I-35 at the 322 Mile Marker, scene of a deadly ambush on a Bandido
Waco – Sights seen while court watching are often amazing, rarely dull, and almost always fraught with conflict. Sometimes.
Watching the DPS pole camera video of what happened in the gunfight at Twin Peaks is like watching a bloody battle skirmish through a two-inch crack in a closet door. The camera’s field of focus is really only a few yards wide.
It turns a tragedy into a peep show, and then there’s the digital clock running through the slo-mo segments while Assistant DA Amanda Dillon halts the action, backpedals, and asks Agent Chris Frost if he sees anyone retreating, if he considers the menacing behavior of men wearing their club’s colors walking tall through their rivals’ space with their chests thrown out, their shoulders rared back.
Do you consider their behavior insulting? “Yes,” the agent answers in a monotone.
It’s an insult to walk so boldly, she emphasizes, repeatedly, asking for his assent each time.
The view is of a massive steel pipe supporting the bar’s sign, “Twin Peaks,” at what the tactical squad, the snipers of the SWAT Team call the A-D corner. In reality, it’s the apex of an inverted L-shaped formation.
“At 12:22:15” Ms. Dillon sings out, after many minutes of watching men walk around and into each others’ space rudely, one suddenly sees the Cossacks leaping over the rail of the patio where the COC meeting was to take place. The Bandidos have arrived at a point many yards off camera, stage left. Everyone runs that direction.
At 12:24:38, the first shot rang out, thought the video is silent, and everyone retreats, running back to their left, stage right.
At 12:24:53, Mohawk “engages” the Cossack with his bare hands, and at 12:24:58, he’s pinned in his death struggle. Big Jake Rhyne of Mingus, Texas, walks up at 12:25:00 with his gun in his hand. At 12:25:02, he fires and turns to walk away.
It’s a sickening process, as bad as watching something dreadful that you’ve been through before, a nightmare that always ends the same. In this case, it’s the death of a Marine with the road name Mohawk – Jesus Rodriguez.
He was not a Bandido, but he was wearing a supporter’s colors, and when he saw a man pull a gun, a man wearing enemy colors, black and gold, he didn’t hesitate. He assaulted him from the front, delivering a throat strike with his bare right hand, then wrestling the much heavier man to the ground, where he ultimately lost the struggle and wound up on the bottom, where his life ended when a very tall Cossack walked over with a pistol in his hand and casually shot him in the face. His autopsy report also shows a medium sized bullet hole in his back. As the gun-bearing assailant walks away, he is cut down by rifle fire, and the original challenger stands up, dusts himself off and strolls back into the fray, which is off camera, stage left.
The last bit of violence occurs when Bear Kirschner collapses before the big green pole, bleeding from a rifle wound in the back of his this, at 12:25:28. At 12:28:31, the scene is “contained,” according to the testimony of Agent Frost; the gunfire stops.
But, wait a minute. There is not a single picture of Jake Carrizal, not even the barest mention of his name. He’s the defendant, and he’s sitting only a few feet away from me, on the other side of the bar separating the gallery from the well of the court. He sits by while his defense counsel, Casie Gotro, bounds out of her chair to object to the form of the question, leading, calls for speculation, and is overruled repeatedly.
There is no evidence that he had any part in the killings we are asked to pay such minute attention to in every last gruesome and morbid detail.
We’ve heard all about what others did.
Chris Frost works narcotics for the DPS. He started out as a State Trooper, then took a promotion to his present role as a detective who often investigates gang-related crimes.
He tells the jurors that he first became aware of the “incident” at Lorena, at the 322 mile marker on March 22, 2015 (3/22). He says that he established liaison with Jeff Rogers of the Waco Police gang unit, and they visited the Legends Motorcycle Shop owned by the President of the Waco Cossacks, John Wilson. No evidence is offered to show that Wilson had anything to do with a deadly assault on a lone Bandido named riding his bike when three pickup loads – a forceof 8 to 10 – of Cossacks forced him off the road and beat him with a baton, a chain, a hammer, and “possibly a pipe.” It put him in the hospital.
The case is still open, according to a cop who compiled the nonexistent evidence.
Casie Gotro asked him pointed questions about what he didn’t do to solve the mystery of just who tried to beat the life out of Rolando Campos after he and his dad got into it with the Cossacks barreling down the interstate on their scooters – road raging their way to eternity.
He demurred, failed to answer her questions – politely. She didn’t bother to try to hide her contempt.
Again, no mention of Jake Carrizal.
It was one of four incidents that led up to the violence at Twin Peaks, according to the prosecution.
About two hours later, in near west Texas, a cashier at the Bar-B Truck Stop at Gordon, Tx recalled how at about 3 pm, her second cousin. Cossack David Young, pulled to pump 2 and filled his hog with gas. His wife came in to pay, and when she looked out the plate glass window, she exclaimed, “Oh, fuck!” Three pickup loads of dudes were whipping up on her husband’s head with a claw hammer. One man came in the bar wearing a black t-shirt with a Bandidos logo on it. “He asked me to do something I couldn’t do, and then he left.” She said she didn’t know the men threw down cell phones on the ground. The assailants left with the Cossack’s colors. The cop who drove in from Palo Pinto County never said who did it. There’s no proof they were Bandidos.
John Mason is the owner of the Oasis, a bar in the Ellis County town of Midlothian. He discontinued Bike Night in 2014 after “one of the most frightening incidents I’ve ever seen.” Members of “Red and Gold” and he Cossacks immediately began to compete for the territory within its narrow walls. It started with a staring contest. When a cuss fight started on a Friday night during a crowded karaoke party, he remonstrated with “Willie,” a member of a red and gold club and was “basically shut down.” He got nowhere with the Cossacks. When he got the same treatment again from the Cossacks, he found he had to usher his regular patrons out the back door at the unprofitable hour of 9 pm. By that time there were 60 more bikers standing by, and 10 squad cars from 3 counties. That is one of four “incidents” the court intends to review without mentioning specifics.
In an April 1 showdown at Applebee’s in Longview, Cossacks and Nomad Bandido Marshall Mitchell reportedly got into a verbal disagreement about wearing their colors. It ended when Mitchell left the scene.
According to testimony from the manager and the police officer who investigated, that was all there was to it.
According to a defense objection, “The only thing this can do is to prejudice the jurors…There has to be a nexus that involves Jake (Carrizal)…It’s inadmissible evidence.”
The judge ruled that the testimony could be elicited with no mention of the specific details of the cases.
What did all these folks have in common? Those whose names were not allowed to be mentioned were all arrested later at Twin Peaks.