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Hell's Angels motorcycle club member facing charges in deadly casino brawl

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 10:35 AM EDT, Sun September 25, 2011
Cesar Villagrana faces charges including assault with a deadly weapon in a brawl Friday night in Sparks, Nevada.
Cesar Villagrana faces charges including assault with a deadly weapon in a brawl Friday night in Sparks, Nevada.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A member of the Hell's Angels motorcycle club is in custody
  • Police appeal to the public for information, videos of the melee
  • The president of the San Jose Hell's Angels chapter was killed

(CNN) -- A member of the Hell's Angels motorcycle club was facing charges including assault with a deadly weapon Sunday after a brawl between club members devolved into a gunfight that left one person dead.

Police identified the victim of the shooting at John Ascuaga's Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks, Nevada, as Jeffrey Pettigrew, 51, president of the San Jose, California, chapter of the Hell's Angels. Two other people, both of California and members of the Vagos motorcycle club, were in stable condition at hospitals after being shot in the abdomen and the leg, respectively.

Cesar Villagrana, 36, was arrested after surveillance video showed him "shooting into the crowd" during the Friday night melee, Sparks police said in a statement. "However, it cannot be confirmed at this time if any of the projectiles struck the victims."

Besides assault with a deadly weapon, Villagrana also faces charges of carrying a concealed weapon; aiming a firearm at another; aiming or discharging a firearm where a person is endangered; and possession of stolen property/firearm, jail records show. His bail was set at $500,000 cash only.

Authorities appealed to bystanders who may have photographed or videotaped the event to contact police.

A second shooting occurred at 10:49 a.m. Saturday, police said. A motorcyclist was traveling down a street when a car pulled alongside him and he was shot in the stomach. The name of that victim was being withheld, but he was in stable condition, authorities said.

Witnesses said a black four-door BMW with two people inside was seen speeding away just after the shooting.

"We are unable to definitively link the two shooting incidents at this time," police said.

The incidents occurred during the Street Vibrations Fall Rally, an event that began Wednesday and was expected to continue into Sunday. After the shootings, however, the Sparks portion of the event were canceled through the weekend, the city announced Saturday. The mayor of Sparks also declared a state of emergency.

"Whenever you have people who enter our city with bad intentions, bad things are going to happen," Sparks Mayor Geno Martini said Saturday.

Police said they have increased the number of foot and mobile patrols in the city.

Authorities reported that as many as 30 people took part in the casino brawl. Police responded with assistance from overhead helicopters.

There has been no violence since the Street Vibrations rally expanded into Sparks, police said.

"The Sparks Police Department wants to acknowledge the acts of these two motorcycle clubs do not represent a majority of the motorcycle enthusiasts that come to the Street Vibrations event," authorities said in a statement.

CNN's Maggie Schneider contributed to this report.

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