The Aging Rebel significantly overstated what this page characterized as a “simmering dispute between the Vagos Motorcycle Club and the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club” according to an authoritative source. The source is not a current member of either the Vagos or Hells Angels Motorcycle Clubs and does not now live in either California or Nevada. The source was assured anonymity before agreeing to discuss the incident with this page.
This page made the overstatement in an article published here on Monday, September 26. The overstatement was one of several errors in that report.
That article reported the homicide of Hells Angels San Jose charter President Jeffrey “Jethro” Pettigrew. Pettigrew was shot and killed on the casino floor just outside Trader Dick’s Lounge at John Ascuaga’s Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks, Nevada last Friday. Two Vagos, Leonard Ramirez and Diego Garcia were also wounded during the altercation. Police arrested a Hells Angel named Cesar Villagrana on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and possession of a stolen firearm.
Published reports have stated that about a dozen Hells Angels and about 60 Vagos were in the casino at the time of the incident. The authoritative source said that none of the Hells Angels were from northern Nevada. The source also stated that to the best of his knowledge none of the Vagos involved in the altercation were from northern Nevada, either.
The next day a Vago named Shane Smith was shot by unknown assailants travelling in a dark blue BMW 3 series sedan while Smith and another Vago were riding their motorcycles on Victorian Avenue in Sparks near the scene of the previous night’s fight. This page originally reported that Smith had been walking. He was riding with a woman on the back of his bike. Police have not yet connected that shooting with the incident the night before.
The Aging Rebel also stated:
“The Vagos have been, arguably, the preeminent club in northern Nevada for more than 20 years. When the Hells Angels patched over the Reno Renegades in the late 1990s that charter became the Nevada Nomads rather than the Reno Angels or Nevada Angels out of respect for the Vagos. Out of respect for the Angels, at around the same time, the Vagos agreed to refrain from establishing any new chapters in Arizona….”
According to the authoritative source, most of that statement is hogwash. The source replied:
“When the Renegades started in ’93, there was only one Vago in northern Nevada, a nice guy that lived in Yerrington (about 50 miles southeast of Reno). There were no other Vagos in Nevada. The Vagos took issue with the name (Renegades). We had a meeting with them and made it clear that the name was temporary. There was no need for a deal about Arizona. The Arizona Hells Angels were still the Dirty Dozen when the Renegades became the Reno Hells Angels.”
According to the source, the Reno Angels charter was renamed the Nevada Nomads in 2000 in order to better comply with Angels bylaws about residency requirements for charter members.
The source, who was not in the Sparks casino, did not know a motive for the shooting. The source speculated that “one of the California Vagos had a personal grudge against Jethro and followed him around until something finally happened.”