This story was published on August 5, 2013 and corrected on August 12, 2013. The original story relied on the accuracy of a press release issued by the Nevada Attorney General. That release identified Michael Joseph “Tomahawk” Hughes, Steven Martin “Tank” Shaw and Chad Gary “Halfbreed” Kruger as members of the Vagos Motorcycle Club. The three men are not, in fact, members of the Vagos and the story has been edited to correct the Nevada Attorney General’s lie.
The Vagos Motorcycle Club has been linked to a shootout yesterday in Albuquerque, New Mexico. According to multiple news reports about 50 shots were fired at a motorcycle shop fundraiser for a sick, 15-year-old girl in an industrial neighborhood near the intersection of Fourth and Menaul in Albuquerque. The motorcycle shop is about a half mile from the intersection of Interstate 40 and Interstate 25.
The fundraiser was sponsored by the Black Berets Motorcycle Club. The club name is an apparent homage the Vietnam era Military Assistance Command Vietnam Studies and Observations Group. The Black Berets MC has three chapters in Albuquerque.
Police said two people were injured in the incident. One victim was listed as being in “critical but stable condition” Monday morning. Shots were still being exchanged when Albuquerque city police arrived at the scene about four p.m. There were no announced arrests as of one p.m. Pacific Time Monday.
Chatty Black Beret
A Black Berets patch holder named “Chale” talked at length with television station KRQE soon after the shooting.
“They came in here and started shooting up the place, started shooting at my brothers, no questions asked. Just started shooting for no reason at all,” Chale told the television station without specifically naming the Vagos. “That’s uncalled for,” the man said. “This was a benefit for a little girl.”
“They came over here and retaliated against us because were strong here in Albuquerque,” Chale said. The Black Berets identify themselves as a philanthropic organization. “That’s what we do. What the Black Berets stand for,” Chale told the television station. “We help out the needy. We help out vets.”
The shooting was the most serious of multiple, widely publicized incidents related to the Vagos Motorcycle Club in the last two weeks.
A Vago named Ernesto Gonzalez testified Monday morning at his murder trial in Reno, Nevada. Gonzalez is accused of murdering a Hells Angel named Jeffrey “Jethro” Pettigrew during a brawl between those two clubs at John Ascuaga’s Nugget Casino in Sparks, Nevada on September 23, 2011.
Three men identified by the Nevada Attorney Gneral as Vagos and named Michael Joseph “Tomahawk” Hughes, Steven Martin “Tank” Shaw and Chad Gary “Halfbreed” Kruger were charged with insurance fraud last week in Las Vegas. Those arrests are connected to an ATF investigation of motorcycle clubs in Southern Nevada called “Operation Pure Luck.” The investigation was loudly announced on June 26. Although the Nevada Attorney General identified the three men as Vagos, they are not in fact members of the Vagos Motorcycle Club.
Those arrests follow raids on 14 homes in San Bernardino County in California on July 22. Three men named Tyler Graziano, Enrique Felix and Mark Johnson, were arrested during those raids and charged with robbery.