Police defended Tuesday's release of three men charged in the Waco, Texas, deadly biker gang shootout, after bail for them was set as low as $20,000.
Bail had been set at $1 million for each of the 192 people arrested in the Sunday battle at Twin Peaks restaurant that killed nine gang members and wounded at least 18. But three men -- Juan Garcia, Jim Harris and Drew King -- were freed Tuesday on bails ranging from $20,000 to $50,000.
Release of the men wasn't a mistake, police said at an afternoon news conference. But judges who had initially set bail for the men quickly raised it on Tuesday to match the $1 million on the other defendants.
All three men surrendered and were jailed.
Low bail was set for the men because they were arrested outside the perimeter of the shooting and had different case numbers than the other detainees, KVUE reports.
State district judges Matt Johnson and Ralph Strother, along with Jail Magistrate Virgil Bain and McLennan County Sheriff’s Capt. John Kolinek, were trying to determine details of what led to the low initial bail. The Waco Tribune reported Strother said he received initial information that bail for the men had been reduced.
The judges ordered that none of the gang members' bonds be reduced without approval from a district judge.
The deadly brawl that erupted between the feuding Bandido and Cossack biker gangs stemmed from turf rivalry, The Wall Street Journal reports. The New York Times reported the groups "intended to discuss bikers’ rights and how to work on issues of mutual concern" before the melee broke out.
Members of the gangs have reportedly have threatened to kill police officers.