Biker War Sparked in Nevada Casino

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A Hells Angels leader was shot dead and two members of the rival Vagos motorcycle club were injured, in a shooting at Nevada casino, authorities said.

Jeffrey “Jethro” Pettigrew, 51, the president of the San Jose chapter of the Hell’s Angels motorcycle club, was killed at John Ascuaga’s Nugget hotel-casino in Sparks, Nev. late Friday.

Two members from of the Vagos motorcycle club, Leonard Ramirez, 45, and Diego Garcia, 28, of California were injured.

Police say their injuries are non-life-threatening.

Just before 11:30 p.m. Friday, a fight broke out involving members of the rival Hell’s Angels and Vagos motorcycle clubs.

Shots were fired near Trader Dick’s bar inside the casino. No employees or Nugget guests were injured, according to police.

One Hells Angels member, Cesar Villagrana, 36, of Calif., has been arrested for assault with a deadly weapon and possession of a stolen firearm. According to the police report, Villagrana was observed on videotape shooting into the crowd during the incident, but police don’t believe he fired the shot that killed Pettigrew.

Witnesses are still being questioned in connection with the incident.

Second Shooting in Sparks Prompts State of Emergency

On Saturday, around 11 a.m., a second shooting occurred in Sparks. Police are investigating any possible links with the Nugget shooting Friday.

One person, a motorcyclist, was shot in the stomach by a person driving by in a BMW with tinted windows but is expected to live, authorities said.

The driver sped away after the shooting, and is still being sought.

The second shooting prompted the city to declare a state of emergency.

“We don’t want to alarm our residents,” said Sparks Mayor Geno Martini according to the Associated Press. “The declaration merely provides some tools and tactics our city can and should use if it comes to that.”

The state of emergency allows the city to use private property for city use, declare a curfew and use state resources if necessary.

“In light of a shooting involving rival members of motorcycle clubs at a Spark Casino Friday night, and a subsequent drive-by shooting on Victorian Avenue in Sparks this morning, a state-of-emergency has been declared by the City. It is expected the Governor will also declare a state-of-emergency on behalf of the City of Sparks. Pursuant to the police powers vested in the City of Sparks, the Street Vibrations motorcycle event in Sparks will be cancelled for the remainder of the weekend,” according to a statement from the city.

Both Sparks and the neighboring city of Reno increased police presence through the weekend.

“The safety and security of the public is our number one priority,” said Martini.

“We don’t expect further violence, but we must be prepared,” he added.

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