Police Stay on Alert After Biker Shootings

By: A.P. Email
By: A.P. Email

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A heavy law enforcement presence during the final day of a motorcycle festival in Reno and Sparks, Nev., prevented further violence connected to the shooting death of a prominent Hells Angels boss.

Authorities in Sparks lifted a state of emergency at 5 p.m. after Mayor Geno Martini said there were no further incidents at the festival.

The city initially declared the emergency and canceled all festival events Saturday morning after a shooting that appeared to be in retaliation for Friday's death Jeffrey "Jethro" Pettigrew, the 51-year-old head of the motorcycle gang's San Jose, Calif., chapter.

Pettigrew was killed in a shootout at John Ascuaga's Nugget hotel-casino. Two California members of the Vagos Motorcycle Club also were wounded in the fight that sent hotel guests and gamblers scrambling under tables and through the hotel's kitchen to escape
the violence.

Martini said cancelations were necessary because of the thousands of people, including children, who attend the event. This year's attendance was expected to approach 30,000 people in Sparks, Reno and Virginia City.

"The safety and security of event attendees in Sparks is a priority," Martini said. "The individuals who engaged in the violence do not in any way reflect the majority of the event attendees."

Events were allowed to continue in Reno, although city spokesman
Chris Good said police - along with state and federal authorities -
were not only on the streets in significant numbers but also had undercover officers in the crowds.

In a statement released Sunday afternoon, Sparks police said they were looking for witnesses to the casino shooting but didn't have any updated information on a suspect. They were also investigating the shooting of a motorcyclist a few hours later.

Authorities in Arizona arrested more than two dozen members of the Hells Angels and the Vagos in August 2010 after a shootout between them wounded five people but none seriously in the small community of Chino Valley, north of Prescott.


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