Details have begun to emerge about a shooting in Albuquerque Sunday that left one member of the Vagos Motorcycle Club dead and another wounded. Police have identified the dead man as Japheth Seaman (photo above). The wounded man has not been named. A third Vago named Malachi Seaman was arrested at the scene and charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.
Initial news reports described the incident as a “drive-by shooting” of a peaceful gathering by the three Vagos but that story has already fallen apart. The three Vagos were invited to a fund raiser for a sick girl by members of the Black Berets Motorcycle Club. The three Vagos arrived at the gathering on motorcycles at about 3:30 p.m. They dismounted and mingled with the crowd until about four when more than 70 shots were fired. Other than Malachi Seaman’s collapsible baton, the Vagos appeared to have been unarmed.
A source unaffiliated with either the Vagos or the Black Berets described the shooting as a “premeditated ambush of the three Vagos.” The Black Berets have three chapters in Albuquerque. The Vagos established that club’s first chapter in New Mexico within the last year. The preeminent motorcycle club in New Mexico is the Bandidos. The motive for the attack on the Vagos remains unclear.
Guy Named Chale
Public statements by voluble members of the Black Berets to Albuquerque television stations in the first forty hours after the shooting have described an unprovoked attack by the three Vagos on the dozens of Black Berets who attended the fundraiser.
News accounts have stated that the Vagos Motorcycle Club “targeted” the Black Berets and “an innocent family.”
“They rolled up into here. Started shooting up at the place. Started shooting at my brothers. No questions asked. Just started shooting for no reason at all,” a Black Beret named “Chale” told television station KOAT.
Chale described the shooting as “uncalled for. This was a benefit for a little girl.” Chale was indirectly quoted by KRQE as saying “the club had no issues with anyone and believes they were attacked because of the role they play in the city.”
Chale continued, “They came over here and retaliated against us because were strong here in Albuquerque.” Chale’s position in the Black Berets and his qualifications as a spokesman for the club remain unclear.
An unnamed member of the Black Berets told KRQE, “Those sons of bitches (the Vagos Motorcycle Club), it ain’t over with them.”
Albuquerque police said yesterday that “more than 70 spent shell casings” were found at the scene.
Tasia Martinez. The Lead Public Information Officer for the Albuquerque Police department, would only say that the case is being investigated by “gang detectives” who hope to “curtail retaliation” for the murder of Japheth Seaman.
Efforts Tuesday afternoon to solicit further comment from Officer Martinez were unsuccessful.