Long History Of Violent Rivalry Led To Biker Shootings

One person died, two were wounded when rival biker gangs, in town for the Street Vibrations motorcycle meet, traded shots on a casino floor.
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According to law enforcement agencies, the shootings at John Ascuaga's Nugget shortly before midnight Friday and a possible retaliatory driveby shooting that followed were only the latest clashes in a long standing feud between two outlaw motorcycle gangs.

The Department of Justice which says both the Hells Angels and the Vagos outlaw motorcycle clubs have been involved in drug distribution and a variety of other crimes over the years and that activity has led to a violent rivalry.

The turf war between them erupted into gun fire last summer in a small rural community near Prescott, Arizona. Five were wounded, 27 were arrested.

Until Friday night other recent confrontations had apparently been limited to fist fights.

This incident started that way as well, but according to court documents casino security video apparently shows the fight escalating as Hells Angel San Jose Chapter Jeffrey "Jethro" Pettigrew pulled a handgun and began pistol whipping several people. Gun shots followed.

Police arrived to find Pettigrew and two Vagos members wounded and Hells Angel member Cesar Villagrano with his gun pointing into the crowd.

He surrendered and is facing several charges, the only person thus far charged in the incident.

Later another member of the Vagos was wounded in a nearby driveby shooting that police have yet to postively link to the earlier incident,

Pettigrew died of gunshot and stab wounds and is being mourned by friends and supporters in postings on the obituary page of Bay area newspapers and on an internet radio show where he was described as " a Hells Angel, but also someone's father, someone's son, someone's friend."

Bay area police spokesmen familiar with the two groups and the rivalry fear the shooting here will only fuel further violence.

Sparks Police say they were aware of the groups' history, but had no specific intelligence warning of an incident here.

At this point they say they are pouring over the casino video and hoping for more.

"We have witnesses and officers arriving on the scene who saw people taking pictures and video," says Sgt. Greta Woyciehowsky. "So we know it's out there."

Woyciehowsky says police have a means of keeping that information anonymous.

In addition Secret Witness has posted rewards for information leading to arrest and prosecution--$2,500 for the unsolved murder of Pettigrew and $2,000 for the driveby shooting.

Their number is 322-4900 or witnesses can text 847411, keyword S-W.

Callers may remain anonymous while collecting cash rewards.


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