The furious fight between Vagos and Hells Angels on the casino floor just outside Trader Dick’s Lounge at John Ascuaga’s Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks, Nevada on September 23, 2011 is a cascading tragedy.
Jeffrey “Jethro” Pettigrew, President of the San Jose charter of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club died as a result of that knife, pistol and fist fight. Two Vagos, Leonard Ramirez and Diego Garcia were shot. And three men, San Jose Vago Ernesto Manuel Gonzalez, former Los Angeles Vago Stuart Gary “Jabbers” Rudnick and San Jose Hells Angel Cesar Villagrana were indicted on multiple, serious charges.
Rudnick, who by all accounts instigated this mess, is currently cooperating with federal and state authorities and will probably testify against Gonzalez and Villagrana when their trial begins next January.
Although the defendants face state charges and will be tried in state court this is, behind the scenes, really a federal case. Two key witnesses, Rudnick and a former Vago named Jacob Cancelli, are under federal protection.
The prosecutorial strategy in this case is to undermine the concept of self defense. The government tipped its hand last November when it charged the defendants with “conspiracy to engage in an affray.” “Affray,” a variation on the words “terror” and “affright,” commonly means a fight in a public place that terrorizes innocent bystanders. The charge was invented in the Middle Ages to discourage men from fighting in church. It will be applied here to men who were involved in a terrible fight in a casino. It was the second casino floor fight between motorcycle clubs in a decade.
The idea of “curing” the “motorcycle club problem” by making it illegal for patch holders to fight one another, even in self defense raises numerous Constitutional and philosophical issues that cannot be addressed here at this time. But anyone who reads all or most of this article should begin to see this prosecutorial strategy emerge out of the fog of Sparks.
What follows here are excerpts of the transcript of testimony before the Nevada panel that returned the charges last November. The government leaked the transcript immediately after the indictment was returned and Scott Sonner of The Associated Press reported those portions that best reinforced the prosecution.
Today The Aging Rebel is publishing all or significant portions of the testimony of five of the 14 witnesses who appeared before the Washoe County Grand Jury on November 9, 2011. Those five witnesses are: Confidential Source 11-54 who was the Director of Security for the Nugget on the night of the fight; Confidential Source 11-31 a Nugget employee who witnessed some of the fight; Ellen Clark, The Washoe County Medical Examiner; Confidential Source 11-67 who The Aging Rebel has previously identified as former Vago Jacob Cancelli; and well known outlaw biker authority Jorge Gil-Blanco.
The grand jury was conducted by two Washoe County Deputy District Attorneys named Karl Hall and Amos Stege. The full transcript is about 60,000 words long. This article repeats about one third of that.
The Director of Security
EXAMINATION BY MR. HALL:
Q Sir, I am going to refer to you as Confidential Source 11-54. Sir, are you aware that the Grand Jury is considering a proposed Indictment concerning allegations of discharging a firearm in a structure, battery with a deadly weapon, murder as a result of challenge to fight, open murder and so forth?
Q Do you have information that would aid the Grand Jury in their investigation?
THE FOREMAN: Sir, are you aware that the Grand Jury is inquiring into the evidence that you may have relating to the charges of conspiracy to engage in an affray, challenge to fight resulting in death with the use of a deadly weapon, battery with a deadly weapon two counts, discharging a firearm in a structure two counts, carrying a concealed weapon two counts, open murder with the use of a deadly weapon in the matter of Ernest Manuel Gonzalez, Stuart Gary Rudnick and Cesar Villagrana?
THE WITNESS: Yes.
THE FOREMAN: Thank you.
BY MR. HALL:
Q Sir, where are you employed?
A John Ascuaga’s Nugget.
Q What is your occupation?
A I am the Director of Security.
Q What are your duties?
A My duties is to maintain the safety of the guests and employees of the Nugget and secure and protect the property of the Nugget.
THE WITNESS: …I responded with several security officers. We arrived on the area. There was nothing transpiring at that time except there were numerous Vagos and numerous Hells Angels in the bar area of the Oyster Bar.
Q How did you know they were Vagos and Hells Angels?
A They were all wearing the identifying vests, Hells Angels or Vagos.
Q How would you identify each group?
A The Hells Angels would say Hells Angels with an insignia of some wings, red and white in color. The Vagos would say Vagos and that is a lime green, sort of a lime green in color.
Q So the club colors for the Vagos is green. The club colors for the Hells Angels are red and white?
A Yes, sir.
Q So were there Hells Angels wearing their colors?
A Yes, sir.
Q Were the Vagos wearing their colors?
A Yes, sir.
Q You would be able to differentiate between the two groups at the Oyster Bar?
Q Can you give us an idea of the number of Hells Angels and the number of Vagos present in the Oyster Bar when you arrived?
A I believe there were ten to twelve Hells Angels, and there were maybe twenty Vagos at that point. As we were standing there watching the groups, we had numerous other Vagos walk up to the Oyster Bar which raised a concern to all of us.
Q Did you speak with any Vagos or any Hells Angels?
A I did not.
Q Did you have any contact with anybody from either one of those groups at the Oyster Bar?
A I did not.
Q All right. Did any of your staff, any of the security staff have any contact with them to inquire into the nature of the potential issue?
A No, we did not.
Q When you went there, you didn’t see anything that caused you concern with respect to having to take action or call the police or anything like that?
A I was very concerned. I stepped outside of the Nugget so that I could use my cell phone. I instructed the security staff to stay on the outskirts of all of those groups and to protect the guests if anything transpired. I called the Sparks Police Department. I advised them that I felt something was about to transpire in the Oyster Bar. The dispatcher advised they would put a call in for service. And as I was on the phone, a short time later, the Washoe County helicopter flew over the Nugget and spotlit or spotlighted the front entrances of the Nugget.
Q Why were you concerned? Why did you call the police?
A I felt there was tension between the two groups, and with the number of Vagos that were coming to the Oyster Bar, I felt that something was about to transpire there.
Q Now what happened after that? What did you do after you called the police?
A I waited outside for the Police Department to arrive. A sergeant from the Police Department arrived. At that point, it appeared that the Vagos were leaving that area, or the majority of the Vagos were leaving that area, as they were walking away towards the showroom which would be east through the Nugget. The sergeant spoke with me. It appeared at that point things had quieted down. The tension had reduced a little bit.
Q All right. So then what happened?
A Then I walked over to the Trader Dicks area, and I stood over there as everybody was mingling and walking toward the Trader Dicks area.
Q All right. Did anything occur in the Trader Dicks area while you were at that location?
A Yes, sir.
Q Where were you at approximately 11:23 p.m.?
A I was approximately thirty feet or so in between the pit or the gaming tables and the slot machines watching the crowd at Trader Dicks.
Q Would you tell the ladies and gentlemen of the Grand Jury where you were at approximately 11:20?
A I was in this area right here.
Q So that would be approximately under camera 45 just to the right of the slot bank? This is the high roller area?
A Yes, sir, it is.
Q For high roller gamblers?
A Slot machines, yes, sir.
Q You were near that area?
A Yes, sir.
Q And what, if anything, did you see?
A I saw a large group of Vagos standing all in this area here. I then observed several Hells Angels walk down the tile walkway here. They stopped and spoke to a group of Vagos which were standing right here. And then a short time later….
Q Can you describe that conversation or what, if anything, you saw?
A It appeared at first that they were just conversing. Then all of a sudden I saw a fight break out there.
Q Were you close enough to hear anything that was said?
A I could not hear what was said.
Q Did the discussion become animated at all?
A At the time that one of the Hells Angels struck a Vagos in the face, that is when everything became animated.
Q All right. So let’s see. Let’s walk through what you saw, then take a look at the video. What happened after you saw that first punch thrown?
A They were approximately in this area here when the first punch was thrown. Then I saw several people starting to fight, and then at that point I saw two of the Hells Angels bring weapons out and began shooting at that point.
Q You are talking about firearms?
A Firearms, I am sorry, yes.
Q Can you describe them, the firearms?
A I do not know what caliber or make they were, just handguns. They began shooting the handguns.
Q All right. Did you see anybody else with any weapons?
A At that point, I did not, no.
Q All right. What did you do?
A I moved from this area here, and I was attempting to watch the shooters. I walked over to this post here, and I continued to watch the shooters as they moved through the area.
Q What direction were they shooting?
A They were shooting towards Rosie’s restaurant which would be down this direction here.
Q Could you describe the shooters?
A The only thing I could say is they were Hells Angels wearing red and white colors. I could not identify them, no.
Q Could you tell who they were shooting at?
A I could not.
Q Did you see anybody get shot?
A I did not.
Q All right. So then what happened?
A Then I, as the shooters began walking down here, I moved along these, the pillars over here. And then….
Q For the record, you moved underneath the cameras we have identified as 3, 5 and 7?
A Yes, sir.
A We notified our dispatcher that shots had been fired and to call 9-1-1. I moved over to the area over by Rosie’s. At that point, the Sparks Police Department arrived a short time later.
Q Did you see or hear any other shooting?
A I heard several shots, but from that point over here, I did not see any additional shooting.
Q Did you see anybody else or see anybody get shot?
A I did not. I saw someone on the ground in one of these machines, in the area between one of these machines here, and some the Hells Angels were kicking or beating an individual that was on the ground.
Q Were you armed?
A I am not.
Q Did you see what was happening with the Hells Angels and the person on the ground?
A The slot machines were obscuring my vision.
Q You don’t know if it was a Hells Angel or Vagos?
A I do not.
Q You were aware Mr. Pettigrew was shot and killed?
A Yes, sir, I was.
Q Did you see him get shot?
A I did not.
Q Did you hear him get shot?
A I did not.
Confidential Source 11-31
Q Sir, I am going to refer to you as Confidential Source 11-31….
BY MR. HALL:
Q Sir, did you have an opportunity to be inside of the Nugget on the 23rd of September 2011?
A Yes, I was.
Q And was your attention drawn to anything at approximately 11:20 to 11:30 p.m.?
A Yes, sir, it was.
Q What attracted your attention?
A I was getting off my shift. I was walking to deposit my keys. I was walking with another co-employee, and I heard a loud, extremely loud noise that sounded either like a gun or a explosion of some type. And I looked to my left and I saw a bunch of people running towards us. Then I heard some more of a noise, and I determined at that point it was a gunfire. I put my co-employee on the ground, and I covered myself up with her over her as there were more gunfights in what is behind a room called the service bar. There is no windows. It is just a door for service employees to go in and get drinks for the customers. I put her in there, and I ran back towards where the gunfight was going on. I made my way to the pit area which was about twenty or thirty feet away from where the gentlemen were fighting.
Q What did you see when you were at that location?
A When I originally arrived there, I saw a man in a Hells Angels vest described, I will pronounce his name as best as possible, later identified as Mr. Villagarosa. He was engaged in a gunfight with another man who was wearing a Vagos vest. I could not identify who he was. They were just feet apart from each other shooting at each other. That is what I saw when I first got there.
Q So you would have been back to the right near the showroom looking toward the Fish Tank Bar?
A Yes, sir.
Q All right. You were able to see some shooting?
A Yes, sir. That is the gentleman. That is the gentleman right there. I saw that gunfight right there.
Q That fellow right there?
