Hell's Angels, please sit down.
Hell's Angels boss killed in casino gunfight between rival gangs during Nevada biker event
BY Philip Caulfield
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Sunday, September 25th 2011
Officers keep detained several bikers at John Ascuaga's Nugget casino in Sparks, Nev., after a shooting that killed a Hell's Angels leader and wounded two others.
The leader of a California chapter of the Hells Angels was shot to death during a gunbattle between rival motorcycle gangs inside a Nevada casino that also wounded two others.
A fourth biker was wounded in a drive-by shooting hours after Friday night's shootout at John Ascuaga's Nugget hotel-casino, in what authorities suspect was revenge for the biker boss's murder.
Jeffrey "Jethro" Pettigrew, 51, the chief of the biker gang's San Jose chapter, was killed in the casino mayhem while two members of Vagos motorcycle club were wounded.
Leonard Ramirez, 45, was shot in the stomach, and Diego Garcia, 28, was hit in the leg.
Both were reported to be in stable condition at a hospital in Reno. Security was tightened at the hospital to protect the men's safety.
The violence forced the city's mayor to declare a state of emergency and pull the plug on the annual Street Vibrations festival, an annual week-long festival that brings tens of thousands of bikers rumbling into Reno, Sparks and Virginia City every year.
"After the retaliation, it's just too tense of a situation," he said. "It's hard to say what's going to happen. It's just not worth the chance."
One Hell's Angel, Cesar Villagrana, 36, was arrested in connection with the casino brawl.
Sparks police said video surveillance showed the burly biker firing wildly into a crowd, sending terrified gamblers diving under card tables for cover.
Cops said they weren't sure if he hit anyone.
The second shooting occurred at 10:49 a.m. on Saturday.
The unidentified biker was riding down a street near a square that served as the center of the festival when he was shot in the stomach by a gunman riding in a black BMW with tinted windows, witnesses and police said.
His name and location were not released for his own protection, cops said.
Investigators in Sparks haven't linked the two incidents, but Martini told the Reno Gazette-Journal that the second attack was "definitely" revenge.
Witnesses said the incident at the Nugget after a fistfight broke out among Hell's Angels and Vagos members.
Joe Franco, of Reno, told the Reno Gazette-Journal he saw a Hells Angel member pull a pistol after getting punched in the face.
"He was down with the bloody nose, gets up and pulls out the gun, and that's the first shot," Franco told the paper.
The casino was evacuated and locked down on Saturday, but has since reopened