Hells Angels and Vagos Motorcycle Gangs in Arizona Shootout, Say Cops

Logos for the Vagos and the Hells Angels
Personal Photo/AP
Logos for the Vagos and the Hells Angels

CHINO VALLEY, Ariz. (CBS/AP) It sounds like a scene out of a movie, but for one Arizona neighborhood it was a frightening and violent reality when two rival motorcycle gangs exchanged gunfire in the middle of the street, according to police and witnesses.

Witnesses say that trouble started Saturday afternoon when a group of bikers, who reportedly belong to the Vagos motorcycle gang, rode past a house where another group of bikers, reported to be Hells Angels, were having a party.

The Hells Angels allegedly opened fire on the Vagos riders who then returned fire, CBS affiliate KPHO reported.

Dozens of Arizona law enforcement officers descended on the area after dispatchers started receiving calls about gunshots, including members of the Arizona State Gang Task Force, Yavapai Sheriff's spokesman Dwight D'Evelyn said.

When the dust settled, 27 people were booked on charges ranging from attempted murder and aggravated assault to participation in a criminal street gang. At least five people were shot, but none of the injuries were life threatening, according to D'Evelyn.

Detectives estimate at least 50 rounds were fired during the shootings.

The Hells Angels have owned the two-story gray house where the shootout occurred for a few years, and apparently used it as a sort of clubhouse. But when the Vagos reportedly moved into a house just up the street, neighbors say they knew a turf war was brewing, according to KPHO.

Still, the violence was not what most would expect in the rural area just north of Prescott, Ariz.

"Yesterday, I got caught in gunfire by two biker gangs," Jon Humen told the station. "I moved here from Phoenix to get away from this."

Investigators remained in Chino Valley on Sunday, examining and recovering evidence. Several motorcycles were impounded and detectives were trying to locate one injured gang member who was helped away from the scene in an unknown vehicle, D'Evelyn said.

In December, an Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesman said an ongoing power struggle in northwestern Arizona between the Vagos and the Hells Angels had led to a series of violent assaults.