A Yes, sir. I would have been in this area here, right in here.
Q So did you see…So you saw the one individual right there in the middle of the photograph?
A Yes, sir.
Q You saw him shooting?
A Yes, I did.
Q Okay. Did you see somebody shooting at him?
A Yes, sir, I did. I could not identify him, because they shot and he turned. I am going to say he ran, but he disappeared from my view, but I definitely saw that man.
Q What color of clothing was the fellow who was shooting wearing?
A I remember the green Vagos patch.
Q All right. You can tell from the video that fellow is wearing a red vest?
A Yes, sir.
Q Would that be consistent with…. Well, did you see what that…who he was associated with?
A Yes, sir, I did.
Q Who was he associated with?
A He was associated with — He comes back into view.
Q Was he associated with any specific motorcycle club.
A Yes, sir, it was a Hells Angels patch.
Q Who was the fellow shooting at him, what club?
A It was a Vagos.
Q Then what happened?
A They got into where I saw right in here where they got into the slots area. I would have moved over here, because I was staying abreast with that gentleman, because there were a lot of people who were down under here. They were pretty hysterical. He seemed to have been the most aggressive of those people out there, so I was staying with him. So when he would move, I would tell the people at the table what was going on, just trying to calm them down. When they got into the slots, I saw at one point he came around, got into the slots. He came out through here and he raised his gun and he fired, but the gun went click, and he turned, and it was to my belief he was out of bullets. And he turned and reloaded. He may have had a jammed gun, but it was my belief he was out of bullets. He did whatever he did. He turned back and he started shooting this way, which I did not see who he was shooting at. Then after that, he would be walking. I watched him walk amongst the slots, and he was pointing. There were people on the ground who were covered up. He was pointing his gun at them, and he would just walk, pick his gun back up and point it back down towards this direction. That went on for a short of period of time until law enforcement showed up. And they came, and I remember they had a dog with them, and they ordered everyone on the ground. They ordered him to the ground. He started to go down to the ground, then he started getting back up. I recall seeing a rifle, the butt, not the muzzle of a rifle, placed in his face. I remember someone telling him to get down, then he did. At that point, I stopped watching that, because there were so many people in the pit area that were very hysterical, I was trying to help them get up and get them out of there. That is what I saw.
Q Did you see anybody get shot?
A Sir, I can’t say for sure. I saw the guy go down, but then did I see him get shot? I don’t know. It could have been someone ducked for cover.
The Medical Examiner
Q Would you please state your name and spell your last?
A Ellen Clark, C-L-A-R-K.
Q What is your occupation, Doctor?
A I am a doctor of medicine specialized in anatomic, clinical and forensic pathology.
Q Are you the Medical Examiner for Washoe County?
A The Chief Medical Examiner, yes.
Q Would those photographs aid you in explaining to the jury cause and manner of death and the injuries suffered by Mr. Pettigrew based upon your examination?
Q Would you like to step up and explain the injuries to Mr. Pettigrew you observed? If you step over here, we can put them up on the overhead projector.
Q Let me just switch it out. You can put them right down on there. This will zoom out and zoom in. This is auto focus. There you go.
A All right. Mr. Pettigrew’s examination was conducted in the usual fashion, and that is we perform, initially, an external examination to collect evidence and look for findings that might demonstrate a cause and manner of death. I am sorry, I can’t see the jury. But the cause of death is simply the disease or injuries which result in death. Manner of death describes a circumstance under which that occurs. Mr. Pettigrew had many injuries that were distributed literally from his head to his pelvis or buttocks region. In particular, visible at the outset of the autopsy were injuries that were on the face, in the area of the nose and the eye and at the bridge of the nose. This photograph is one that we would deem to be an identification photograph or a relatively clean photograph taken after blood and debris has been removed from the body surface. It also shows some evidence of resuscitation. The decedent had gone first to the hospital for emergency resuscitation, been intubated, had multiple therapies attached to him including chest tubes on both sides of the body and evidence of transfusions of blood and other products.
Q Can I ask you a couple of questions about the face? There was an injury over the eye, injury near the nose, then significant injury to the center of the nose. Was that indicative, can you tell, the result of blunt force trauma or was that caused by being cut?
A There were injuries to the face that had primarily features of sharp force trauma. There is a possibility there may have been blunt trauma, also commingling, mixed or mingled with, but the majority of the wound findings and margins of the examination suggested the facial injuries were primarily sharp force.
Q Would that be consistent with a knife?
A Yes, any sharpened implement, yes. Do you want me to continue?
Q All right.
A In particular, the next Grand Jury exhibit shows Mr. Pettigrew’s eye, his right eye, in particular, the right side of the bridge of his nose, the eyebrow. It shows two wounds that have features again suggestive of sharp force. One is at the bottom end of the right eyebrow. It is approximately two centimeters, almost an inch long, then there is another one that is more characteristic of a puncture-type wound or a deeper wound, but also has very clean margins as opposed to having abrasion and tears and crushing injury at the margins. So each of these injuries is consistent with sharp force trauma, but the possibility of blunt force cannot be totally eliminated.
Q Showing you 2-b.
A 2-b now shows the mustache of Mr. Pettigrew, the tip of his nose, right nostril area. The left is almost completely detached from the nose. It was hanging by a strip of skin on the side. Again, the margins you will see are fairly clean and discreet. There is some potential crushing of the edges, but this has features more consistent with a sharp force than blunt force.
Q Showing you 2-c?
A Okay. 2-c shows the back of Mr. Pettigrew’s body. In particular, you can appreciate some livor mortis which is the congestion at the back of the body. There is a pressure blanched area here. So that is an artifact or consequence of the time interval since death. There are also evident gunshot wounds, in particular towards the right mid to lower chest area and toward the top of the right buttock. These were two of what were ultimately identified as four gunshot wounds that were toward the back and right side of Mr. Pettigrew. You can also see a bit of a gunshot wound that is at the back of the bicep region on the right side of the arm. There is also one evident towards the forearm on the right side of the body.
A Unique identifying features that also was identified by fingerprint examination. He had at some point undergone amputation of his right leg. He was initially received with a prothesis comprised of the lower right leg and the foot.
A Okay. 2-e shows the aggregate or an aggregate of gunshot wounds that were identified on Mr. Pettigrew’s back and right torso. In particular, I will tell you the wounds have been numbered, and that is a process used for identification and reference. It does not necessarily reflect an order of wounding or any sequencing of events. So gunshot number one is towards the upper mid to right side of the back, and it is a fairly pristine gunshot entrance wound. It has abrasion around the margin. There is a fixed puncture defect in the bed of the gunshot wound. Two has a similar appearance, is at a similar level on the body, more towards the right side or towards the back axillary fold or back fold of the arm but still in the chest area. Gunshot number three is that which you saw in the earlier photograph toward the buttock on the top right side of the body. Number four is a separate, what we would refer to as an atypical gunshot wound because it has irregular shaping and irregular margins. It is not discreet and specific and isolated with a round puncture defect as gunshot number one and gunshot number two and three are. Gunshot number 5 is an atypical gunshot wound also. During the course of the examination, gunshot number four could be tracked to gunshot number 5. Number 4 representing the entrance wound and number 5 an exist wound, this is a through and through gunshot wound. Number 3 on the body could be tracked internally to the other wound shown which is gunshot 6 arbitrarily identified, and the track for this wound was through the buttocks soft tissue through a portion of the pelvic bone and exiting from the front of the body. You can also recognize there is some evidence of therapy toward the right side of the more upper aspect of the chest, and that is a chest tube that has been placed near the level of the fourth rib or nipple area toward the side of the body. Only toward the side of body.
A 2-f shows again the chest tube for reference gunshot wound 7. Gunshot wound 7 is again an atypical wound but represents an exit wound. It tracks from gunshot 1 at the back of the body which represents the entrance with the exit from number 7 at the front of the body. The area of bruising adjacent to gunshot 7 was actually a region where a bullet was recovered. It tracked from gunshot wound number 2 entering at the back of the body to the recovery site at the right side of the chest. Gunshot 8 represents another atypical wound, but has features of an entrance wound. It may represent a reentry from another wound. You will see a complex collection of wounds on the right arm. This may actually be a reentry. Again, it has those fairly discreet features with abrasion around it, a fixed oval defect in this case, and it tracks beneath the skin surface to gunshot 9 which represents its exit. So in aggregate, these photos have shown a total of 5 gunshot wounds to Mr. Pettigrew’s body entering at the back or the back right side of the body, passing from the back of the body to the front and existing and/or leaving bullets lodged at the front of the body.
Q Showing you Exhibit 2-g?
A 2-g shows a different perspective of gunshot eventually labeled as gunshot 7, 8, 9 at the front of the body. Again, an area of bruising at the right side of the front of the chest wall. It also shows some wounds that are on the axillary region or upper arm fold region towards the right bicep. This is, again, an atypical gunshot wound. The possibility represents a fragment of a bullet entering the body or a reentry wound from a bullet fragment can’t be excluded, but you can see these wounds 8, 9, and this was ultimately called number 10 are very closely approximated. This is a little bit misleading because the arm is up. If you release the arm down toward the side of the body, those would all align fairly closely. I would also point out it shows better in another photograph. This is a series of wounds that begin at the upper inner bicep region of the right arm and eventually tracks down to another.
Q This is marked 2-I?
A Okay. 2-I for reference shows that wound on the upper inner arm fold region of the right upper arm, then it also shows this wound now identified as gunshot number 11. This wound has many different small fragmentary perforations, also some perforations extending downward toward the inner bicep region exiting in part through a fairly large defect that was identified as gunshot 11-a. So there is a track into and beneath the skin surface from this wound to this wound.
Q This is 2-j I believe. Yes.
A This shows a different perspective of those wounds again. Number 10, very close to the armpit crease. This would be the hair for the armpit, also very close to those wounds aggregated on the right upper chest. It shows a little bit more clearly the gunshot identified as number 11, again, with an abraded or a bruised and crushed margin, some smaller defects adjacent to that with the wound tracking beneath the skin surface to the inner edge of the bicep region on the upper right arm.
Q I think we somehow got those out of the order, but we could go to wound number 7?
Q That is 2-k?
A Okay. Excuse me. This is 2-k. The exhibit shows the gunshots that were or the wounds that were at the front of body. For orientation, the nipple on the right side of the chest wall and the gunshot 7 that corresponded with the entrance wound at the back of the body. But also now that area of bruising adjacent to it has been sectioned so we can retrieve the bullet that is impacted just beneath the skin surface. It is a rather unique bullet. It was a hollow point mushroomed with some packing material in the center of it, so it was retrieved and submitted into evidence. And gunshots 1 and 2 that track from the back of the body to the front tore through the chest wall immediately entering basically at the abdominal cavity through the diaphragm. There was extensive tearing of the diaphragm, and the liver had essentially been fragmented into numerous pieces. These were each very sever fatal wounds.
Q All right. Showing you a picture of the evidence that was retrieved from wound 7, adjacent to wound 7?
A This photograph shows that bullet that was retrieved from the right chest wall and again the kind of unique configuration of the bullet. It was a large, relatively large caliber bullet, I believe .40-caliber.
