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Monday
Sep262011

Hells Angels Leader Dead, Two Hurt in Nevada Casino Shooting

John Foxx/Stockbyte/Thinkstock(SPARKS, Nev.) -- Officials in Sparks, Nevada declared a state of emergency after a pair of shootings over the weekend.

In the first incident, a leader of the Hells Angels biker club was shot dead, and two members of the rival Vagos motorcycle group were injured when gunfire erupted at a Nevada casino late Friday, authorities said.

Jeffrey "Jethro" Pettigrew, 51, the president of the San Jose chapter of the Hell's Angels motorcycle club, was killed at John Ascuaga's Nugget hotel-casino in Sparks, Nev.  Two members from of the Vagos motorcycle club, Leonard Ramirez, 45, and Diego Garcia, 28, were injured.  Police say their injuries are non-life-threatening.

Just before 11:30 p.m. Friday, a fight broke out between members of both biker groups.  Shots were fired near Trader Dick's bar inside the casino.  No employees or Nugget guests were injured, according to police.

One Hells Angels member, Cesar Villagrana, 36, was arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon and possession of a stolen firearm.  According to the police report, Villagrana was observed on videotape shooting into the crowd during the incident, but investigators don't believe he fired the shot that killed Pettigrew.

Witnesses are still being questioned in connection with the crime.

On Saturday, around 11 a.m., a second shooting occurred in Sparks. Cops are investigating any possible links with the Nugget shooting Friday.

In that incident, a biker was shot in the stomach by a person in a BMW with tinted windows; the victim is expected to live, authorities said.  The driver sped away after the shooting, and is still being sought.

The second shooting prompted the city to declare a state of emergency.

A statement from the city read, "In light of a shooting involving rival members of motorcycle clubs at a Spark Casino Friday night, and a subsequent drive-by shooting on Victorian Avenue in Sparks this morning, a state-of-emergency has been declared by the City.  It is expected the Governor will also declare a state-of-emergency on behalf of the City of Sparks.  Pursuant to the police powers vested in the City of Sparks, the Street Vibrations motorcycle event in Sparks will be cancelled for the remainder of the weekend."

Both Sparks and the neighboring city of Reno increased police presence through the weekend.

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