WACO — One of nine bikers killed at a shootout outside a Texas restaurant was a Vietnam veteran and Purple Heart recipient whose family members dispute police claims he was in a criminal group.
An Associated Press review of Texas court records and a database maintained by the state Department of Public Safety turned up no criminal history in Texas for Jesus Delgado Rodriguez, 65, of New Braunfels. And his son Vincent Ramirez told the San Antonio Express-News that he was not violent.
Rodriguez was one of nine bikers killed Sunday when gunfire erupted at Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, where motorcyclists had gathered for a meeting. Authorities have said the shooting began during an apparent confrontation between two rival motorcycle gangs — the Bandidos and the Cossacks.
Waco police spokesman Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton told the AP on Wednesday that all those killed were part of those two gangs. He did not return phone messages Thursday seeking comment about Rodriguez.
Military records show Rodriguez was a Marine on active duty from 1969 and 1973, and received the Purple Heart, given to those wounded or killed in action. He also received a Navy commendation medal and other awards.
Family members said Rodriguez was a biker and had belonged to two now-defunct motorcycle clubs, one of which allowed couples.