Yesterday in Denver, Las Vegas attorney Stephen “Bowtie” Stubbs, flanked by two members of the Mongols Motorcycle Club dressed in black and white flannel shirts but not wearing cuts, issued a statement on behalf of the club that included the Mongols survivors’ version of events.
“The Mongols Motorcycle Club is confidant that the many independent witnesses will tell the truth and that this matter will be handled appropriately. Everyone has the right to defend themselves from physical confrontation. If someone is threatened or attacked, that person has the right to stand up for himself and use appropriate force to defend against that threat. However, any force used to defend yourself must be reasonable. Pulling a gun after one of your buddies pushes someone is not reasonable and cannot be self defense. Shooting an unarmed person that tries to disarm you after you unlawfully brandish a gun cannot be self defense. Running to the top of the stairs, pointing a gun at the crowd below and shooting an unarmed man that bravely tried to disarm you cannot be self defense.
“On the flip side, attempting to disarm a person with your hands after they pull a gun on you is lawful self defense. Using your fists to defend yourself and your brothers against a group whose members just shot one of you is self defense.
Likewise, if you are an unarmed man that is charging some intoxicated lunatic at the top of the stairs that is waving a gun at the crowd, this is definitely self defense.
“On January 30, 2016 a citizen dies as he charged a man that was waving a gun at a large group of people. That citizen’s name is Victor Mendoza. He was a dedicated father and husband, a true brother and friend with a talent to make kids smile. Victor Mendoza sacrificed his life attempting to save others. There is no greater love than this.”
Stubbs was referring to a brawl last Saturday in which a Colorado Department of Corrections officer named Derrick “Kong” Duran shot and killed Mendoza. Duran is a member of the Iron Order Motorcycle Club. He has not yet been arrested.
The Aging Rebel believes the photo above was taken just before Duran, with gun in hand, turned and fired down the stairs. Mendoza is clearly visible on the stairs. This page had previously reported the photo was taken after Mendoza’s murder. The photo seems to substantiate Stubbs’ version of events.
The Iron Order has a history of claiming self defense after engaging in reckless and unwarranted gun play. At least two other people, Zachariah Tipton and Tonya Focht, have died in the last 19 months as a result of encounters with pugnacious Iron Order members. Constant preparation for deadly confrontations is integral to the Iron Order enterprise. For example, in an email to Iron Order members in Kentucky late in 2014, Jo “Black Beard” Storm, then the sergeant at arms for the Iron Orders’ Fort Knox chapter, told members, “I would recommend all right handed members to either have your firearm secured on your left side or at least situated so you can cross draw with your left hand. Your right hand will be on the throttle. Need to learn to shoot left handed if you plan on being an avid rider and putting miles on your bike.”
After Stubbs statement, John C. “Shark” Whitfield, the “Director of the Division of Legal Affairs” for the Iron Order, attempted to discredit the Mongols version of events. One of Whitfield’s primary duties in the Iron Order is to lobby with investigating police departments on behalf of Iron Order members.
Whitfield told the Denver Post that Stubbs’ statement was “fantasy.” He told the Post, “It’s one thing to hold a press conference, It’s another thing to do what law-abiding citizens do – and that’s cooperate with the investigation.”
Whitfield, who did not arrive in Denver until the day after the shooting, told Reuters, “That’s not even close to what happened. It’s going to be quite obvious that this was self-defense by the Iron Order.”
Whitfield then told The Associated Press that his club is “doing everything we can to assist the investigation so the truth will be known.”