A This photograph shows the forearm, towards the back of the forearm. Or, actually, as we hold our hands this way, it would be sort of toward the front and the side of the forearm. It shows, again, a very atypical gunshot wound. There is a lot of tearing, irregularity of the wound margins. It appears to be tangential or sort of a curved grazing gunshot entry wound….
A …and recovered at the terminus of this wound. Again tracking through the forearm on the right side of the body was a separate aggregate of bullet material. Here there is primary soft tissue, but the next exhibit shows the back of the hand, tattoos at the wrist region and this area of the forearm now having been cut to expose the bullet. This was actually a fragment or these were fragmentary bullet portions including some disconnected pieces of bullet jacket and a piece of lead core all retrieved from the arm wound on the right side. So in summary, Mr. Pettigrew suffered at minimum of 5 gunshots to the back and right side of his body. Of those 5, four of them exited. Several of them were actually atypical wounds that may have represented reentry of wounds that were initially located on the right arm, the outer arm and upper inner arm. Of the wounds to his torso, two passed through the diaphragm, the muscle that separates the abdomen from the chest, and severely injured the diaphragm, caused extensive bruising to the right lung and massive injury to the liver. One passed through the pelvic soft tissue but caused fracture injury to the pelvis. There was then an aggregate of multiple, probably at least ten various wounds to the right arm with some yielding fragmentary portions of bullet back towards the right forearm and others appearing to be portions of bullet that had either entered independently or exited independently from fragments.
Q What was the manner of death?
A Manner of death was homicide.
Q Sir I am going to refer to you as Confidential Source 11-67, all right?
Q Are you familiar with the Vagos motorcycle club?
A Yes. I have been a Vagos for twenty-seven years. I have been involved with Vagos for twenty-seven years. I moved up the ranks to a very high rank of Vagos within the last few months. Before this event took place, I was in the higher echelon, echelon, excuse me, of the club.
Q Were you at the Nugget on the 23rd of September, 2011?
A Yes, I was.
Q Are you familiar…I am showing you or behind you videoed surveillance tape that was captured from the Oyster Bar. It is Vagos-H.A. Oyster Bar two at about 22:13 hours or about 10:13 p.m. on that day. Do you recognize some of the individuals that are depicted in that video?
Q All right. I am going to play a little bit of that video. Are you familiar with Ernesto Manuel Gonzalez?
Q How are you familiar with him?
A Through the club.
Q You can identify him?
Q Do you know Cesar Villagrana?
Q How do you know him?
A Through the club.
Q Through the club?
Q All right. How about Mr. Pettigrew, Jeffrey also known as Jethro Pettigrew?
A Yes, I can identify him, too.
Q Can you identify an individual by the name of Gary Stuart Rudnick?
A What is his….
Q So “Jabbers” would be a nickname?
Q All right. Having been at the Nugget, were you over in the Oyster Bar on the night in question, the 23rd?
Q All right.
A That is me right there.
Q That would be you?
Q Were you familiar with what was going on that night?
Q Was there any tension between the Hells Angels motorcycle club and the Vagos motorcycle club?
A Yes, there was.
Q What was the nature of that tension?
A What had happened is that, if I might go through this, may go through this, I got a call. I was by the east elevator bar over there. We got a call there was a problem with the Hells Angels. So when we got that call, we moved towards the area of the Oyster Bar, and at that time, when I went to the Oyster Bar in this corner here, the corner…Is this the Oyster Bar here?
A That’s the back bar, right?
Q So it bears over on the left-hand corner.
A Okay. Right here where you see this little area here, it is a little box. There is an opening behind it. Rght there is where “Jabbers” was at, at the time when I first came up, and Pettigrew.
Q What was going on between “Jabbers” or Mr. Rudnick and Mr. Pettigrew?
A Well, when I walked up, there was a lot of Vagos that were around. And I took a look over there, and they both came out, and “Jabbers” was very upset. And he just kept on talking, kept on talking, kept on talking. And he kept taunting Pettigrew. What he was saying was the likes of, “I don’t know you. You don’t have a right to touch me. What are you doing?” You know. “I don’t even need to talk to you,” things of that nature, really pushing on top of him. Pettigrew’s response back to him was, “Hey, man, you
know, I was just having a good time. I just want to have a beer,” basically. He wasn’t in no shape or form upset at that time. Top Hat, who is this gentleman right here, is a twenty-year what you call a Nomad for a member. I have known Top Hat for twenty-six years. He was there when we get to that point to talk in conversation with Pettigrew. What had happened is that we were talking to Pettigrew. He was cool. He was just saying, “Hey man, everything is good. I have no problem.” “Jabbers” comes up and “Jabbers” then starts taunting him. You know, “You had no right touching me.” What he meant by “touching”, he just tapped him on the back, basically. You know, what my insinuation was, he tapped him on the back. He said, “Hey, do you want to have a beer?” “Jabbers” took it as an offensive thing, pushed out his chest because, of course, there was a lot more Vagos than there were Hells Angels. So he kept on taunting. He wouldn’t stop. So I told him, I said, “Listen, shut the fuck up.” Excuse my French, but I have to tell you the way it went. I said, “Shut the fuck up. Get the fuck out of here.” He backed up for a minute, then he come back again. I said, “I told you to leave.” He says, “Hey, hey, don’t worry.” I said, “I told you to leave.” Now me, in my position, he has to listen to me. So what happens is that Pettigrew and I are talking. He comes back up again, and then Pettigrew looks at him. I am going to call him Jethro. Jethro looks at him and he says to Jethro, “You know I don’t know why you had to touch me.” He says, you know, “Just talk to me.” He said, “I don’t need to talk to you,” this and this, whatever. Jethro lost it. He got pissed off.
Q Jethro Pettigrew is mad at “Jabbers” or Rudnick?
A For taunting him, taunting him, taunting him. He finally just said, “Listen, I don’t need to fucking talk to you no more.” He turned around and walked away.
Q We have that depicted on the video. Let’s see, Mr. Rudnick also known as “Jabbers” and so we are at 22:13:40?
A We are looking at him right now.
Q Can I ask you to back up so we can see? I have a pointer right here. We can kind of identify people. Now this individual at the bottom left-hand corner?
Q Ernesto Manuel Gonzalez?
Q Is he associated…How would be he associated with Mr. Rudnick or “Jabbers”?
A He would be associated just as a brother, but he’s an underling because “Jabbers” is a V.P., Vice President. So at any moment, if “Jabbers” was to ask him for assistance to back him up, he would do it. So Mr. Gonzalez is basically the backup to Mr. Rudnick because Rudnick is a Vice President in the Vagos. “Jabbers,” yes, and here is Pettigrew right there. That is him. All he’s doing, he’s just trying, shaking people’s hand, saying hello. That is his MO, tapping, say hello, whatever. This is when I come over, because “Jabbers” is having serious issues. So this is Top Hat, Gonzalez, they call him Romeo, that is his nickname. There is “Jabbers”
right there. So I go over there. I am talking to him for a minute, and I told him…and here is this guy that was backing him up. This is the guy that says I won’t leave my Vice President. He’s an L.A. charter. This is Bret from South Bay, South Bay member. I think that is Bret right there from South Bay.
Q Did you go over and talk to Pettigrew?
A Yes. This is Pettigrew right here, Hells Angels President. I am over there talking to him. And this is Crusher, his name is Leo Ramirez. He’s one of the guys that got shot.
Q Leonard Ramirez, the person that got shot in the stomach?
A Yes, he did. He watches over me. That was his job. And I am talking to Top Hat here. And what we were trying to do is make everything at ease right here, settle everybody, to back them off. We don’t want nobody in there.
Q You were trying to diffuse the situation, avoid an altercation?
A One hundred percent. See there, I am on the phone. I am trying to get in touch with some of the top, top, National members so I could tell them what is going on before this thing turns into a problem.
Q Now were there a lot of Vagos meeting at the Nugget that weekend?
Q Had there been a meeting earlier that day at the Nugget?
A Yes. We had a meeting at 8:00 o’clock in the West towers.
Q Approximately how many Vagos members attended that meeting?
A Over five hundred. There was a Vagos members meeting. Right afterward, there was a Prospect meeting. Then right after that, there was a Nomad meeting. Nomad, which means there is gentlemen Vagos in the club that have been in the club twenty years or over. And there was a Nomad force there. They had the third meeting. After this meeting took place and everything, we remained downstairs again.
Q All right. We can still see Mr. Gonzales in the bottom right-hand corner, Mr. Rudnick or “Jabbers” there kind of in the middle, I think that would be.
A There is “Jabbers” talking to Top Hat. That is his wife. Top Hat is trying to talk to him, but “Jabbers” is not paying attention. He’s just getting more and more frustrated. See by Top Hat’s demeanor when he’s talking to him, basically telling him he has to back up, just relax. Can we go back for a moment, please?
Q Yes. I am getting there. Bear with me. It is more.
A That’s it right there.
Q We’ll get there.
A There I am. I have got everybody for the back.
That is Bob. He is the Vice President of the San Jose Hells Angels. I went up to Bob. I was talking to him, and he said, “Everything is going to be all right.” He says, “I am getting too old for this.” I said, “I am getting to old for this, too.” We shook each other hands. A lot of people around didn’t like what was going on. But I talked to his Hang-around. I am talking to the guy. Now Top Hat goes back. Everybody is a little bit tight. And there is “Jabbers” right there.
Q Rudnick went back over to where Pettigrew was?
A Yes. I go back in. I am getting angry. I told him already to go. When I go…Leo’s name is Crusher, the Vagos name we call him.
Q Leonard, Leo, Crusher, they are all the same….
A Crusher, Leo, is right here. He has to watch me. I am telling him to leave.
Q You are telling “Jabbers” to leave?
A He’s trying to tell him, “What is going on? Don’t touch me.” He’s, “Listen, I was just playing around.” So him, Top Hat and I are telling “Jabbers”, I put my hand on “Jabber,” said, “back off.” I said, “Get out of here.” Basically just leave. I am telling him. That is his essay.
Q What happened after that? Did Mr. Rudnick, “Jabbers”, say anything about the situation?
A Yeah. What happened is that “Jabbers” kept taunting him.
Q Taunting Pettigrew?
A Taunting Pettigrew. What happened is Pettigrew then got angry and he says, “I don’t need to talk to you no more,” basically. And he walks away. So I tell everybody to walk out. “Jabbers” and Top Hat sit right here at the video, and “Jabbers” is drunk, and he tells Top Hat, he says, “Why are Nomads always getting involved with our business?” Nomads are, the Nomad Vagos are Vagos. We are all one. But still, they are there to help out. Nomads are there to help out, and each one of the charters of the Vagos, for any type of encouragement if someone has a problem, whatever. They can come into any meeting they want to at any time to hear what is going on within the structure of each charter. He give Top Hat, he has a beard, a full beard, and he says, “You got this much time, because I made a call to the guys. They were still upstairs, the National members. This is the International Vice President, Secretary, Sergeant at Arms, all the way upstairs talking. What I then did was made a call to the National President and he didn’t answer the phone. I then called the National President Nomads, Rocky, and we talked and he says, “Come up here immediately.” I walked. Then he says, Top Hat, I am right next to Top Hat, “If you guys don’t get down here, something’s going to happen.”
