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Environment group official says Texas water grid should wait

EL PASO, Texas (AP) — A proposal to study the possibility of a statewide network that would pump water across vast Texas should be sidetracked until more immediate attempts at water conservation are examined, a top official in Texas' largest environmental group says.


Texas News Briefs 09.18.15

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Waco police bullets hit bikers in May melee 

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Evidence reviewed by The Associated Press confirms that police bullets hit bikers in the deadly shootout involving two rival motorcycle clubs that clashed last spring outside a Waco restaurant, though it isn't clear whether those rifle shots caused any of the nine fatalities.

The AP reviewed more than 8,800 pages of evidence, including police reports, dash-cam video, photos and audio interviews related to the May 17 confrontation. The evidence offers the best insight yet into how the shootout unfolded. Four months later, authorities have released little information about what sparked the fight or how the gunfire played out, and no one has been charged with any of the deaths.

The evidence, which is expected to be presented to a grand jury, includes video footage of people fleeing the scene while shots ring out, audio of police threatening to shoot people if they rise from the ground and photos of bodies lying in pools of blood in the restaurant parking lot.

The gunfire erupted shortly before a meeting of a coalition of motorcycle clubs that advocates rider safety. At least 20 people were treated for gunshot and other wounds.

Many witnesses, including bikers involved in the brawl and waitresses at the Twin Peaks restaurant, told police that the shooting began after a Bandido rider hit a prospective member of the Cossacks with his motorcycle, according to the evidence. A fistfight ensued, followed by several minutes of shooting.

Waco Police Chief Brent Stroman said in June that three officers fired a total of 12 shots, but police have not said whether the bullets struck anyone, fatally or otherwise.

Officer George Vrail was assigned to a special detail to cover the meeting and wrote in a 724-page incident report that he saw two officers during the shootout who "had multiple suspects down on the ground. (An officer) informed me they were engaged by gunfire as they exited their marked police unit. (The officer) said they both returned fire and struck multiple suspects with their patrol rifles."

In his portion of the incident report, officer Keith Vaughn wrote that another officer spotted a man shooting into the crowd and told Vaughn that he fired one round "to stop the individual from shooting anyone else."

Following the shooting, 177 people were arrested and held for days or weeks on $1 million bonds on charges of engaging in organized criminal activity. But no one has been indicted, and it remains unclear whose bullets struck the dead and wounded.

It's also unclear when cases will be presented to a grand jury. Bikers were taken to the Waco convention center for processing after the shootout and were told on the way that they were going to be interviewed as witnesses, according to a 430-page Texas Department of Public Safety report that corroborates what arrested bikers have told AP.

But prosecutors decided late that night to arrest the majority of those detained.

District Attorney Abel Reyna and his staff told authorities at the convention center that anyone wearing a patch, clothing or insignia that indicated support for the Bandidos or Cossacks should be charged with engaging in organized crime, according to the report. 

More than 430 weapons were recovered from the crime scene, including 151 firearms, according to the incident report. Many weapons were taken from bikers. Others were recovered from vehicles, bushes outside the restaurant and the men's bathroom, where two pistols were found in toilets, photos show.


Texas City day care operator charged in infant girl's death 

TEXAS CITY, Texas (AP) — A Southeast Texas day care operator has been charged with criminally negligent homicide in the May death of an infant girl.

The Galveston County Daily News  reports 44-year-old Divina Archie of Texas City surrendered Thursday and was freed on $10,000 bond.

Archie is charged over the death of 3-month-old Amani Ball of La Marque .

Texas City police say the baby stopped breathing while at Archie's in-home day care. The girl later died at a Galveston hospital. An autopsy determined the baby suffocated.

Archie was indicted Monday. State records show her home was inspected three times in the three years before the death, with no record of any major violations or complaints.


Panel reprimands Dallas judge in rape case of girl, 14 

DALLAS (AP) — The State Commission on Judicial Conduct has publicly reprimanded a Dallas judge who questioned whether a 14-year-old girl who was raped was really a victim.

Judge Jeanine Howard on Thursday told The Dallas Morning News  that she's considering how to proceed.

Sir Young was convicted in the 2011 sexual assault at school, when he was 18.

Howard in April 2014 sentenced Young to five years of probation, 45 days jailed and community service at a rape crisis center. The judge, in a May 2014 interview with the newspaper, said the girl "wasn't the victim she claimed to be."

Young, now 22, was jailed without bond Friday on allegations he violated probation. He faces up to 20 years in prison.


South Texas man gets life terms for killing wife, son 

BROWNSVILLE, Texas (AP) — A South Texas man must serve life in prison for the 2014 shooting deaths of his wife and their 4-year-old son at the family's home.

Donald Edward Pierce of Brownsville pleaded guilty Thursday to two capital murder counts.

A judge then sentenced Pierce to life in prison without parole in a case Brownsville police have said involved domestic violence.

The bodies of Pierce's wife, Diana, and their son, William, were found Sept. 19, 2014, in some rubbish in the backyard. Police had been summoned to check a foul odor.

Texas News Briefs 09.17.15

Rescuers release 6 rehabilitated turtles into Gulf of Mexico 


Houston bus driver thought she was going to die in wreck

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HOUSTON (AP) — A school bus driver says she thought she was about to die as the bus plunged off a Houston highway overpass in an accident that killed two students.


Study: A third of adult Texans have been sexually assaulted 

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A newly released university study has found that about a third of the state's adult population, including about two out of every five Texas women, have suffered a sexual assault in their lifetimes.

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Dallas/Ft. Worth News



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