|``This won't go away,'' said Willie Duarte, 50, as he prepared to ride his bike home from the Laughlin River Run where four men from rival biker gangs were shot dead this weekend. |
``The same thing will happen at another time and another place. Both the Hells Angels and the Mongols will be at Sturgis, which is the next big run.''
Many other bikers who plan to attend the Aug. 5-11 rally in Sturgis, S.D., were already starting to worry.
``After what happened at the Laughlin River Run this week, is Sturgis going to be the next battlefield?'' asked one biker in a Sturgis chat room online.
The Sturgis gathering is billed by organizers as the largest biker rally in the world. Started in the '30s, the rally takes place in a the town of about 6,000 and attracts about a half-million bikers each year.
But one biker in Sturgis' One-Eyed Jack's Saloon, interviewed by phone, said he doubted there would be trouble. ``This is pretty much neutral ground for most of the gangs,'' said the biker, who identified himself as ``J.D.''
Cori Lunetta who was at the event when the shootings happened said she was surprised by the shooting because most bikers don't resort to violence.
'I'm not scared, just sad that somebody screwed it up for everyone else,' Scott Lunetta said.
The incident puts even recreational bikers in the same atmosphere as gangs and is embarrassing, Cori Lunetta said. She called the incident 'a major setback' for bikers.
'Anytime you have a negative occurrence it hurts us all,' Kilgore said. 'We've come a long way in the last few years to improve our image and this sets it back.'
Bill Moore disagreed. 'It's not going to hurt one bit,' Moore said. 'The people involved have had their own bad reputations forever, which won't affect 99 percent of bikers that obey the laws.'
Kilgore said he hopes the incident will not lead to cancellation of the Laughlin River Run.
The Mongols -- who also have chapters in Southern states and Mexico -- gained national attention two years ago after a federal agent from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms infiltrated the gang, claiming he dealt methamphetamine and knew how to handle a machine gun. ``Billy St. John,'' whose real name was William Queen, told ABC's ``20-20'' that the Mongols were one of the most violent motorcycle gangs in the country.
The Hells Angels were organized in 1948 by a group of World War II veterans. They gained national attention when Marlon Brando played a gang leader in the 1954 film, ``The Wild One,'' which was based on a brawl in Hollister seven years earlier.
Calvin Brett Schaefer, 32, of Chandler, Ariz., a member of the Hells Angels, was arrested Saturday on suspicion of murder, said Lt. Vincent Cannito, a spokesman for the Las Vegas police.
The Clark County Coroner's Office has still not released the names of the three dead gang members. All were gang members involved in the fighting, police said.