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Biker gangs brawl at 'Stop the Violence' rally

LOS BANOS -- A man was stabbed and shots were fired during a fight between rival outlaw motorcycle gangs at a Los Banos peace really on Saturday.

The incident occurred at Victory Outreach Church’s Stop the Violence Rally held at Pacheco Park, according to Los Banos Police Department Commander Dan Fitchie.

The rally, which also included a car and bike show, was attended by numerous members of the Mongols motorcycle gang.

There were no problems until approximately 3 p.m., when nearly a dozen members of the Hells Angels motorcycle gang rode by the park and confronted the Mongols, Fitchie said.

An argument ensued between rival gangs, and quickly escalated to a physical fight, Fitchie said. During the fight allegedly five or six shots were fired from a .40 caliber handgun.

Fitchie said it doesn’t appear that anyone was struck by the bullets being fired but during the fight but a Hells Angel prospect -- somebody who is trying to join the motorcycle gang -- sustained a stab wound to his left torso.

The victim was airlifted to Memorial Hospital in Modesto where he was treated and released.

Several law enforcement agencies, including off-duty officers from the Los Banos Police Department, Merced County Sheriff’s deputies and California Highway Patrol officers, descended on Pacheco Park to investigate the incident.

During the investigation, Fitchie said police recovered several shell casings and two unfired bullets. Police also discovered a magazine to a semi-automatic weapon during a pat-down of one of the participants, identified as Atwater resident Kellen Brenton. Brenton, 58, is a member of the Hells Angels according to police.

Brenton also allegedly had a whip with a metal handle on his motorcycle. He was subsequently arrested on suspicion of possession of a dangerous weapon.

According to a Merced County Jail spokesman, Brenton is still in custody at the main detention facility in Merced, his bail has been set at $500,000.

Further investigation brought officers to a Los Banos house where several of the Hells Angels had congregated. A search warrant was obtained to try and locate the gun used in the shooting but no weapon was found inside the residence.

Fitchie said he is waiting for results from a gunshot-residue test to see who the person was that fired the bullets. He added that reports show that it was a member of the Hells Angels gang that allegedly fired the weapon.

"The investigation is continuing as it appears tensions are mounting and we have concerns (the violence) will continue," Fitchie said.

A motorcycle show scheduled for July 11 at the Los Banos Fairgrounds will have more security than usual, he said.

The Rev. Chris Castaneda from Victory Outreach Church said he was saddened by the incident. He said this was just the kind of violence his church was trying to bring awareness to.

"It kind of brings confirmation, there is a violent element in our city," Castaneda said. "You know I remember a time when you could say that Los Banos was a very safe place."

Victory Outreach has held the anti-violence rally off-and-on for the past eight years as a way to communicate to youth the risks of becoming involved in drugs and gang activity.

Castaneda also said next year's event will go on as usual. If anything he is more determined to get more people involved.

"We have to bring awareness and come together as a community," he said.