Q What did he mean by that?
A It is going to get it on, move without anybody’s, you know, permission or anything.
Q When you say get it on, Vagos are going to fight with Hells Angels?
A One hundred percent. So I got pissed off at him. Right at that point, being who I am, I could have smacked him in the mouth, knocked him out, but I didn’t choose to do that. I went upstairs, because this is a big deal going on here. When I went upstairs, I talked to Dragonman and Dragonman and Rocky are up there. We are talking about the situation, what happened. I told him Jabbers is drunk. I told him that, you know, he was taunting the guy. And I told him it is going to turn into a real bad thing real quick, because us and Hells Angels don’t get along too well at all because of past history. So what they did is they formed their little group. They came downstairs. They walked around. They came back down to the bar where no one was allowed. All Vagos were backing up at that time. They went into the bar. Pettigrew was there, Jethro, and they talked to Jethro and they talked to Bobby V and everything was diffused. They said everything’s cool. Jethro says he didn’t want no issues. There is no problems. They said, okay, everything is fine. There is no problems here. Everything is cool. The problem is, when you have a lot of people, when you have over five hundred people from a particular organization, you can’t get the word out to everybody at one time. That is the problem. So they came walking back. And I don’t know if you want to go through that area.
Q Well, we’ll get to that area. But before I get there, can I talk a little bit about the organization of the Vagos organization?
Q All right. So can you tell us about how the organization is structured? You talked about the hierarchy, the upper echelon?
A How it is structured is that you have a panel that are called International who are what you call the top of the whole Green Nation Vagos Motorcycle Club. It starts with the International President, then goes International Vice President, International Secretary, International Sergeant at Arms, International Road Captain.
Q What are their duties? What are they charged with, those different people?
A Road Captain is on the road. He basically takes over the pack or the charter, whoever is on the road with him. The International Road Captain, at all times you have to obey what he has to say when you are on the road with the Road Captain, because it is the road. What happens is, when he takes a pack anywhere, whether it is to Vegas, Reno, whatever, everybody has to follow his direction. He controls it on the freeway. Sergeant at Arms, when you are off the bikes and you are out and about, Sergeant of Arms position is to make sure that nobody, absolutely nobody guests hurt, has any problems. I am talking Vagos members. Okay. Each Vagos charter has the same type of set up. You have your President, you have your Vice President, you have your Secretary, you have your Sergeant at Arms, and you have your Raod Captain. Now each one of them have to follow pretty much the same direction. So the International President, he runs the club. The International Vice President assists him in running the club. He’s like what you call a concierge, tells him, delegates certain things to him, what he thinks he should do. The Secretary takes care of, you know, the books, Bylaws, things of that nature. At the end, the Secretary combines everything and puts it together. The Sergeant at Arms, his position is to protect the President, International President at all times, at all cost no matter what it is. Okay. If the International President was here at the time, the first thing was to protect him from all members, because it read that way in the Bylaws. In the Bylaws it says that, number one, start off with the International President. At all times the International President is to be respected under any circumstances, wartime or whatever, wherever he’s at. That is the way it runs and that is the way it operates.
Q Is respect an important part of the Vagos creed and the Vagos code?
A Absolutely. Right underneath that part of the Bylaws there is a thing call PBTs. The PBTs are…The PBTs are in essence underneath the International President. They are what you call a higher king of the whole club. Anyone that disrespects them faces serious, serious consequences. Anybody from any chapter, say for instance there is a Riverside chapter. Say for instance there is an L.A. chapter. Say for instance members of the L.A. chapter come up to the President of the other chapter and says words to him, he reports that to the President, and then he could take care of it the way he wants to. Or this President takes care of it the way he thinks is peaceable. They talk about it. They come to a remedy. Most of the time, most of the time when disrespect gets out of order, they don’t call the patch no more. They became Prospect again. Sometimes they get a beating. So if the guy has been around a long time, what they will do is Prospect him. Now how it operates, to become a Vagos member, you have got to hang around first. It is called Hang-around. From Hang-around, if we feel everything is good and you are a good person to come into the club, we feel you could do the right thing within the club, from that standpoint it goes from Hang-around to Prospect. When you became a Prospect, the minimum amount of time for Prospects are six months minimum amount of time. It depends on your actions. It depends how you are. But even though you are a Prospect for one charter, because there is a lot of charters of the Vagos, illustration, for instance southern California, Rivera, if there was a Prospect for southern California Rivera that belongs to me or belongs to another individual, at that time, that Prospect then not only belongs to me but has to have the respect of all and everybody until such time as he earns the patch. So wherever he has to travel, wherever he has to go, whatever he has to do, he does as a Prospect to earn that patch.
Q So for example if you have prospects that made the trip up to Reno, what would they be tasked to do or told to do?
A Well, that is when you had the second meeting with the prospects. And the prospects are usually told, I wasn’t at the Prospect meeting, but have respect, shake everybody’s hand, get to meet everybody, say hello. But in any situation, when a situation like that happened, you will see in this video there is a Prospect that is walking through, and they will up the command of their sponsor, move into a battle if they are told to, because if they don’t, they are gone.
Q Do Vagos typically carry a weapon?
A There is a lot of Vagos that carry weapons.
Q Is that part — Is everybody required to carry weapons or is it just your own personal choice?
A Well, it is basically personal choice. You are not required to carry a weapon. Most of the time, probably ninety-six percent of the club carries a knife, a pretty long knife, a knife that could create damage.
Q What about guns?
A Yes, they carry guns.
Q Are they an outlaw gang?
Q Are they involved in criminal activity?
Q What kind of criminal activity would that include?
A Murder, rape, robbery, drugs, all types.
Q Now we were talking about the patch. What is it? Is there a symbol that the Vagos have?
A Well, laymen’s term, there are two parts of the Vagos. I mean a pack of guys riding into the wind, motorcycle gypsies. The Loki on the back the thing that looks like the demon, it is called a Norse God of Mischief. And those are, it is a very mythological term. It means, for instance, super natural. It means germantic mythology. It means neo-paganism. It means to slaughter. There is a lot of meanings to the Loki. That is basically it. If you took any time and looked, you could see for yourself what it means. It comes out of mythology, not from here but from Germany, from the Netherlands and some EEC countries.
Q All right. I was just, if you could look behind you, I have displayed a jacket. So when we are talking about the patch, full patch member, is this the patch I am pointing to with the Loki?
A Yeah. This right here is the Vagos patch. This is the rocker that represents where you are from.
Q Did somebody say something?
A This is their flags, and this is the beginning of when you became a member of the Vagos motorcycle club. This patch is not on your back at first when you are a Prospect. When you are done prospecting, that patch is given to you and you have to sew that patch on. Then you take it somewhere to get it sewed on.
Q All right now before we kind of digress into the Vagos and discussed the Vagos and hierarchy, I had a couple other questions about that. Do the Vagos have, each chapter, have regular meetings?
A Yes. They are called church.
Q And what do you discuss at church?
A Church, usually it is pretty much a lot of the same things, but most of the stuff at the church that is going on is the Bylaws, the Bylaws of the Vagos way of living. To make sure they understand those Bylaws. Everything in the Bylaws has to do with the National with the Presidents, with the members, with prospects and Vagos old ladies, their thinking of that nature. He’s laughing over there. I am going to tell you, you are going to like this, the thing about the Vagos ladies that has changed is that Vagos old ladies like to ride bikes, so they can’t ride bikes in the pack with the guys. What they have to do, they have their own Vagos lady patch that says she’s the property of such and such a member. Say for instance Leo, his wife has a rocker on her patch that says Vagos old lady belonging to Crusher, property of Crusher which means that is his property. No one can go near, disrespect or whatever. But if she wants to ride a bike and get on the bike, the rules change. If we are going out in the pack, say we are going up to, you know, coming here to Reno in a pack, she wants to ride a bike, she has to ride in the back of the pack, just like any guest or anybody of that nature. A Hang-around, the same thing. Prospects ride in the back also. Only members ride in the front, back then there is prospects then the Vagos old ladies.
Q Now Mr. Rudnick, what was his rank?
A Please, if you call him “Jabbers”.
Q We’ll go with “Jabbers.” I am sorry. Rudnick, “Jabbers.”
A He is Vice President of the Los Angeles Vagos.
Q So would that be the higher echelon?
A He’s the second in command of his charter.
Q Are there people under him that are required to protect him and stand behind him and back him up in case of an altercation?
A Absolutely. His whole charter, his Sergeant of Arms, depending on Campos. Campos was it. He holds rank. So you have to make sure he’s all right. By the same token, make sure the Vice President is okay. They split it. Usually they will have one. Sometimes Vagos charters or chapters they will have two Sergeants of Arm in their charters. A lot of them have two. One follows the president, one follows the Vice President. So, yes, they do watch them to make sure he’s okay. Being he’s in that position, all Vagos members, who are not…who are not officers of the club, if he needs assistance, they have to assist him no matter if they are at another charter. He don’t have to ask nobody at a time when something like this goes on, pull him off to do something.
Q All right. Now I am going to go to camera number 45.
A Okay. This is the guy right here.
Q There is “Jabbers” there. No, that is not “Jabbers”, excuse me, this is Garcia?
A Diego, yes.
Q Do you know who these women are?
A Yeah. That is the International Secretary’s old lady, I think her name is Patty, and that is her sister.
Q Are they associated with the Vagos?
A They are Vagos. Lori is definitely a Vagos old lady. These are just friends of hers.
Q Do you know what charter Diego Garcia is associated with?
A San Jose.
Q Now did you see Diego Garcia that evening?
Q Did you notice whether or not he had any injuries?
A Yes. He was shot in the right leg. There is Gonzales. Romeo. That is Little Dave right there. Now he’s here. He comes over to have a discussion. This is the Sergeant at Arms for South Bay. This is Justin. He’s a Prospect. When you see his back, you will see a patch. This gentleman is from Lake County. I think his name is Mike or Mark. I can’t remember. You have to, even though you are in a club for a long time, there is some people in a club, there is not just a couple hundred, you know, there is over thousands of people in the club now. Right there is “Jabbers.” Right there. He’s putting on his gloves. He’s talking to him. The reason why he’s putting on his gloves, for one reason only, is that it is a premeditated thing. They are going to start some action. This thing is going to go off. And they already have talked to each other, and he told him and he put on his gloves, because they are ready to get down with the people that will come into the picture here shortly. See his gloves going on?
Q Are these Hells Angels?
A These are Hells Angels.
Q Walking past him?
A And there is some prospects and Hang-arounds that are moving forward. Mind you, this was diffused by National. This is Bobby V, the Vice President, and this is Pettigrew. Now this is “Jabbers”.
Q When you say it was diffused, you were talking about forty minutes earlier when they were at the Oyster Bar?
A Absolutely. When the National members went down and talked to them, everything was worked out. It was diffused. There was no problems.
Q Do you know Pettigrew or Jethro?
Q What is his rank?
A President of San Jose Hells Angels.
Q Is that significant?
A In Hells Angels world, absolutely. He’s one of probably top five or six on the council of Hells Angels.
Q So he’s an important person in the Hells Angels organization?
A One of the most important guys in the United States.
