Skip to main content

1 dead in shooting as motorcycle club members brawl inside Nevada casino

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 9:26 PM EDT, Sat September 24, 2011
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Gunfire breaks out in a fight between Hell's Angels and Vagos motorcycle club members
  • 1 person arrested in Sparks, Nevada, while others in custody may be involved, police say
  • A Reno hospital institutes "extra security" and restricts access after the incident
  • 1 Hell's Angels member has died, 2 Vagos members have "non-life-threatening" injuries

Los Angeles (CNN) -- A brawl between motorcycle club members at a western Nevada casino devolved into a gunfight that left one person dead and two wounded, police said Saturday.

Around 11:25 p.m. Friday, a fight broke out among members of the Hell's Angels and Vagos clubs in front of the Trader Dick's bar inside John Ascuaga's Nugget, a family-owned casino in Sparks, that city's deputy police chief Brian Allen told reporters.

Police in Sparks, which is just east of Reno, responded with assistance from overhead helicopters after hearing several people involved in the brawl had guns and that shots were fired. Authorities earlier reported that as many as 30 people total took part in the altercation.

They came upon what Sparks police Lt. Pete Krall described earlier Saturday as a "very chaotic scene." That included "multiple gunshot victims" who were transported to area hospitals, according to Allen.

One Hell's Angels member died from his wounds, while two associated with Vagos suffered what the deputy chief described as "non-life-threatening" injuries. No bystanders or casino employees were wounded in the incident, he added.

The incident, as well a "subsequent drive-by shooting" elsewhere in the city, prompted the declaration of a "state of emergency" in Sparks, the city announced late Saturday afternoon on its website.

"Whenever you have people who enter our city with bad intentions, bad things are going to happen," Sparks Mayor Geno Martini said during a press conference Saturday. "That's what happened here last night."

Sparks police have arrested "one Hell's Angels member for his involvement in the fight and subsequent shooting," Allen said. "Other law enforcement agencies made additional arrests on the outskirts of the incident, and we are coordinating to determine their ... involvement in the case."

Renown Medical Center, located in Reno, announced on its website at 1:45 p.m. Saturday that it had "applied extra security measures and locked all exterior access to the hospital, except for (one) emergency room entrance" because of the shooting.

By 3 p.m., the hospital said it would be "easing precautionary security measures for various entrances/exits," though there would be "limited access" for certain areas.

The incident erupted in the midst of the Street Vibrations Fall Rally, an event that began Wednesday and is set to continue into Sunday in Reno.

Allen said that since the 18th annual event recently expanded into Sparks, there have been no incidents such as the one Friday night. He did state that, after the shooting, Reno, Sparks and Washoe County authorities are "increasing personnel at the event."

The event's activities in Sparks were canceled through the weekend because of the shooting, the city announced Saturday afternoon. Still, hours earlier, its mayor said the incident -- while worrisome -- shouldn't cast a negative light on all motorcycle club members.

"I hope the people out there won't judge the motorcycle community by the incident that happened last night," said Martini. "I don't think it's a true picture."

CNN's Michael Martinez, Maggie Schneider and Divina Mims contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT