
A tense moment ended when Battey threw his weapon on the ground after Finch obtained a sight picture on him as he aimed his pistol back at the corner of the building. Both men lay on the ground, as ordered.
Mark Matthew Smith had been shot in his lower ribcage area, near his right side. When Finch located a pistol about four feet from Smith, he handcuffed him, and as he was searching him, the wounded man died.
The officers were obliged to explain to the wounded who asked for medical attention that no medical attention was available unless the patient was ambulatory and able to walk to get it.
Officer George reports that Officer O’Neal was trying to help a Hispanic male in his 50’s locate where he was shot. “…O’Neal and I began to cut his clothes off in an attempt to locate his wounds. They found one on his upper right shoulder. “The HM male asked for us to call him an ambulance. We explained that no medics were coming into the area at the moment because all of the shooting that took place. I asked if he could walk. The HM initially said “no.” I explained to him that he wanted professional medical attention that he was going to have to walk to it.” He and O’Neal walked him to a triage area at the side of the Don Carlos Restaurant “where Waco Fire Fighters were staging.”
According to George’s report, Bucher and Jackson both said they were engaged in hostile fire when the got out of their patrol car, that “they both returned fire and struck multiple suspects with their patrol rifles.”
In the aftermath, the officers maintained security of the perimeter, searched the building in case any suspects had tried to re-enter, and patrolled stores in the shopping center and at Don Carlos in case they tried to enter the building, change clothes, and slip away.
George wrote, “I and the Troopers went and informed everyone in the restaurant that we were closing it due to the situation.” Restaurant customers had said they saw two men wearing vests enter the restroom, then emerge without their vests.
Neither of the officers were able to knock off work until the early morning hours of Monday, May 18.