A brawl-turned-shootout between rival biker gangs left nine people dead and 18 injured outside of a crowded sports bar in Waco, Texas.
Police said there were between 150 and 200 bikers from five different gangs at the Twin Peaks Sports Bar and Grill when the rumble kicked off at around 12:15 p.m. local time (1:15 p.m. ET) on Sunday. Fighting spilled out from the restaurant, first involving fists and feet but then chains, clubs and knives before gunfire erupted. The parking lot was left a blood-streaked battleground.
"It progressed very rapidly," Waco Police Sgt. Patrick Swanton said. Police — who had been expecting trouble from the gathering — were already on the scene when fighting broke out and quickly called in reinforcements.
"They started shooting at our officers, and our officers returned fire, taking several of them down," Swanton said. "I'm amazed at the number of rounds fired."
He said eight people died at the scene and another died in the hospital — all biker gang members. Eighteen people were taken to hospitals for gunshot and knife wounds, with some victims suffering from both.
"I'm amazed we did not have innocent civilians killed or injured," Swanton added.
Nearly 100 weapons — including brass knuckles, chains, clubs and firearms — were strewn across the site.
"It was a very gruesome, very violent crime scene," Swanton said. "There were pools of blood, there were streams of blood… Probably one of the most violent, gruesome crime scenes I have seen in 35 years of service."
He said at least 100 people were in custody for questioning late Sunday night and criticized the restaurant's management for encouraging the biker gangs' business.
"We have attempted to work with the local management of Twin Peaks to get that cut back, to no avail," Swanton said. "They have been of no assistance. ... Apparently, the management wanted them here."
"We feel that there was more that could have been by the management," he added. "Now we have nine individuals that are dead."
The Dallas-based chain — which features scantily-clad waitresses and describes itself "the ultimate sports lodge known for its rugged man-cave atmosphere" — said it was "shocked" by the shootings that took place at its franchised restaurant in Waco.
"We are thankful no employees, guests or police were injured in this senseless violence outside the restaurant, and our sympathies are with the families of those killed," it said in a statement.
Jay Patel, an operating partner for the Waco franchise, said his management team has had "ongoing and positive" communications with police and will continue to work with authorities as they investigate the incident.
McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara, whose office is involved in the investigation, told The Associated Press that all nine who were killed were members of the Bandidos or Cossacks gangs.
In a 2014 gang threat assessment, the Texas Department of Public Safety classified the Bandidos as a "Tier 2" threat, the second highest. Other groups in that tier included the Bloods, Crips and Aryan Brotherhood of Texas.
The Bandidos, formed in the 1960s, are involved in trafficking cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamines, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
The Texas assessment doesn't mention the Cossacks.
There's at least one documented instance of violence between the two groups. In November 2013, a 46-year-old from Abilene, who police say was the leader of a West Texas Bandidos chapter, was charged in the stabbings of two members of the Cossacks club.
NBC News' Cassandra Vinograd and The Associated Press contributed to this report.