Q All right. So do you know whether or not the Hells Angels motorcycle club is similar to the Vagos motorcycle club in terms of the hierarchy and the code of conduct in terms of protecting the President, respect?
A One hundred percent.
Q Very similar?
A One hundred percent. The only difference between the Hells Angels and only difference between the Vagos is that each charter or chapter of the Hells Angels are all separately incorporated. Vagos are under one cooperate-type entity. The Hells Angels, it is a very, actually it is a smart move on their behalf. The reason why, it has to do with, you know, conspiracy factors and what is the other?
Q Aiding and abetting, Rico?
A Rico. Thank you so much. Rico and things of that nature. So if someone does something in this chapter here, that is incorporated, Hells Angels San Jose, San Francisco is not responsible. Oakland is not responsible for that particular situation. That is how it was formed by them. Sonny Barger forged that a while back.
A We see the gloves on Diego. What he does, you just saw him, he taps him saying, hey, you know, seems like he’s saying no problem. But this guy right here, “Jabbers”, has a big mouth. He’s always had a big mouth. This guy is going to grab on to him, because he probably sees him taunting again.
Q Would taunting and provoking….
Q …be similar?
Q To pick a fight?
A Yeah. He’s again in his face. Pettigrew as you saw was walking by. He called him over.
Q Would that be disrespectful?
A One hundred percent.
Q After what had happened earlier at the Oyster Bar to call him over?
A Absolutely. As far as today is concerned with “Jabbers”, he’s no longer in the Vagos motorcycle club. He’s been kicked out, okay? And because of the problems he’s done which is going to create a lot of problems for him.
Q I don’t want to digress. I am on a limited time. Let’s just, I want to bring your attention to one thing, though that would maybe be indicative of preparation for battle, and that was one thing that we already discussed was the fact Diego Garcia put some gloves on. Based upon your experience with the club, that would be preparation for battle?
A One hundred percent.
Q The other thing where we have Romeo.
A Romeo, yeah he’s taking off.
Q He has a drink?
A He comes over, drops off his drink which means he’s getting prepared. This is the President of San Jose.
Q Now he’s freeing up his hands?
A There. He’s right there.
Q Vagos there. Here is a Hells Angels that gets hit. Over here you can see Pettigrew and Bobby V getting attacked from the rear?
Q Would that be, based upon your view of this, a concerted effort?
A One hundred percent.
Q Of the Vagos? All right.
A But it works on both ends because….
Q Pettigrew threw the first punch?
A It started from that point, things going to happen. Pettigrew could have said to him as well, hey, listen things has been diffused. I talked to your National members. Everything is okay. It didn’t happen. This is the outcome. That is Leo Ramirez right there. He was shot. He was shot in the stomach. And he shot Diego in the leg and Gonzalez, Romeo, disappeared back here.
Q Would it be fair to say in modern terms parlance a challenge to fight was issued and accepted in this particular case?
A Absolutely. There is Pettigrew.
Q Now where were you in relation when all this was going down? Where were you?
A I was blown to some tables. When I came down the aisle, everything started to happen. We took a right turn. Right to the left, Pettigrew was right in the middle. He was in the fight. The Vagos were crushing him. Leo went inside. Gunshots went off. Leo went left, went out, got shot in the stomach. All hell broke loose, just bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, you know. Bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, numerous amount of shots were happening. I ran straight. I told everybody to hit the deck, everybody. There is people still on the tables, people on machines. Finally, everybody…actually rammed into the tables, and there is a lady delivering some drinks. I ran into the table. She fell down. I hit my hand. I just wanted to get everybody down. When gunfire is going off, anyone can get hit. I am surprised that a citizen didn’t get shot in the event. Because anyone could have walked out of any corner anywhere. You could have walked out of the bathroom and got shot.
Q There was one other individual that I wanted to ask you if you knew who he was.
A There is Gonzales there.
Q I guess I can ask in simple terms, do you know who shot Leonard Ramirez or Leo?
A Yes, him.
Q This fellow right here?
Q Do you know what his name is?
A God, I can’t believe it. I lost my train of thought on him. Cesar.
Q Cesar Villagrana?
A Yes. Sorry.
Q That is all right. We can see this fight here. Are there other altercations going on?
A Bobby V gets hit. He hit him in the head with the gun. Lake County Vagos. There is a fight down over here.
Q He’s going to get hit again. You see him go down right there?
A Yup. Because that happens. That is when he walks in, all the fight starts happening over here.
Q There is the shooting?
A Yeah, bam. But then there was so many shots going on right now. There is shots going on through this whole melee that is happening here.
Q Did you see any Vagos with guns?
Q While you were there?
A No, I didn’t see guns. They were all tucked away. But I am sure there were plenty of guns there.
Q So then I was going to go to camera 5.
A These are Vagos old ladies. One is “Jabbers” wife here.
Q Would there be a reason they would be standing over here as opposed to standing over there with their husband?
A The husbands told them to move over here, because something was going to take place.
Q The altercation we just witnessed on camera 45 would be happening at the top of the screen?
Q They are kind of back here?
A Because they were told to go there.
Q Would that be indicative of a prior plan to engage in mutual combat?
A Absolutely. Absolutely. They are watching the whole time. As you can see, although people here, some people here, any moment any of them could have been shot, been killed innocently.
Q Here is 88.
A That is me, and Pettigrew is in here now with the fight. Then the bullets. You will see me run through here. Bullets go off.
Q Pettigrew in camera 5 at 23:26:20. There is a number of Vagos he’s confronting?
A Yes. Leo comes in here, takes a left. He would be right over here. Takes a right. He is throwing something at the guy with the gun. I don’t know, maybe it is his karate background, who knows. But at that time, he gets shot, but then the shooting is pretty repetitive. It happened, you hear the first round of shooting go off, one, two seconds; next sound of shooting go off, one, two seconds; next round of shooting goes off. Bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam. And to me it sounded like there were thirty rounds go off. It is not out of the question for the members, after they shoot their guns or whatever, to pick up the bullets as the evidence and take it with them. Everybody is hitting the ground.
Q That looks like another Hells Angels getting chased by some Vagos there.
A Yeah. He ran through here. I think that is Lunch Box right there.
Q All right. Then camera 3. So this would be just to the left of Trader Dicks looking at the bathrooms?
A Yeah. That is the bathroom. That is the men’s. Women’s over there.
Q We need to kind of move ahead a little.
A There I am right there.
Q Okay. So that you are heading towards the altercation?
A Absolutely. You see the punch. You see, I mean you see the punch right there, bam when he hit “Jabbers” in the face, then all the melee took place.
Q Ducking and running, is that consistent with the beginning of people running for cover?
A Absolutely. You know, it is a Friday night. There is a lot of people at the casino. Everybody is just minding their business playing, you know, their game, playing their poker, playing their game. And this is like a pretty heavy thing to happen.
Q Here we see an H.A.?
Q He gets attacked by more Vagos down here?
A Yes, he does.
Q That is a group of Vagos attacking the Hells Angels?
A Absolutely. Actually, some women in the women’s bathroom.
Q So right there is that where you see Pettigrew come down?
Q That is where Pettigrew….
A Gets shot.
Q That is where he gets shot, right there?
A He gets shot four times in the back.
Q So then here is camera 7, and that surveillance camera captures the front of Rosie’s Cafe which, again, is just left of the bathroom. I guess that would be south of the bathroom. I am going to go ahead.
A There I am right there. I just came out of the bathroom with Crusher.
Q Ramirez was with you?
Q He went down where the fight was. That is where he got shot?
Q Diego Garcia putting on the gloves. He gets shot?
Q Then Pettigrew gets shot?
A And he dies.
Q So that series of events I just relayed, is that consistent with the video and your recollection of the events of that evening?
Q Basically, was that a result of the challenge to fight issued by “Jabbers” to Pettigrew?
A Absolutely. One hundred percent.
Q All right. Thank you.
MR. HALL: I have no further questions.
THE FOREMAN: Do we have any questions for the witness?
A GRAND JUROR: I have a question.
THE WITNESS: Yes.
A GRAND JUROR: Do you know who actually fired the shots at Mr. Pettigrew and hit him with the bullets?
THE WITNESS: Yeah, Gonzales.
A GRAND JUROR: I don’t know if you can answer this. Is he just following the code at that point, Gonzales, do you think?
THE WITNESS: When a situation like this happens, it is Vagos Forever, Forever Vagos. Whatever happens at that time, the way the Vagos organization feels, when you get into situations is to protect. And “Jabbers”, he is a Vice President. That is how it started. So the thing was the guy who was the shooter and Diego, they are related. They are family, okay? So the chapter that was started, when you saw the cut, the jacket with the Vagos Nicaragua and San Jose are all cousins. Gonzalez and Diego are cousins. They are the ones who helped start that whole charter down there. And they are building the chapter very rapidly down there right now. So to your answer, it is a thing that happens, and it is a protective mode to go in because of the guns and the shooting of the other Vagos individuals that got shot first by the Hells Angels automatically puts them into the mode to shoot one of them.
BY MR. HALL:
Q I was going to ask a question. You mentioned San Jose and the fact the Vagos are expanding rapidly in the San Jose area, Nicaragua area. The Vagos were expanding in the San Jose area?
A They were.
Q Had that caused some problems with the Hells Angels?
A Yes. Hells Angels didn’t want them there. The Hlls Angels in northern California are very big. The Hells Angels felt the Vagos were coming into their territory. It is like you have a home. You have an acre of land. That is your land. They have been there for some years. They claim that territory. Like taking a house and putting it on the corner of your lot. That is the way they feel about it in laymen’s terms. This is our house. Just don’t move into our territory. It is going to create problems. Well, it has been creating problems forever. A lot of people…this is not the first incident that this has happened. This has been building up, building up. Big Mike, Lake County got beat merciless in a casino. But he was the one who was provoking the Hells Angels over there telling them they were scum bags, they are pigs, all these things. They came and beat his ass. There was another Vagos with him named Chris from Lake County who was a Secretary. They didn’t touch him because he wasn’t a big mouth. So with all that said, then you have the incident in Bakersfield. I don’t know if you know about the incident in Bakersfield. An 18 year old young man was stabbed right through his body by Diego who was a Hells Angels.
Q The victim was a Vagos?
A Victim was a Vagos. His father brought him in. He was an 18 year old kid. Now that was also provoked by the Vagos motorcycle club. He said go up in, a 18 year old young man who was getting patched. The Bylaws, an 18 year old is not suppose to come into this club. For some reason his father, being in the position he was, their rules were changed a little bit. But the kid was killed, and he was stabbed twice in the back. So the man went on trial, but it got self-defense on the Hells Angels. They walked away. But Vagos provoked it. They provoked that one, too. Lied about it at first. It was provoked. So then the point being, there has been some ongoing animosity and problems between the Vagos and Hell Angels. Arizona. This is all stuff that just happened within the last, you know, year and a half, two years. Arizona there was a pack going to a party. Hells Angels came out, six guys shooting on the Vagos on the bikes, shooting on them. They weren’t very good shots, I hate to say. When the Vagos came up on them, they shot three of their guys. You know, one was critical. This is a situation that is ongoing. And because of this particular event and, you know, Pettigrew.
Q We can probably leave it there I am sure as far as this case goes.
