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Police Say Deadly “Outlaw Biker Gang” Shootout Red River Memorial Day Rally

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Three People Killed and Five injured individuals in a shooting, with one arrest for “Unlawful Carrying of a Firearm in a Liquor Establishment,” at a rally in Red River, NM, says the police chief.

Sunday, May 28, 2023 – The events below unfolded last Saturday around 5:00 pm. According to the New Mexico Department of Public Safety, a tragic shootout just went down at the annual Red River Memorial Day Motorcycle Rally in New Mexico. New Mexico State Police state that two “notorious outlaw motorcycle gangs” are at the center of the violence. Based on my research, neither M/C is a gang. The Water Dogs are apparently a group of born-again Christians, so take most of what we gleaned from the news as disinformation to sew discord.

What was supposed to be a city rally in support of the memorial day weekend music festival turned into a shootout with dead and wounded. Police claim the two so called outlaw biker clubs in question, the Bandidos and Water Dogs, ended up in the middle of three fatalities and five injuries.

The incident occurred alongside tens of thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts and M/Cs who had flocked from around the country. They were at the Taos County resort town for the annual motorcycle rally. Of note, one biker was ultimately charged with unlawful carrying in a liquor establishment near the motorcycle rally, with others languishing in jail (Taos County Detention Center) on known (see below discussion) unknown charges.

This article, by Los Angeles and Texas motorcycle lawyer Michael Ehline, will provide our subscribers with a detailed account of the incident reported by law enforcement officers and explore the history of these two so called 1 %er biker clubs.

New Mexico State Police Report . . .

According to New Mexico State Police Chief Tim Johnson, “motorcycle gang” members of the Bandidos and Water Dog motorcycle “gangs” engaged in a fight at the motorcycle rally. After that, shooting broke out as fists became exchanged for multiple rounds of gunfire, with empty shells scattered along Main Street, closing down local businesses serving the motorcycle rally, according to a State Police spokesperson.

All eight injured people at the crime scene shooting, including those who lost their lives, were associated with the two biker gangs. Chief Johnson expressed his disappointment towards the actions of the gang members, emphasizing a zero-tolerance approach to public safety.

Chief Johnson was quoted as implying there was a fight over photographing members of one M/C took with another M/C in Albuquerque a few days or weeks prior.

Johnson declared:

“That spilled over to here, where they ran into each other again and a confrontation started. It started with words initially, then it turned into a fight, which then turned to shots fired,”

“These gangbangers were lawless and what they are, are gangbangers who chose to have a three-day sleepover in New Mexico and not follow any of our laws.”

Their goal is to prevent such incidents by motorcycle clubs at this or any other motorcycle rally in the future. Police confirm there is no further ongoing threat to public safety by “outlaw motorcycle gangs.” (OMGs). However, stores along Main Street are shut down, as the resort town of 675 northeast of Taos in a range nestled in the southern end of the Rocky Mountains became a crime scene.

Why Do Cops Say They Are Outlaws?

According to the Department of Justice, OMGs are organized criminal organizations.

The DOJ asserts their members engage in illegal activities, including:

  • Violent crime
  • Weapons trafficking
  • Drug trafficking.

Allegedly, OMGs operate within a hierarchical structure and engage in criminal enterprises. Police assert OMGs pose a significant threat to public safety and law enforcement efforts, with violence being a notable characteristic of these 1 % er M/Cs. From time to time, M/Cs like the Hells Angels and Mongols have been involved in conflicts with rival “motorcycle gangs.” There are also allegations that M/Cs also battle law enforcement agencies.

Members of OMGs typically display distinct visual identifiers on their riding vests (“cuts”). Bandidos, for example, wear specific patches or colors (scarlet and gold) to honor their founding origins under a United States Marine. According to the DOJ, their colors represent their allegiance to a particular gang or M/C. These are visual symbols that identify non-OMG and OMG members and establish a sense of identity within black and white, M/C, and civilian riding culture.

