Skip to comments.Biker Brawl: Dozens of squad cars respond to melee
Posted on 04/03/2006 12:35:04 PM PDT by bagadonutz
Tribune Staff Writer
Area police broke up a large fight Saturday between rival motorcycle gangs at the St. Joseph County 4-H Fairgrounds.
Dozens of people, some wielding weapons, were involved in the melee that erupted shortly after noon, police said. The bikers, including those wearing "Outlaw" and "Hells Angels" gang jackets from Chicago, Detroit and Indianapolis, were attending a motorcycle swap meet.
More than 30 police cars from South Bend, St. Joseph County and Mishawaka responded to the scene. Two bikers suffered injuries that required medical attention but were not life-threatening, said St. Joseph County police spokeswoman Jaimee Thirion.
A county officer, Cpl. Kent Wickham, suffered minor injuries in a traffic accident on his way to the fairgrounds, Thirion said.
After bringing the disturbance under control, police canceled the remainder of the event and ordered those attending to leave.
No arrests were made, police said.
Dan Hardman, who with his wife had set up a booth to sell parts, described a chaotic scene.
"They were using bats, (motorcycle) forks, hammers on each other, with no regard for anyone around them, even children," said Hardman, who saw an 8-month-old child in the booth next to his.
Hardman, a member of a Christian biker ministry called Bikers at the Crossing, said most of the time, biking is a peaceful "family thing."
This turned out to be anything but. He said a police account that only two people were injured was "baloney."
"They were using fenders on top of heads, it was horrible," he said.
Witness Bob Candler, of Niles, agreed.
"It was pretty ugly," said Candler. "I seen a guy getting hit in the head with a hammer, he kept waling on him."
Hardman voiced sharp criticism for the security at the event and its promoters, Paragon Promotions of Portage, Mich.
"You don't allow colors to mix," Hardman said, referring to the fact that rival gang members were allowed to wear their gang symbols. "There should have been a lot more security. There were two (security guards), and they ran like girls."
Paragon Promotions officials did not return a call seeking comment Saturday.
An employee of Freedom Cycle Inc., 6210 U.S. 31 South, who declined to give his name, said the Michiana area has long been the "turf" of three gangs: the Hells Angels, Iron Cats and Devils Diciples. The gangs might have considered it poor "etiquette" when the Outlaws showed up without having first cleared it with the gangs.
"It was the Angels and the Outlaws in the same place, period. That's all you need to know," said the employee, who did not attend the event but heard about it from people who did. "It's a club mentality, like one baseball team against another, or just like two high schools. There's been an ongoing dispute between the two clubs forever."
Candler said the Outlaws should have been arrested. He found it odd that so many, at least 75, would come all the way from Indianapolis just for a small swap meet.
"They were not there for a good time," Candler said. "I think they were there looking for trouble."
Dan Brouillette, of Goshen, said he arrived shortly after police and was never allowed in. He had hoped to trade a motorcycle for some parts.
He arrived to see men attempting to leave the fairgrounds on their motorcycles, only to be detained by police officers pointing shotguns at them, Brouillete said.
"The next thing I know it's a giant episode of 'Cops,' " he said. "It's the most excitement I've seen in a long time, so I'm glad I came out."
But Candler was less flippant.
"It was sickening," he said, recalling how a young woman turned to him and his girlfriend as the fighting broke out. "She was pretty frightened. She said, 'Don't leave me.' "
Staff writer Jeff Parrott: email@example.com (574) 235-6320
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Like the cops in Boca used say--"Throw some guns over the wall and lettem kill each other!"
from the article I learned there is some bad blood between the Hell's Angels and the Outlaws. sounds like the guy in Austin was a considered a traitor to his colors.
I hate it when the Vespa owners and YSR-50 squids have one too many redbulls.
Maybe it was just a Meth Conference and Exhibition that got all wound too tight?
Used to be in a club till the Hells Angels gave an ultimatum.Affiliate with us,or we take your colors.Used to be a good club up to that point.We had functions that the whole family could enjoy without fear.I decided I didnt need that type of brotherhood.Let em get after it and kill each other.
I heard on the radio today a Hells Angel was shot and killed by some guy driving an SUV, I think it was here in New York. They said it was road rage or something but after reading this, maybe it`s the same guys? The 1%ers?
This ties in with another post of HA being shot by a driver in a car with FL plates.
Most of the time the event owners make sure that their event is "neutral" territory.
The net result is some idiot is going to have all motorcycle clothing declared colors.
The mental midgest then declare ANYTHING with a motorcylce term/logo to be colors. Thus a t-shirt with yamaha, harley davidson, or just says "let those who ride decide" are suddently eeevil gang members.
I think some people don't fully understand the meaning of 1% 'er.
It's not a hobby, it's a lifestyle.
I'm not sure if it still holds true, but in MN clubs weren't allowed to wear colors without permission of HA within 100 miles of Minneapolis. It was a recent rule, because I remember a bunch of clubs around town in the 70's wearing colors.
That's how much of there brain matter is still functional
Ah, Nah. HA's went corporate a long time ago.
The HA's also take title to your bike. So if you quit. The bike stays. So...do your tattoos.
...and only two required medical attention?
are they sure that it wasn't the "Black Widows" motorcycle gang? fighting Philo Beddoe and his orangutan?
Are you OK? ;-)
At the risk of sounding stupid .... what the heck are 'colors'?
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