North Carolina Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs
- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -
DATE: 14 February 2016
RE: Colorado Motorcycle Expo Shooting
The North Carolina Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs (NCCOMC) is a biker’s rights organization comprised of motorcycle clubs, biker ministries, and other motorcyclist rights organizations. As such, it is deeply concerned about the events surrounding the violence at the Colorado Motorcycle Expo in Denver on January 30, 2016.
Reports by the Associated Press and the Denver Post described a confrontation between the Mongols and Iron Order motorcycle clubs that resulted in at least one fatality and seven others being hospitalized. According to eyewitness Wade Eldridge, an attorney attending the Expo, a member of the Iron Order was holding a handgun and leaving the scene following shots being fired. The below photograph taken by a cell phone at the scene after the first shot was fired showing a member of the Iron Order holding a handgun and moving away from the crowd corroborates Eldridge’s account.
The Denver Post identified the victim killed in the shooting as 46-year-old Victor Mendoza, who according to the Mongols attorney Stephen Stubbs is a Mongols member, a husband and a father, and is the gentleman standing in the middle of the photo wearing sunglasses.
Also according to the Denver Post, the Iron Order MC has admitted that one of its members, later identified by the Colorado Department of Corrections as officer Derrick Duran, fired a shot at the Expo; but authorities investigating the incident have not yet determined whether Duran’s shot hit anyone. Duran has been placed on administrative leave pending completion of the investigation.
On February 4, 2016 The Mongols held their first ever press conference. Stubbs, at that conference (as reported by Michael Roberts @ westwood.com) and in a later video statement published by him on 2/9/16 described what happened as told him by his clients and independent witnesses. He says The Mongols were selling t-shirts from a booth in the basement of the Expo. Eight to eleven Iron Order members, including Duran, were mad-dogging and taunting the Mongol members, and words were exchanged. An Iron Order member shoved a Mongol member, who then knocked that Iron Order members beer out of his hand. At this point an inebriated Duran produced a handgun, causing everyone to pause. When a Mongol then rushed Duran in an attempt to disarm him, Duran shot the Mongol in the chest, sending him to the hospital in critical condition.
That gunshot sparked a fistfight, says Stubbs, which was won by The Mongols, who let the Iron Order members up off the ground in favor of tending to their wounded brother. The Iron Order members ascended the basement stairs. Duran then waved his gun at The Mongols below him, threatening to shoot them. It was then that Victor “Nubs”€ť Mendoza rushed up the stairs and was shot and killed by Duran.
An attorney for the Iron Order claims its members acted in self-defense.
In an Associated Press (AP) article the Iron Order insists it is a law-abiding club. Experts suggest otherwise. A 2014 report by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) contains accounts of the Iron Order’s involvement in a number of violent confrontations around the country. These include but are not limited to the shooting of a Black Pistons member in Florida, a gun battle with the Bandidos, a stabbing in South Carolina, and a brawl at a strip club in Baltimore. According to the AP, the ATF report says the club “infuriated”€ť other motorcycle clubs by expanding into territories and taking colors already claimed by other clubs and by wearing a three-piece patch; all, according to Iron Order member and attorney John C. Whitfield, without asking permission. But Mongols attorney Stephen Stubbs, noting that other police clubs also wear three-piece patches without causing problems with other clubs, says in the AP article, “(i)t's not about the patches. It's about Iron Order living out its 'Sons of Anarchy' fantasy, starting fights and causing trouble." John Risenhoover, a former ATF agent who has investigated biker clubs, is quoted by the AP as saying, “(m)ost people who ride know not to pretend to be a one-percenter if you're not truly a one-percenter. It's a good way to get attacked. It's like you're out trying to pick a fight." Corroborating the ATF’s report, Steve Cook, executive director of the Midwest Outlaw Motorcycle Gang Investigators Association, says in a February 2nd article in the Denver Post, "Probably the best way to put it in a nutshell is to say the Iron Order has been having problems with everybody.”
€ťIn his video statement Stubbs says none of the Mongols involved in this incident had a gun on them. He further states, â€śIn fact the Denver Police Department just today announced that they had possession of the three firearms that were used in the shooting. None of them belonged to The Mongols Motorcycle Club. None of them.”
€ťAccording to an article by the Denver Post on February 3rd, no arrests had yet been made in the incident and there is no time-line on how long the police investigation will take. As of the date of this press release we are unaware of any arrests being made.
The NCCOMC recognizes this is a fluid situation. All the facts are not in. We are not taking sides. Our aim is to shed light on this incident and to stay on top of it, and to do what we can to see that a full and fair investigation takes place, and justice served. Having said that, the North Carolina Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs believes that a law-enforcement motorcycle club instigating confrontations with other motorcycle clubs, if true, is inconsistent with the mission of law enforcement officers and should never be condoned. Any off-duty officers found to have been involved in such incidents should not be protected by law enforcement agencies. All citizens should be governed by the same laws, without exception. The NCCOMC believes acts of violence and intimidation by law enforcement motorcycle clubs are a threat to all law-abiding citizens and undermine the publicâ€s confidence in law enforcement agencies everywhere.
For more information contact John Baucom (RidersInRecovery@aol.com) or NCCOMC’s attorney, Robert “RAD”€ť Donat (DonatLaw@aol.com).