A Okay. Yes?
A GRAND JUROR: How long is someone in the higher hierarchy? If you are a Vice President, is it a year term, four years, until they vote you out?
THE WITNESS: You can stay there. You are pretty much there as long as you want to be. There is a vote that happens, but most of the time in the vote, people don’t like to be in an officer position because an officer position is the one that gets hit the most, you know, from all sanctions, whether it be National or law enforcement. They go after a lot of the hierarchy, you know, the Presidents, Vice Presidents, Secretaries, all that. So in order to become, you know, an officer in a club, you have got to really think hard in order to do that. But, yes, he could be there for a very long time. But if the time period comes, he could became a Nomad and do what he wants to do.
THE FOREMAN: Do we have any other questions? Sir, the proceedings before the Grand Jury are secret. You may not disclose evidence presented to the Grand Jury, any event occurring or statement made in the presence of the Grand Jury, any information obtained by the Grand Jury or the result of the investigation being made by the Grand Jury. However, you may disclose the above information to the District Attorney for use in the performance of his duties. You may also disclose your knowledge concerning the proceedings when directed by a court in connection with judicial proceeding or when otherwise permitted by the court to your own attorney. The obligation of secrecy applies until the Court allows the matter to become public record. A gross misdemeanor and contempt of court may be pursued if your obligation of secrecy is not followed. Do you understand?
THE WITNESS: I understand.
THE FOREMAN: Thank you.
THE WITNESS: Thank you.
The Outlaw Biker Authority
BY MR. STEGE:
Q Sir, would you state and spell your name?
A Jorge Gil-Blanco. J-O-R-G-E. G-I-L hyphen B-L-A-N-C-O.
Q Sir, how are you currently employed?
A I am the the Training Coordinator for the Western States Information Network.
Q What is that organization?
A WSIN is the acronym. We are one of the six RISS centers, Regional Information Sharing Systems. There are six RISS centers throughout the United States. We cover the five western states, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, Hawaii. We are a federally funded agency, but we receive Justice assistance. Our purpose is to assist law enforcement agencies in the dissemination of intelligence, gathering of intelligence, putting people together, making sure people work together, work cases together. We also have de-conflict systems. In other words, any time an agency assisting to conduct a search warrant, do any kind of law enforcements operation they call WSIN in or one of the RISS centers. It is posted on a board, basically. So we, in any blue on blue situation, if there is a conflict, anybody working within that area, a phone call is made and both agencies know there is a possible conflict in their operations.
Q Is one of the things that you do is monitoring outlaw motorcycle gangs?
A My specialty happens to be assisting in investigations monitoring outlaw motorcycle gangs.
Q Is one of those outlaw motorcycle gangs you monitor the Hells Angels?
A Yes, it is.
Q Do you have experience monitoring them?
Q Tell us a little bit about that experience and training.
A Yes. I was a police officer for thirty-four years. I started with the Los Angeles Police Department. I went to work for the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department. That was a total of 5 years between the two agencies. I then went to work for the San Jose Police Department. During my tenure of twenty-six years as a police officer there, I worked the intelligence unit. I was specifically assignment outlaw motorcycle gangs. The last four-year period specifically that is all I monitored was outlaw motorcycle gangs.
Q Would you just monitor motorcycle gangs in your area or have a National perspective or regional perspective?
A As with most of you, you are obviously mandated to work within your area, your jurisdiction. However, to really be effective, you have to understand the whole National-International concept of outlaw motorcycle gangs. Of the 7 major outlaw motorcycle gangs, the Hells Angels are the top of the heap.
Q What are those 7 outlaw motorcycle gangs?
A Hells Angels, Outlaws, the Mongols, the Pagans, the Vagos, the Sons of Silence, the Bandidos.
Q Let me ask you, you might have answered this with the previous question, did you conduct actual investigations and arrests of Hells Angels motorcycle group members when you were a police officer?
A No. My goal was just an intelligence gathering function to assist other officers in the actual investigation. I would obtain intelligence Information, or I would kind of look at the big picture almost in an analytical sense, looking at all the different cases, finding out what is going on in different areas, putting the puzzle together.
Q With that information, would you share it with other officers who could take enforcement action, things of that sort?
A Correct. Yes, sir. Then I actually, after four years doing that, I went to the DEA, Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force. As a Task Force Agent, I actively worked cases on Hells Angels.
Q So you sort of transitioned into a more enforcement type role doing arrests, Search Warrants, such like that?
Q Was that specifically aimed at outlaw motorcycle gangs or specifically Hells Angels?
A The reason I went to the Task Force was specifically to work Hells Angels outlaw motorcycle gang cases. I worked all different aspects of drug enforcement.
Q Have you ever taught any courses to other agencies on the subject of the Hells Angels and outlaw motorcycle gangs?
A For the pat twenty years, I teach an average of about twenty classes a year. I give presentations all over the United States. I give presentations in Canada. I have conducted and also done expert testimony on outlaw motorcycle gang cases.
Q You have testified…In which courts have you testified as an expert in Hells Angels motorcycle gang cases?
A Hells Angels, specifically, Arizona. In Nevada, in Las Vegas in a case involving eleven Hells Angels, two associated and the stabbing of Mongols in California and the State of Washington.
Q Have you testified in any Federal cases also related to outlaw motorcycle gangs?
A Just one, in the State of Washington, an evidentiary hearing on a Hells Angels case.
Q Have you been recognized by the courts of those jurisdictions as an expert in the field of outlaw motorcycle gangs?
A Yes, I have.
Q Now in your current duty, do you monitor specific intelligence surrounding outlaw motorcycle gangs?
A Yes. I am not a sworn officer anymore, so I assist in the agency. Basically, if a case happens, I usually get a phone call. If it is a Hells Angels case, Vagos case, if it is any kind of significant case, I usually get a phone call to assist. Sometimes, depending on the size of an agency, some of the agencies are smaller, so I might assist them in preparing the report, you know. Sometimes they will send me the report, ask am I missing anything here, is there anything that should be added, that type of thing. So I assist in that
respect. Give them suggestions, give them advice on, you know, things that could possibly help them in their investigation. Put people together to help in the investigation. It is a big network.
Q Part of that is to continue to gather the information and share it with other officers?
Q Or law enforcement agencies?
Q Were you called on the case or did someone call you on the case you are about to testify about that happened?
A Initially, 3:00 o’clock in the morning on the Saturday after the shooting, I couldn’t sleep, and I got up and I got on my computer and saw the Fusion Center was on line, sent a message. They told me what had happened. I started helping identify individual members and all that.
Q Have you had specific contact with Hells Angels members over your years as a law enforcement officer and in your current position?
A Yes, I have.
Q Tell us a little bit about that, your contact with Hells Angels members.
A I have had contact as a matter of fact with the Hells Angel that was killed in this incident. I actually had spoken to him personally, had investigated him while I was a San Jose police officer. I have also talked to numerous other Hells Angels that were currently members or ex-members of the organization.
Q Do you have an understanding of the way, based on that plus your experience doing the intelligence portion, do you have an understanding of how the Hells Angels motorcycle group works?
A Yes, based on talking to well over probably ten to twelve Hells Angels over the course of my career, actually sitting down and talking to them, debriefing them, talking about how the organization works. I also monitor, they have what is called the West Coast office or meeting notes which every, most Hells Angels meet once a month either in San Bernardino or Oakland at which time they discuss what is going on in the organization. They actually type up minutes. It is disseminated to all the different chapters. Sometimes during Search Warrants, we seize those documents. I make a habit of going over those documents to get an idea worldwide.
Q Are you aware or read police report surrounding crimes that have been committed by Hells Angels members?
Q Now you have prepared a slide show to assist in your presentation today?
Q Is now a good point to get into that?
A Sure. Sure is.
Q I will direct your attention to the screen.
MR. STEGE: I will note for the record we will provide a copy of these slides. For the record, it is the Sparks Vagos versus H.A. case.
BY MR. STEGE:
Q Right here?
A Right there.
Q All right. You will begin your presentation. Tell me when to click.
A Okay. Go ahead. What I did, I put down, so you get an idea the gang structure of the Hells Angels, how the organization is structured, the etiology, philosophy of outlaw motorcycle gangs, in particular the Hells Angels. The first slide, this is a document seized during a Search Warrant conducted at the Fresno Hells Angels clubhouse back in 2003. It was a case that was conducted… investigation of Hells Angels which subsequently resulted in the conviction of numerous Hells Angels for charges of robbery, burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, all with a gang enhancement in the State of California. The document is actually about eight or nine pages long. I kind of highlighted some of the area it applies, in my opinion, to the gang statute, that they are a gang, what their philosophy is. The first part, a serious motorcycle club, MC stands for motorcycle club, commands respect. In the gang world, it is all about respect. Of course, it is a different type of respect than we would expect as normal citizens. Those who are informed respect the man for what he has accomplished by being able to earn and keep the patch he wears. Those informed we are talking about individuals that have earned that patch once you have gone through being a Hang-around, a Prospect, gone through the ranks, get that full patch. They understand what it takes a be a full patch member. Those less informed are everybody else. See the vigilance of mutual support, potential danger, evincing the potential danger of invoking a response from a well-organized unit that travels in numbers and is always prepared for a confrontation. In other words this is what it is about. It is all about the gang mentality. We, as a group, we cause fear and intimidation because we come in as a group wearing these patches, riding a motorcycle, prepared for confrontation. Is always ready for that confrontation, always ready for that fight. They know that one cannot provoke one club member without being answerable to the entire group. In other words one on all and all on one. In other words, if one member is assaulted or attacked everybody is expected to join in. You don’t stand back. It is not just a one-on-one type situation.
Q Can I interrupt you a little bit here? You said this document or this is from a document seized during a Search Warrant in San Jose?
A No, Fresno.
Q Fresno. Sorry. Is it your belief this is a National document that goes out to all the chapters?
A This is a document to me to corroborate my opinion on what an outlaw motorcycle is, what their philosophy is, what they do. This also has do’s and don’ts for a Prospect for example.
Q Does this language here, those sorts of rules, have you seen that in effect in other clubs or in Hells Angels in general, this idea that if one person is attacked, they all must respond?
A I have seen that similar in other clubs, particularly the Vagos. Not written the same way, but along the same lines.
Q Is that a value or credo of the Hells Angels motorcycle club?
A Yes, it is.
Q Would you say the same thing about the other values or statements on this slide, it is a trait of all Hells Angels?
Q That is based on your experience and training?
Q I interrupted you there I think?
A The second part it says: And that such an answer is a point of honor that must come to the last man. The type of respect that this generates is one that is born out of fear. That is exactly what it is. The only way you get respect is by causing fear and intimidation to other people. That is the gangster’s motto.
Q Is it fair to say each Hells Angels — Are we going to get to the organization?
Q I will save my question until then. Let’s talk about this next?
A This part over here, of all things in a man’s life his loyalty and commitment to the well-being of his club comes first, above family, job, friend, personal possessions and personal safety. In other words, the club comes before anything else. Your gang is your life. That is your identity. That is your lifestyle no matter whether you are gainfully employed or not. There is never ever any doubt or time spent on considering which comes first. The only thing that approaches his commitment to the club is his commitment to his brother. But I have even heard the interests of the club always come before that of the individual. In other words, this is your life. Are you prepared to make that commitment when you come as a Hang-around, Prospect, to get the full patch.