Law enforcement agencies at the federal, state, and local levels collaborate to investigate and prosecute members of OMGs. Not all M/Cs, including the Original Leathernecks, are outlaws. And sadly, law enforcement and the public at large often confuse the different types of clubs and their missions. 99% of motorcycle enthusiasts participate in legitimate and lawful activities.

These can include charitable events like Toys for Tots or the Paul Ehline Memorial Ride. The idea is brotherhood, community engagement, and recreational riding. But OMGs can represent a distinct subset of M/Cs engaging in serious criminal behavior. The sad thing is almost all M/Cs support the idea of less government and more freedom, because of this, progressives and those in favor of more government control over our lives use “criminal activities” as a pretextual excuse to take away our rights to travel and self-defense.

Background and Confrontation and Motorcycle Rally

The Red River Memorial Day Motorcycle Rally, now in its 41st year, attracted an estimated 28,000 bikers to the town. As noted, the altercation between the Bandidos and Water Dogs occurred on Main Street’s east side, apparently stemming from a photograph taken by one of the gangs with another outlaw biker gang in Albuquerque a few days prior. The confrontation escalated from verbal arguments to physical altercations, where three people were killed by supporting gunfire during the shooting.

Victims and Arrestees Sent To Taos County Detention Center

As discussed, two members of the Bandidos died, including Anthony Silva of Los Lunas, (26), Damian Breaux hailing from Socorro(46), including Randy Sanchez (46), who rode with the Water Dogs. Jacob Castillo (30) from Rio Rancho (Water Dogs M/C) was arrested on suspicion of murder, with an open count of murder to his name. Castillo sustained injuries and was receiving treatment at a hospital at the time of his arrest at the motorcycle rally in Red River.

Additionally, of the two injured Bandidos members, Matthew Charles Jackson of Austin, TX (39) was booked and arrested for unlawful carrying of a firearm. Christopher Garcia (41) was apprehended on unrelated charges of cocaine possession, not the actual shooting, police said. Five others, with the “remaining four individuals” being treated for injuries at the local hospital, remain unidentified unless or until they get charged with some crime or public safety violation. We do know shooting victim number five was airlifted to a Denver hospital, according to New Mexico State Police and the local Red River Sheriff.

Law Enforcement Response to Unlawful Carrying and Violence

New Mexico State Police had a significant presence in Red River, with 32 officers on patrol during the event. Chief Johnson urged witnesses and individuals with video evidence of the shootings to come forward with information and assist with the investigation.

The FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives announced they were providing support to the State Police in their efforts earlier on Sunday. If you witnessed anything or even heard gunshots, the police have not said the 9-1-1 call will be secure. So there is no word if you can contact them without fear of retaliation by any defendants or be safe from their M/Cs. Hopefully, things will be clarified, and people will understand the ramifications of coming forward, like whether their names will be published on the 5 p.m. evening news.

History and Prior Similar Incidents

The Bandidos biker gang has a history of involvement in violent encounters. In 2015, a shootout between the Bandidos and other biker clubs in Waco, Texas, resulted in nine deaths and numerous arrests. Prior to the Red River incident, two Bandidos members were arrested for a drive-by shooting targeting a member of the Mongols biker club in Lubbock, Texas.

Impact on Red River

The business has come to a standstill in response to the shooting, leaving three people dead and several more hospitalized. Red River Mayor Linda Calhoun, based on the recommendation of State Police, advised most businesses would remain closed Sunday for the remainder of the holiday weekend. Nearby Taos implemented an emergency curfew and halted alcohol sales after the proclamation.

Local police say the tragic shootout at the Red River Memorial Day Motorcycle Rally, with three pronounced dead, highlights the dangers associated with “outlaw biker gang conflicts.” Authorities are working diligently to investigate the incident, while local officials are taking precautions to ensure the safety of residents and visitors. It is a stark reminder that events meant to celebrate motorcycle culture can turn tragic due to the actions of a few individuals, assuming these are even the real facts at all.


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