Biker gangs have a history of violence

Biker gangs have been a part of American culture almost as long as the motorcycle itself — sometimes demonized, sometimes glorified.

The Justice Department calls them OMGs, short for Organized Motorcycle Gangs. There are about 500 large gangs across the United States, with multiple chapters. If you count smaller, organized ones, the number swells to 2,500.

Add them all up and the FBI estimates some 44,000 Americans belong to OMGs.

From a disputed riot in Hollister, California, immortalized in the 1953 film “The Wild One,” to this week’s shootout at Twin Peaks in Waco, Texas, here’s a look at the history and violence of American motorcycle gangs.

1947 – The Hollister Motorcycle Riot

In the 1930s, the American Motorcyclist Association hosted motorcycle rallies in Hollister and the community loved them. The influx of bikers was good for business.

After a break for World War II, the rally was back, bigger than ever and with a flood of veterans drawn to the excitement and freedom associated with motorcycles. Following the war, life in mainstream American for many was just too mundane.

From July 3 to July 6, the little town of 4,500 residents was overrun with bikers, up to 4,000 by some estimates, but certainly more than the Hollister’s seven-member police force could handle.

Beer bottles littered the streets, people were sleeping everywhere.

Bikers did what bikers do. They raced around and popped wheelies. The state police were called in to clear the town.

The event got big play in Life magazine and inspired the 1953 film “The Wild One,” starring Marlon Brando. His leather jacket and brooding demeanor gave a face to the bad-boy biker image.

1969 – Hells Angels at Rolling Stones concert

This incident etched the Hells Angels into motorcycle gang lore.

Hired to provide security at a Rolling Stones concert in Altamont, California, a gang member killed Meredith Hunter, a man who rushed the stage with a gun after an earlier confrontation with Hells Angels.

The stabbing was captured on film. Witnesses reported several gang members stomping on Hunter.

Hells Angel Alan Passaro was charged with murder, but later acquitted on grounds of self defense.

Promoters paid the gang in beer, members had numerous scuffles with concertgoers throughout the day of the concert.

1972 – Drug dealer murder

The Bandido Motorcycle Club, or Bandidos for short, secured their own place in infamy after two brothers ripped them off in a drug deal, selling them baking powder instead of meth.

The gang kidnapped Ray and Mel Tarver, drove them into the Texas desert and forced them to dig their own graves before shooting and killing them.

2002 – Harrah’s Casino brawl

This brawl among the Hells Angels and Mongols took place in the middle of a Harrah’s casino in Laughlin, Nevada, after members of the rival gangs tried to use the same entrance.

The incident left three people dead.

Up to 80,000 motorcycle enthusiasts had descended on Laughlin, a town of 8,000 located 80 miles southeast of Las Vegas, for the 20th annual Laughlin River Run.

The 1,700-room casino hotel was fully booked for the event, and a hotel representative blamed the violence on outlaw gang members.

2006 – Sheddon massacre

In another stunningly brutal crime, the Bandidos gunned down eight of their own on a farm near London, Ontario. The killings were a move to take over this Canadian chapter of the gang, but only landed the members in prison.

2013 – Range Rover chase

This incident didn’t involve an OMG, but did include what a district attorney called a “mob of motorcyclists.”

Alexian Lien was driving his SUV in New York when he was surrounded by motorcycles swerving in and out of traffic. After being hemmed in by them, he ran over some of the bikers trying to escape. They later chased Lien down, pulled him from his SUV and beat him with his wife and 2-year-old child present. The developments were caught on video.

An attorney for one of the suspects said most of the motorcyclists didn’t know each other.

2015 – Waco Twin Peaks shootout

Rival biker gangs clashed at a north Texas restaurant after weeks of warnings of escalating tensions between the Bandidos and the Cossacks biker gangs.

The shootout left at least nine people dead and 18 hospitalized. At least 170 people were arrested and charged. More than 100 weapons were confiscated as well.

Authorities braced themselves following reports that gang members were arming themselves and heading to Waco.

