It was like any typical early morning in the Nevada desert with gamblers enjoying the casino and all its entertainment glory.
Then gunshots broke out and a gang melee ensued. Bystanders started running, dodging around and falling to the floor, fearing for their life – cameras caught the activity as some pulled weapons to shoot, others getting shot, or stabbed and in some instances bystanders watched as wrenches were used to beat down individuals. It was a terrifying ordeal as many feared for their life.
I’m talking about the Saturday, April 27, 2002, Laughlin River Run brawl with guns, knives and wrenches which left three motorcycle club members dead — two Hells Angels and one Mongol — and injured at least 12 others at Harrah’s Laughlin. I first blogged about this HERE with updates HERE and HERE.
The skirmish between Hells Angels and the competing Mongol biker club fuse was lit when Metro broke up a fight between the Hells Angels and Mongols at a T-shirt stand earlier in the day. Metro police and club leaders initiated a meeting to defuse tensions between the groups, but the members walked out of the meeting. Three hours later members of the
Mongols HAMC stormed Harrah’s, where the Hells Angels Mongols were staying, and the casino floor erupted.
More than 8-years later with five federal lawsuits and at least one California state lawsuit against Harrah’s Laughlin who argued (and won) in legal motions that the casino wasn’t liable for the criminal acts of the bikers… for the first time this week were found liable in the incident. In addition, rather than wait for a jury to determine damages Harrah’s quickly reach a settlement and one of the terms of the negotiated settlement is that the amount would be kept confidential.
The seven clients seeking damages from Harrah’s Laughlin for injuries suffered during the motorcycle club battle are: Michael Bower, Robert Garcia, Noi Lewis, Kathy Fuller, Steven Fuller, Andrea Daniels and Dean Daniels.
I’m speculating here, but it’s a pretty safe bet that fear of motorcycle clubs will pay well for these seven individuals.
What about the motorcycle club members and their legal disposition, you ask? You may recall that forty-two members of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club (HAMC) were indicted on federal racketeering and firearms charges. Charges against 36 Hells Angels were dismissed in 2006. The Las Vegas Review Journal reported Frederick Donahue (34) was a fugitive for five years before surrendering in Las Vegas in July 2008. He was the seventh Hells Angels member sentenced in the fatal Harrah’s casino shootout and is serving 30 months in federal prison. Jorrg Maykopf of Germany remains the only fugitive in this case.
I can remember back in 2001 staying at the Pink Flamingo (now Aquarius) during the Laughlin River Run watching HAMC prospects do bagger wheelie’s in the valet parking area. Not these days. The Laughlin River Run has forever changed…
Photo courtesy of Harrah’s Laughlin