Q When they say club here, are they talking about their local club like one in a city called Los Angeles, their loyalty to that club or the entire Hells Angels?
A The Hells Angels organization.
Q Also there is a statement here about the only thing that approaches commitment to the club is the commitment to his brother. What does that brother terminology mean within the Hells Angels motorcycle group?
A That is a common terminology when outlaw motorcycle gang members refer to the other as you are my brother. They refer to them as brothers.
Q Let’s talk about the third slide here?
A This is basically the steps that it takes to become a member. How do you became a member of this organization? The first step is you became a friend or associate of the organization. That is the first step. They start hooking up, start hanging out with these individuals. You have no official status in the organization at this point. You are not an official member. You can attend club parties and functions. You can be seen associating with club members. You may be required to do menial tasks for the club, bartending, sentry duty, etcetera. In the words of one of the Hells Angels I was able to talk with recently, it was basically we are going to look at you, we are going to tell you you want to be one of us, we are going have you Hang-around with us. Some of them have a rule unless I know you for 5 years, we are not going to even talk to you. They are always concerned about infiltration.
Q You said they are looking at the associate. What are the values that the Hells Angles motorcycle club cling to or look for in associates or people who are trying to enter the Hells Angels?
A Well, they call it do you have what it takes to be a Hells Angels? To me, in talking to them, it is just you fit into that mold like the description over there, are you ready to take on other rival clubs? Are you willing to, this is your lifestyle, give your life for a brother if you have to?
Q Is this just a club where people are really close or crime is being committed as part of being the Hells Angel?
A You don’t become a Hells Angel unless you are willing to be involved in criminal activity. In the words of the Hells Angels I debriefed, you are involved in criminal activity whether you are higher level or lower level, but you are involved in criminal activity one time or another.
Q Is that one of the focuses of being in the Hells Angels?
A You mean by focus, that is what their goal is or they aspire to be?
Q Right. That they commit felonies or commit crime as part of being a Hells Angels? That is a value?
A There is nothing written down. In other words, if you are going to come into the Hells Angels and they are looking at you, it is not a matter of, well, are you willing to commit this crime, this crime, this crime? They don’t talk about that. It is, if I am looking at you, and I have a drug distribution business and you are going to Prospect for me, I am going to sponsor you, then, obviously, I trust you enough to try to bring you into my midst. You will be part of me. Are you willing to get involved in that aspect, all different types of crime? They are involve in white color crimes, blue color crimes, you name it.
Q That is documented, all those crimes you are referencing?
Q Would a friend or associate be required to participate in those crimes to sort of work their way up the ranks?
A One of those is what do you bring to the table. What do you have to offer to bring to this organization? Do you have a network already? Do you have the ability to get involved in this? Are you what I would call an individual that is willing to take people on because of your size, because of your looks. Like you could be an intimidating individual.
Q Let’s move on to the next slide here.
A The next step…By the way, kind of going back a little bit, as an associate, there are people that are happy being associates. They have no aspiration of becoming a member. The ones that would want to become members get into this part over here. You want to start being a Hang-around. They make you an official Hang-around at that point, what I would call a non-voting member of the organization because you are not a full patch yet. But you get…Some of the states, not all the chapters, the majority on the West coast will give their Hang-arounds a license plate, basically a rectangular shaped patch like you see on this photograph here. The red background, white lettering. It will have the chapter that you are a Hang-around for. If it happened to be the Nevada Nomads, it would say no Nomad on the back. On the front it would say Nomad. Also it would have NV, Nevada?
Q Explain what Nomad is within the Hells Angels?
A A Nomad, just about every state has a Nomad chapter. The intent of the Nomad chapter, just like it would be instead of having the Reno chapter, there is a Nomad chapter. They happen to be in Reno. They are still a Hells Angels chapter. They are meant to have the ability to roam, not be tied down to one area. If there is an area within that state that is not covered by another chapter, then they get to go in and try to control that area, take care of business in that area. Anyway, this can last anywhere from two to three months and might be longer. I have seen it usually two to three months is the average as a Hang-around then you get taken up to the next step.
Q What sort of, in the previous slide you talked about having to do menial tasks might be something they would have to do. How are those duties changed when you make it to Hang-around status?
A As a Hang-around, you are expected to do more. You are expected to do those menial tasks. The associate, it is kind of up to you if you want to do it. Whereas here, you are expected to kind of step up. It depends how fast, how much you step up to the plate to take care of business, to show that you are really interested in being a Hells Angels, then you are going to have to do more tasks. Okay. Again, it could be as simple as go get me a beer, go get me a hamburger, go get me whatever it is they want. Doing guard duty when they go on a run, a motorcycle run, or go to an event. These guys will be out and guard the motorcycles, direct traffic, things like that.
Q In terms of committing crime or helping people in the club to commit crime, is your role expected to increase or the same as the previous step?
A It depends how serious they are going to take you as to what your role is.
Q Let’s move on to the next slide.
A The next step up is you became a Prospect. At that point, you wear a bottom rocker as depicted in thisphotograph. They will have the state or country you are from. It will have the MC for motorcycle club on the front. It will have a patch similar to that in white background, red lettering, Prospect. Another patch that will have the chapter you are a Prospect for. At this point, it is mandatory at least a year as a Prospect before you can became a full patch member. But you are expected to travel around to as many different chapters as you can so other members get to see you, get to meet you, get to see what you are like. And, again, you are going to be doing security, could be debt collection, enforcement. Again, be involved in, more active involvement in criminal activity.
Q Let’s move on to another slide.
A It is basically the more things you offer. You have have to have unanimous vote to become a full patch. It has to be one hundred percent by all members in a chapter. If one says no, then you don’t became a member. They put it up for discussion. They might have another vote again, but it has to be a unanimous vote.
Q Can I ask you something about a Hang-around status? There was previous testimony by a witness about in the Vagos motorcycle club the Hang-around or Prospect becomes property of a particular member. Is there a similar analogous thing in the Hells Angels?
A Yes and no. You have to have a sponsor to go up so you are a full patch member of that particular chapter. You are a Prospect for the Hells Angeles, not a Prospect for this individual. That is just your sponsor. Do they get proprietary sometimes? Yes. But you are not considered property of the sponsor in the Hells Angels.
Q We have been talking about like the patch and things people wear. Is this something that is unique to the Hells Angels motorcycle club?
A Not all of them. I mean the other chapters will have, like the Vagos bottom rocker says the state and have that on the back. But, obviously, the colors are going to be different, but pretty much along the same lines. I have yet to see a Hang-around patch for the Vagos.
Q But the colors, are the colors red and white significant in the Hells Angels?
A Absolutely. All the different gangs have their own particular colors. The Hells Angels are red and white. That is another term how they are commonly referred to, red and white.
Q Let’s move on to step four, I guess, full patch member. Please describe that.
A Once you get your full patch, you get a top rocker which says Hells Angels depicted in the photograph. The bottom rocker has the state or country, a death head. It has on the death head, you notice the mouth is closed. It might be a little difficult to see. It has stitching across the mouth. We don’t talk about club business. That was actually changed in 1987 from the open mouth death head. MC for motorcycle club. On the front you usually have, it varies from member to member, Hells Angeles, they will have a chapter they are from. If they are an officer in the organization, it will have their rank such as President, Vice President, Sergeant at Arms, Secretary/Treasurer. Those are the office positions. The rest of them are all rather optional what they want to wear.
Q You said the logo. There are the wings. The skull is called a death head?
A Death head, yes.
Q You said that logo changed. Could you explain what it was that changed?
A It has actually changed three times during the history of the Hells Angels. When they first started in 1948, it was a smaller death head still referred to it then. Basically, you look at this photograph, this death head the black and red top is suppose to signify a fighter. The bottom is a leather helmet, back from World War II, more detail back then when it first came out. It was basically a wing that was pointed straight up. It was more of a caricature. They then changed it to the type of death head, a little more sophisticated. One wing view on the side view with the mouth open. In 1987, after Operation Caucasus was taken down, it was a case where an individual by the name of Anthony Tate, Tony Tate infiltrated the Hells Angels, the whole time working as an agent for the police, for the FBI, for the ATF. He became the West Coast Sergeant at Arms. After that, it was basically because he testified about the Hells Angels, it was basically closed mouth. We don’t talk about club business.
Q That was this direct response to the law enforcement action and problems of the Hells Angels?
A Yes. I mean it was right after that case. When that case was taken down, they changed it shortly after to closed mouth.
Q Tell us a little bit about the insignia, the patches and the AFFA?
A It stands for Angel Forever, Forever Angel. The Vagos have the same, Vagos Forever, Forever Vagos. It is the same thing. The outlaw motorcycle gangs, they all have that type of thing. “World”, is basically they are a world organization. The Hells Angels have different patches, no particular meaning, just for decoration. In this, the one percent is basically they consider themselves one percenters. The term one percenter came about in 1947 when, after a couple of incidents down in Riverside, a riot in Hollister, the President of the American Motorcycle Association said people who ride motorcycles are getting a bad reputation. It is ninety-nine percent of the people riding motorcycles are good law abiding citizens. The one percent gives it a bad name. That is where the term comes from. The people that consider themselves outlaws go by the term one percenter.
Q What sort of values do they abuse being the one percent?
A The rules of society don’t apply to us.
Q Is that one percenter I.D., is that something unique only to the Hells Angels or do other groups share that one percenter idea?
A Other groups also share that one percenter idea.
Q What other sort of groups, other gangs?
A Other gangs. The Vagos, the Outlaws, the Pagans, the Bandidos.
Q Let’s move to the next slide.
A This is the structure on the local level. You have a President, a Vice President, Secretary/Treasurer, Sergeant at Arms. Those are the officers, considered the officers of the organization, your full patch members. You have a Road Captain which is kind of collateral duty, that is basically in charge when going on a run, carrying cash for that, which route we are taking, are we going to go in cop friendly territory, enemy territory, who is going to be carrying the guns, security type of thing. In addition to the Sergeant at
Arms, prospects and the Hang-arounds, your associates, you have your old lady, party girl and your puppet clubs over to the side. Puppet club being a group that is formed by that particular chapter to basically enhance their number without being part of Hells Angels.
Q Is this hierarchy important in the Hells Angels culture?
A Absolutely, yes.
Q We talked at the beginning about respect being a key value in the Hells Angels. How does the hierarchy play into that value?
A As far as respect goes, the old time members it is not so much the respect, as far as this is more of a structure, a structure of the organization, kind of the order that it sets. They are very structured.
Q Now can a Prospect or lower level officer question a person at the top of the hierarchy?
A They can question. I mean they are required to have weekly meetings which are called church. It is only attended by the full patch members and the officers. Prospects and Hang-arounds are not allowed to attend the weekly meeting. They can be outside guarding the bikes, doing menial duty while the full patches are having the meeting inside.
Q Let me ask another question about the clothing. Would you ever see a non-Hells Angels member wearing a Hells Angels death head patch or the rocker or any of the back patches without being associated with actually Hells Angels?
A I have seen that, not very often, but it is because they really don’t take seriously the consequences of being caught by a Hells Angels wearing those colors. They take that very seriously.