News Videos
Jim Foley talks about 30 years of living HIV-positive
Jim Foley, who was diagnosed as HIV positive 30 years ago, talks at his home in Las Vegas on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Traffic Slows to a Crawl on I-15S Near Primm
Traffic slowed to a crawl around 2:30p Sunday, on I-15S near Primm, Nevada.
Homeless residents speak about safety
The homeless residents living at the corner of Owens Ave. and Main St. reflect on how they feel about their safety after two homeless men died, one was hit crossing the street and another was beat to death by another homeless man. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
CCSD Superintendent address alleged racially motivated threats at Arbor View
CCSD Superintendent Dr. Jesus F. Jara gives update on alleged racially motivated threats against Arbor View High School, and says such threats will not be tolerated. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Super Bloom Near Lake Elsinore, California
Crowds packed the hills near Lake Elsinore on Saturday to capture a rare selfie amidst the super bloom of poppies turning the landscape purple. The super bloom was caused by the larger rainfall this year. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Fiery accident in Las Vegas
A three-car accident on Spring Mountain Road around 6:30 pm on Monday night
A bipartisan coalition holds simultaneous rallies to promote criminal justice
A bipartisan coalition holds simultaneous rallies to promote criminal justice. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Stardust implosion anniversary
Twelve years ago today, the Stardust Resort and Casino was imploded. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Lawsuits filed against security contractors at Nevada National Security Site
Two lawsuits were filed today against the current and former government security contractors for the Nevada National Security Site, one on behalf of Jennifer Glover who alleges sexual discrimination and assault and the other on behalf of Gus Redding who alleges retaliation after he gave statements supporting Glover’s claims. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New housing option helps Las Vegas moms keep kids while kicking drugs
WestCare Nevada Women and Children’s Campus in Las Vegas has added a new transitional housing wing for women who have completed the inpatient treatment at the behavioral health nonprofit to help them as they go through outpatient treatment, shore up their finances and prepare to secure long-term housing. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Teenager in critical condition after being struck by an SUV in Henderson
Authorities were called about 2:45 p.m. to the scene in the 2100 block of Olympic Avenue, near Green Valley Parkway and Sunset Road. The teenager was taken to University Medical Center in critical condition. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Water Question Part 3: Conservation loves a crisis
Future growth in the Las Vegas Valley will rest almost entirely on the community’s ability to conserve its finite share of the Colorado River.
The Water Question Part 7: How much can we grow?
Many experts agree that Southern Nevada can continue to grow, so long as residents are willing to do what needs to be done to stretch our crucial resource as far as it will go.
The Water Question Part 6: How many people can Southern Nevada’s water sustain?
The number can swing wildly depending on a host of variables, including the community’s rates of growth, conservation efforts and the severity of drought on the Colorado River.
Mylar Balloon Demo
NV Energy presented a demonstration Wednesday to depict the damage that can be caused by the release of Mylar balloons.
Educators dressed in red have taken to the streets to demand more for their students.
Educators dressed in red have taken to the streets to demand more for their students. Educators from around the State are bringing the Red for Ed movement to the steps of the Nevada Legislature in Carson City, NV, and to the Grant Sawyer Building in Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Nature Conservancy Ranch
The Nature Conservancy just bought the 900-acre 7J Ranch at the headwaters of the Amargosa River, north of Beatty. The property could become a research station, though ranching will continue.
Swift water rescue at Durango Wash in Las Vegas
On Thursday, February 14, 2019, at approximately 8:42 a.m., the Clark County Fire Department responded to a report of a swift water incident where people were trapped in the Durango wash which is located near 8771 Halcon Ave. Personnel found one person who was trapped in the flood channel. The individual was transported to the hospital in stable condition. Video by Clark County Fire & Rescue.
Flooding at E Cheyenne in N. Las Vegas Blvd.
Quick Weather Around the Strip
Rain hits Las Vegas, but that doesn't stop people from heading out to the Strip. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Aaron Semas, professional bull rider, talks about his traumatic brain injuries
Aaron Semas, professional bull rider, talks about his traumatic brain injuries. The Cleveland Clinic will begin researching the brains of retired bull riders to understand the impact traumatic brain injuries have on cognition. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/ Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Matt Stutzman shoots arrows with his feet
Matt Stutzman who was born without arms shoots arrows with his feet and hits the bullseye with remarkable accuracy. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Secretary of Air Force Emphasizes the Importance of Nellis AFB
US Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson visited Nellis Air Force Base during Red Flag training and described how important the base is to the military.
Former Northwest Academy student speaks out
Tanner Reynolds, 13, with his mother Angela McDonald, speaks out on his experience as a former student of Northwest Academy in Amargosa Valley, which includes abuse by staff member Caleb Michael Hill. Hill, 29, was arrested Jan. 29 by the Nye County Sheriff’s Office on suspicion of child abuse.
Former Northwest Academy students speak out
Tristan Groom, 15, and his brother Jade Gaastra, 23, speak out on their experiences as former students of Northwest Academy in Amargosa Valley, which includes abuse by staff and excessive medication.
Disruption At Metro PD OIS Presser
A man claiming to be part of the press refused to leave a press conference at Metro police headquarters, Wednesday January 30, 2019. Officers were forced to physically remove the man. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Clients at Las Vegas’ Homeless Courtyard talk about their experience
Clients at Las Vegas’ Homeless Courtyard talk about their experience after the city began operating around the clock. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Las Vegas parts ways with operator of homeless courtyard
Jocelyn Bluitt-Fisher discusses the transition between operators of the homeless courtyard in Las Vegas, Thursday Jan. 24, 2019.(Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas police and Raiders partner with SafeNest
Las Vegas police and the Raiders partner with SafeNest on Project Safe 417 (the police code for domestic violence is 417). The program partners trained SafeNest volunteer advocates with Metropolitan Police Department officers dispatched to domestic violence calls, allowing advocates to provide immediate crisis advocacy to victims at the scene of those calls. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
North Las Vegas police chief discusses officer-involved shooting
North Las Vegas police chief Pamela Ojeda held a press conference Thursday, Jan. 24, regarding an officer-involved shooting that took place on Jan. 21. The incident resulted in the killing of suspect Horacio Ruiz-Rodriguez. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
Home Front Page Footer Listing