Bike clubs blame each other for Denver shooting

Posted at 6:33 PM, Jan 31, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-01 02:47:18-05

The attorneys for two rival motorcycle clubs involved in a shooting and stabbing Saturday at the National Western Complex had two different versions of events that ultimately led to the death of one motorcycle club member and injured 7 others.

1 dead, 7 hurt in Colorado Motorcycle Expo shooting, stabbing

The lawyers for both the Mongol Motorcycle Club and Iron Order Motorcycle Club blame the opposing group for Saturday's fight which ended with gunfire. The shooting occurred in the middle of the afternoon at the Colorado Motorcycle Expo, where 10,000 people, including children, were in attendance.

Mongol Motorcycle Club's story

Stephen Stubbs is the attorney representing the Mongols, a group claiming to be "the baddest 1%er club known worldwide" on its website, which also shames former members who they claim have turned into government informants. 

He said several Iron Order members initiated the fight. Here's his version:

Mongol members were on the bottom floor at their booth when several members of the Iron Order walked down the stairs from their booth upstairs and started staring at the Mongols. Some Mongol members left the booth to confront the Iron Order members who were drunk and yelling obscenities at the Mongols.

According to Stubbs, one of the Iron Order members pulled out a gun and started threatening some of the Mongols. A fight broke out and one of the Mongols was shot, seriously injuring him.

Iron Order retreated up the stairs where they continued shouting obscenities. One of the Mongol members tried to run up the stairs to confront the Iron Order again. That Mongol was shot and killed by an Iron Order member who was carrying a gun. When that happened, a large brawl started in which there were fist fights, a stabbing and multiple shootings.

"No reason to pull out a gun when they're in a fist fight," said Stubbs. "The Iron Order is known to have cops that, they're not the kind you talk to on the street. They've got egos. They're living out a Sons of Anarchy."

Stubbs said no Mongol had a gun.

Iron Order's story

The lawyer for Iron Order, John Whitfield, told Denver7 a drastically different story.

According to Whitfield, there were 16 Iron Order members at the expo, and they only stayed for an hour. As the members were leaving, they had to head down the stairs. When they came in view of the Mongols, one of them said a racial slur to an African American Iron Order member. Then, at least 30 Mongols jumped the Iron Order members, severely beating some members and stabbing at least one person.

During the fight, Whitfield said the Iron Order members feared for their lives. So, one member pulled out a gun and a shooting ensued. Whitfield said he thinks some of the Mongols did have guns. Whitfield said none of the Iron Order members involved in the fight were off-duty police, but one is a corrections officer, though Whitfield wouldn't specify for what jail or prison.

Three people who were the most seriously injured are from the Iron Order. Two were in critical condition, but have been stabilized, and the third was released from the hospital.

On Sunday, the Department of Corrections confirmed one of its employees was involved in this incident. Whitfield says this employee is part of Iron Order. The DOC's statement said:

"On Saturday, January 30, 2016, there was an incident at the Colorado ? ? Motorcycle Expo in Denver, Colorado.   The Department of Corrections, confirms that one of our employees was involved in the incident. In order to ensure that the local law enforcement's investigation and ? ? any subsequent review by the district attorney's office is completed ?timely and without interference, the department will not be releasing ?any ?additional information."

Vendors' response

Vendors Sunday had to pack up and leave the expo grounds due to the fights and shooting. Many were not happy that the expo was cut a day short.

"We come here hoping to have a good weekend and it looks like we're getting shut down," said Angel Duran, who sells Broncos gear. "We did pretty good yesterday, we were hoping to do a lot better today."

Duran said none of this would've happened if motorcycle gangs weren't allowed into the expo. 

The Colorado Motorcycle Expo has been running for 30 years without an incident like this, but Duran expects security will be elevated next year. Brad Buckner, who sells knife sharpeners, said the expo shouldn't have been closed at all.

"To shut down something like this because two or three people, bad characters, I think that's wrong," Buckner said.