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Deadly Denver Biker Brawl Fed by Territorial 'Testosterone'

Deadly Denver Biker Brawl Fed by Territorial 'Testosterone'

Two men hug after a shooting at a motorcycle expo at the National Western Complex in Denver. (REUTERS/Evan Semon)

By    |   Tuesday, 02 February 2016 08:35 AM

A brawl at a Denver motorcycle show that left one dead and seven others injured was preceded by a heated argument among as many as 30 members of two biker clubs, reported The Associated Press.

Wade Eldridge, an attorney who witnessed the weekend commotion, said on Monday that he walked past the crowd, preferring not to get involved, when he heard at least one gunshot and saw a man pointing a handgun while bystanders yelled for him to put the weapon down.

Eldridge, an attorney for the Council of Clubs, recognized the gunman's patch identifying him as a member of the Iron Order Motorcycle Club, a biker group made up largely of law enforcement and military.

The Saturday clash at the Colorado Motorcycle Expo also involved members of the Mongols Motorcycle Club, and both groups blame each other for inciting the violence.

Three others were also shot, a fourth was stabbed and three more suffered injuries from a fistfight, police said.

"There's way too much testosterone involved," Eldridge told the AP. He did not know why the man opened fire or what caused the initial argument.

"All I saw was the pointing," he said. "I did not see anyone close to him to present a threat."

More than one person, including a Colorado Department of Corrections officer, fired weapons during the melee, but police officials said Monday they still don't know who fired the fatal shot.

Eldridge said there were thousands of people at the event, where motorcycle groups from around the country had gathered.

Police were still interviewing witnesses and examining several guns and other evidence that will help them decide whether to make any arrests, Denver police Major Crimes Cmdr. Ron Saunier said. No one was in custody as of Monday night.

Victor Mendoza, 46, was shot and killed, the medical examiner's office said.

Detectives have interviewed several members of Iron Order, but the other group, which Saunier called an "outlaw gang," has been less cooperative, he said. The commander urged witnesses and those with video footage to come forward.

Prosecutors will decide whether to file criminal charges.

Mendoza was a member of the Mongols, said Stephen Stubbs, an attorney for the group. He said Iron Order members started the brawl by taunting the Mongols into an argument that led to the deadly shooting.

But John C. Whitfield, who represents Iron Order, said Mongols jumped its members, instigating the fight. The corrections officer fired in self-defense, he said.

Saunier would not say whether it was a self-defense case but said the corrections officer was not acting in his official capacity.

"It sounds like it was a territorial type of verbal altercation," rather than a longstanding feud, he said. Clubs had established "territory" inside the National Western Stock Show complex where the expo was held, Saunier said.

The violence put new focus on the motorcycle groups. The Mongols are recognized by law enforcement as a highly organized criminal gang with a reputation for violence.

A 2014 ATF report on motorcycle gangs said Iron Order was among the fastest growing motorcycle clubs in the country, with many police and corrections officers among its ranks. The report noted that Iron Order has been involved in other violent clashes with other groups but continues to proliferate.

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A brawl at a Denver motorcycle show that left one dead and seven others injured was preceded by a heated argument among as many as 30 members of two biker clubs.
denver, biker, brawl
Tuesday, 02 February 2016 08:35 AM
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