Q What are the consequences?
A Could be as minimal as a beat down to getting killed.
Q We have another slide here on the world organization Hells Angels?
A The United States is broken into East Coast and West Coast. The West Coast starts in Denver, Colorado. All the Hells Angels chapters west of Denver, Colorado include Alaska, California, Arizona and Nevada. Two officers from every charter are required to attend what is called the West Coast officers’ meeting. It is held in Oakland and San Bernardino clubhouse. They elect, out of those officers, a Chairman, Sergeant of Arms, Secretary/Treasurer. Those are the highest ranking officers to the West Coast. They do the same thing for the East Coast members. That starts in Nebraska, Omaha, and all the chapters east of that. They have a similar structure. They also meet once a month. At these meetings, they express what is going on in the respective areas. And in the minutes you can see by each chapter month, new business, such and such is a new member, so on and so on. A new Prospect, the Hang-around, so and so got raided, so and so got arrested for carrying a gun or took a gun beef, things like that.
Q The criminal aspect of the Hells Angels is reflected in the International organization?
Q Let’s move on here to I guess the next series of slides is entitled Gang Violence. We have a list here. Explain what this is?
A Dequiallo, in keeping with the violence. In my opinion, they are not afraid to assault citizens, but also police officers. This is a patch earned by assaulting a police officer. The top dequiallo, that is the oldest patch around between the two of them. It is the incorrect spelling. The actual correct spelling is the one, d-e-g-u-e-l-l-o Spanish word on the bottom. If you look up deguello in the
dictionary, there are two definitions. One is the give no mercy, expect no quarter. The other definition is cutting somebody’s throat.
Q This is something that a Hells Angels member would earn by assaulting a police officer?
A Absolutely. That is the only way you earn that patch.
Q Worn as a patch of pride?
A Yes, it is.
Q You have a slide here of a death head on a motorcycle?
A Yes. It is a photograph I took actually in Cody, Wyoming during the USA run, one of the annual events for the Hells Angels just to show again they portray themselves to be just a social organization, doing Toys for Tots, blood drives, all that. But they are actually a criminal street gang. They are, as you can see the 187 which is the California term for homicide which is commonly used by gangsters just to show fear and intimidation. This is a T-shirt, photograph I took of a T-shirt, a Santa Cruz Hells Angels chapter T-shirt. They sell these type of T-shirts. It has a two-fold effect. One is show how the ball-peen hammer is a choice weapon. They carry them around as weapons. The blood dripping from this, it says support your local red and white, the term for the Hells Angels. Santa Cruz 81 on there, Hells Angels, the eighth and first letter of the alphabet. Beat them they will bleed, and then beat them for bleeding, to incur fear and intimidation.
Q The culture of the Hells Angels motorcycle club?
A Yes. Another T-shirt from the CC, stands for Cave Creek 81 Hells Angels talking about revenge. Just like any typical gang, an eye for an eye. Right at the bottom, the crossed ball-peen hammers in the teeth of the skull. Support your local red and white. Another T-shirt, Hells Angels World Run. Basically, this was commemorative of T-shirt given out to the members attending the World Run that was held in New Hampshire in 2003. It was right after the Laughlin shootout which occurred in 2002 in Las Vegas depicting the shooter from that, Cal Shaffer, with a ball-peen hammer depicted in the video in one hand and a gun in the other. Another violent act again showing the ball-peen hammer as a weapon, blood dripping. This is a Valley Ojai Hells Angels T-shirt. Even right here depicting exactly what it says, you can run but you can’t hide, hitting the individual over the head with a ball-peen hammer. This is the Riverside chapter of the T-shirt. Another one, orange County has on the shirt, get lit, upside down police car on fire.
Q You are aware of specific rivalries between the Hells Angels and other outlaw motorcycle gangs?
A Yes. I keep track of all the different incidents documented throughout the United States.
Q Specifically the Hells Angels as a gang and the other motorcycle groups as a gang?
Q Talk about this.
A This photograph I took is a sticker up on a wall inside the Merced Hells Angels clubhouse. A Search Warrant issued by law enforcement in that area. It depicts the Nomad chapter. Angel Forever, Forever Angel. May God have mercy on our enemy because we won’t. Blood dripping. APMD, all Pagans must die. ALOMD, all outlaws must die. AMMD, all Mongols must die with two .45’s on either side talking about revenge, kill the enemy. Another drawing of the Hells Angels AFFA, Angel Forever, Forever Angel. I think if you have a status with the Hells Angels, you only obtain that by exacting an act of violence for benefit of the club. A muscular Hells Angel with the death head, smoking gun sitting on a motorcycle. Hells Angels motorcycle club death head on the gas tank kneeling over an individual laying on the ground with a bullet hole in his head laying in a pool of blood. On the bottom, AOMD, all outlaws must die, again showing the violence, showing the hatred they have for the enemy.
Q In fact, actual documented violence, not just T-shirt, actual violence toward the other group?
A Yes. Here you have another one out of the Merced chapter, a Hells Angel, muscular Hells Angel with a death head, HAMC. FTW which stands for fuck the world. Typical outlaw motorcycle gang saying with a smoking gun and modified ball-peen hammer sharpened. On his arm he has AMMD, all Mongols must die.
Q This is just a highlight of the previous one?
Q The Mongols are a rival group to the Hells Angels?
A Yes, they are.
Q Let’s talk about some specific gang incidents.
A This is 2002 Hells Angels-Vagos? I put in the ones…There are about fifty-two incidents of violence so far. I just put in the ones between specifically the Hells Angels and the Vagos. One of the ones, earlier documented ones in 2001, Orange County, the Hells Angels and the Mongols and the Vagos got into a big fight at a swap meet, started going at each other with motorcycle parts from the tables and everything. After that incident the Vagos kind of got together, said why are we so afraid of the Hells Angels? At that point they decided to go on a major expansion mode.
Q What about bullet point two?
A That is an incident that occurred in Bullhead City where you had 5 Hell Angels and two Desert Road riders showed up at a bar called Lazy Harry’s Bullhead, Arizona and beat down a Vagos there by himself. That case is actually still going through the Court. I have assisted in that case as far as expert opinion and waiting for court on that. But they charged him with gang enhancement. One of the Hells Angels already pled guilty also to a gang enhancement.
Q Not to get into the legal aspect of gang enhancement, talk about how do we know this assault at the bar in Arizona isn’t just a personal thing between two guys who don’t like each other, and the difference between that and that crime being committed for the respect or for the gang?
A Because you don’t bring the whole group in on it, 5 other Hells Angels and two Desert Road riders and associate clubs in that area to this type of incident. It is kind of an ongoing escalation of violence going on between the two different organizations.
Q Is that same pattern indicated in all the four bullet points you have on this slide?
Q Talk about bullet point three.
A That incident was in Santa Cruz where you had three Vagos sitting at a Starbuck’s having coffee. They leave the Starbuck’s and a couple blocks from that location they end up getting, the Hells Angels start to assault them, actually tried to assault them. They get into a confrontation. One of the Vagos was beat up by the Hells Angels but he was able to fight them off.
Q This rivalry is known by all Hells Angels chapters?
Q Move on to, we are to the seventh documented incident between the Hells Angels and the Vagos through June 4th of 2011; is that right?
A Yes, sir.
Q Let’s talk about this instant case. You said, you already said you knew Jeffrey Pettigrew; is that right?
Q Do you know him to be involved in the Hells Angels motorcycle gang?
A He was actually the President of the San Jose chapter of the Hells Angels.
Q Cesar Villagrana, are you familiar with him?
A I am. Full-patch member of the San Jose Hells Angels.
Q Have you reviewed any of the documents or the materials in this case?
A I haven’t seen any of the reports, only the video.
Q As you reviewed the video, what, if anything, can you tell us about the particular aspects of the video as they relate to the Hells Angels motorcycle gang?
A There was obviously a fight that started off from viewing it with a confrontation in the Oyster Bar at the Nugget. You could see there was obvious animus going on over there between Pettigrew and one of the other Vagos.
Q Let me interrupt you a little bit and give a hypothetical on this situation: Suppose there was a confrontation in a bar between Pettigrew being the Hells Angel and a Vagos, and Vice President of a chapter of the Vagos motorcycle club went to that. The National people from the Vagos motorcycle club told Pettigrew and others not to engage with Pettigrew. I mean told, sorry, told the Vagos Vice President and others not to engage with Pettigrew?
A I think you lost me over here. Start that one over again.
Q Okay. A Vagos Vice President has a confrontation with Pettigrew in the bar?
Q Verbal confrontation?
Q Afterwards, Vagos International officers tell the person who had the confrontation with Pettigrew to stop the confrontation, not to engage with Pettigrew further?
Q Based on your understanding of outlaw motorcycle gangs, would that sort of order be expected to stand?
A It would be expected to, but it is not always followed.
Q What about is there any aspect of disrespect between a Vice President of Vagos approaching or having a confrontation with a President of the Hells Angels?
A It is just the idea of any Vagos, whether it is the President, whether it is a member being disrespectful toward another individual.
Q Would that be seen as a provocation?
A Oh, absolutely.
Q As to which side would it be seen as a provcation?
A It would be seen as provocation by the one being disrespected. If the Vagos was the one that initiated the confrontation, obviously the one feeling disrespected would be the Hells Angels.
Q Suppose a fight broke out based on that situation, how would the members of the Hells Angels be expected to react?
A If one of their own gets into a fight with a Vagos, they expect them to fight back, expect them not step down, not back down.
Q Would there be consequences if a person were to not jump in or aid a fellow Hells Angels in a fight with a Vagos?
A Oh, absolutely.
Q What sort of consequences?
A The consequence would be beat down of that individual at a later date, being kicked out of the organization in disgrace.
Q How would, I guess getting into the fight or backing up your fellow Hells Angels, who would that protect?
A First of all, you have to protect your “P,” “P” being the President. That is a given. You have to protect your President. If it is other Hells Angels, not the President, you better be there to back up your fellow, your brothers in the fight. You don’t stop and question as to what the reason was for the fight, anything like that. You discuss that at later time. Now you take care of doing that. It is seen as a matter of honor. It is a sign you are there willing to step up for the gang. It gives you more status within the organization, you were there to step up. Otherwise, you are going to get as we call it, going to get punked and kicked out.
Q Based on your viewing of the video, do you have an opinion as to whether the fight or the actions of the Hells Angels was in furtherance of the Hells Angels gang?
A Oh, absolutely.
Q What is that opinion?
A That it was in the furtherance of the Hells Angels gang, because they did exactly what was expected of them. They stepped up. The President threw the punch, and despite the Vagos, everyone stepped in right away, started fighting with the Vagos, trying to protect each other overall.
Q On the flip side, you see a number of Vagos attacking Hells Angels. Would that also be in furtherance of the Vagos gang in terms of full engagement or mutual agreement to engage in an affray?
EXAMINATION BY MR. HALL:
Q That would be consistent with gang psychology, credo and their tenants of understanding being a gang member?
Q Either the Vagos or Hells Angels?
A You need to step up to the plate. If you don’t take care of business, you will be taken care of later.
MR. HALL: I have no further questions. Thank you.