Texas police on Tuesday defended the initial release of three suspects — arrested among 170 others in a deadly biker gang shootout — after they were freed on bonds ranging from just $20,000 to $50,000.
But two of the men — Jim Harris, 27, and Juan Garica, 45 — have since been rearrested, while a third — Drew King — was still on the loose, Waco Police Sgt. Patrick Swanton told reporters Tuesday afternoon.
All three of the men, from Austin, were first arrested at the scene of Sunday’s shooting outside of Waco sports bar Twin Peaks with weapons, police said. They were booked on lesser charges instead of the first-degree felony charge of engaging in organized crime the other suspects faced.
“They had a right to bond that was set very early. They made that bond and they got released,” Swanton said. “It was not a mistake.”
But after the men made bond on Monday, state district judges realized that their initial bail amounts were too low, Swanton added, and should have been set at a higher $1 million each — just as the other bikers were given based on the felony charge.
Swanton said it was not anyone’s fault for releasing the men, and urged King to turn himself in: “Come see us before we come see you.”
Meanwhile, police on Tuesday continued to find weapons stashed inside motorcycles and cars left amid the carnage at the Twin Peaks parking lot, where nine bikers were killed as police descended on the scene. The brawl was reportedly between rival biker gangs the Bandidos and Cossacks.
Despite the rearrest of two suspects Tuesday, a lawyer who has represented Bandidos members told NBC News that he expects criminal charges will ultimately be lowered or dropped for many of those allegedly involved.
“You can’t charge someone just because they are there,” said lawyer Kent Schaffer. “They can charge them and set a high bond, but once lawyers get involved, those are going to get pared down.”