Nugget Shootout Testimony: "We Co-Existed"

RENO, NV - The prosecution continues to try and prove Vagos member Ernesto Gonzalez pre-planned to kill Hells Angel San Jose Chapter President Jeffrey Pettigrew two years ago at John Ascuaga's Nugget in Sparks. The shooting happened at a Street Vibrations gathering where Pettigrew and his colleagues spent time at the casino, traditionally a Vagos hangout. But both Vagos and Hells Angels witnesses who took the stand Monday deny there was an premeditation or even a rivalry between the two San Jose motorcycle clubs.

Richard Nickerson was the first to take the stand Monday.

He testified he'd been a Vagos for roughly four years and was a good friend of Ernesto Gonzalez during that time.

Nickerson says he came up to Street Vibrations with Gonzalez two years ago and at no time was aware his friend had a gun.

He says the Hells Angels and the Vagos co-existed in San Jose, and did so that night until a Los Angeles Vagos, Gary Rudnick, started problems.

“Some drunken fool in our club shot his mouth off and started up a hornet's nest,” testified Nickerson.

Nickerson says the tension built once on the casino floor.

He says prior to that at a Vagos meeting upstairs, there was no talk of the Hells Angels and what should be done about their presence at the Nugget.

Lake County Vagos President Gregory Fearn testified to the same thing.

Even though the prosecution claimed the Lake County Chapter and the Hells Angels were rivals, Fearn denied it.

He too said there was no talk of the Hells Angels at the meeting upstairs.

When defense attorney Kenneth Lyon asked if a fight was pre-planned, would Fearn have asked his daughter to the event.

“If you know there would a problem with The HAs would you have your daughter there?” asked Lyon.
“Heck no,” replied Fearn.
“Put her in danger?” asked Lyon.
“Sorry, no,” said Fearn.

Fearn testified he was pistol-whipped by Jeffrey Pettigrew, and said before that, the San Jose Hells Angel President fired off several rounds on the casino floor before hitting Fearn in the head.

Jurors also heard a taped interview with Hells Angel Bob Viera, also from the San Jose Chapter.

He too said in an interview with Sparks police there was no problem with the Vagos in San Jose and that Gary Rudnick was the one who started all the problems that night.

Rudnick is the star witness for the prosecution and is supposed to testify of the plans by the Vagos to kill Pettigrew.

Rudnick is scheduled to take the stand Wednesday.