River Run Riot

River Run Riot refers to the 2002 Laughlin, Nevada fight between Hells Angels MC and Mongols MC which left 3 dead and several injured.

River Run Riot Harrahs Casino
River Run Riot Harrahs Casino

River Run Riot Leadup / Laughlin River Run

Laughlin is located just under 100 miles south of Las Vegas, Nevada and is the host to the Laughlin River Run.

The Laughlin River Run is an annual motorcycle rally which was first established in 1983. From a humble start of 426 participants at the 1983 event, it quickly gathered speed and in 2005 had an estimated 70,000 attendees.

The rally is generally held on the last weekend in April. The River Run Riot event in 2002 was the first time that mass violence had erupted during the rally.

River Run Riot Laughlin Nevada map
River Run Riot Laughlin Nevada map

River Run Riot Timeline of Events

The following events occur on Saturday 27 April, 2002.

  • Approximately 35 Hells Angels members leave the Flamingo Hotel (a hotel traditionally held by the Hells Angels during the Laughlin River Run) and head to the Harrah’s Casino (the Mongols hotel during the Laughlin River Run).
  • Hells Angels enter the Harrah’s Casino in Laughlin just after 2am and see approximately 40 members of the Mongols in Rosa’s Cantina bar.
  • Due to the Harrah’s Casino having a significant number of security cameras, most of the following events were captured on camera and later used in the charging and prosecution of those were involved.
  • There is some talking between the groups, with a Mongol asking the Hells Angels who was in charge of their group, to which a Hells Angels member replies and then shortly after some shouting begins.
  • Raymond Foakes, a member of the Hells Angels, lands a running fly kick on a member of the Mongols.
  • A mass brawl breaks out on the Harrah’s Casino gaming floor. Several members of the public are still in the casino and begin running or attempting to find cover in the casino.
  • Guns are fired and other weapons also used. It is believed that the first shot may have been fired by a member of the Mongols, followed by a  shot from a member of the Metropolitan Police Department, who was responding to the incident. Other people have claimed that it was an undercover police officer who fired the first shot.

The Aftermath

  • 3 are killed. 2 are Hells Angels MC members and 1 a Mongols MC member (see “Victims” further down in this article).
  • Dozens are injured, including 16 being taken to the emergency department.
  • Over 50 knives and multiple guns are taken into evidence by police.

River Run Riot Motives

There are a few different motives that have been discussed as being the cause of the River Run Riot event.

  • Possible motive #1: Supporter Gear.
    • A stand at the rally were selling Hells Angels supporter gear and were hassled by members of the Mongols MC.
  • Possible motive #2: San Bernardino, California shooting.
    • Hours before the riot Hells Angels MC member Christian Tate is killed while riding home to San Diego, California. His body was found by California Highway Patrol with a bullet in the back and his drivers licence sitting on the seat of his Harley Davidson motorcycle.
  • Possible motive #3: Escalating violence.
    • The River Run Riot was just another step in the escalating violence between the Hells Angels and the Mongols. The clubs had been at war for years, including cases not long before the rally including dynamite being left under the car of a Mongols Vice President, various stabbings and other similar events.

River Run Riot Victims

3 men were killed as part of the riot. In addition to those listed below who lost their lives, there were many more who were injured.

Mongols MC Victim

  • Anthony Barrera: Age 43 of Rancho Cucamonga, California. Stabbed to death.

Hells Angels MC Victims

  • Jeramie Bell: Age 27 of Hughson, California. Shot to death.
  • Robert Tumelty: Age 50 of Stockton, California. Shot to death.
River Run Riot - Hells Angels Clubhouse Las Vegas
River Run Riot – Hells Angels Clubhouse Las Vegas

River Run Riot Arrests & Trial

Initially the group were charged with over 70 offences, including some related to conspiracy. In March 2006 the Nevada courts threw out most of these and proceeded with 12 charges including two counts of murder with use of a deadly weapon with the intent to promote a gang.

It wasn’t until early 2008 that most of the sentencing had finally been completed.

In addition to the members listed below who were charged, 36 Hells Angels were initially named in Federal indictments, however these charges were later dropped.

River Run Riot Mongols MC Patch Logo

Mongols MC Charged

  • Alexander Alcantar: Pled guilty to two counts of voluntary manslaughter. Sentenced to 18 to 45 months in prison.
  • Benjamin Leyva: Pled guilty to battery with a deadly weapon for hitting someone in the head with a bottle. Sentenced to 12 to 30 months in prison.
  • Kenneth Dysart: Pled guilty to discharging a firearm into a structure. Sentenced to 12 to 30 months in prison.
  • Pedro Martinez: Pled guilty to felony battery with a deadly weapon causing substantial bodily harm. Sentenced to 2 to 5 years in prison. At the time of sentencing he had already been behind bars for 990 days.
  • Roger Pinney: Former Mongols President. Pled guilty to conspiracy to commit battery or provoke a breach peace. Sentenced to a year of probation.
  • Walter Ramirez: Pled guilty to to being an accessory to commit voluntary manslaughter for helping Alexander Alcantar escape the casino after the brawl. The sentence range is 12 to 60 months, however sentencing was held off as he had been named in another indictment against the Mongols in an unrelated matter.

River Run Riot Hells Angels Patches - Death Head Logo

Hells Angels MC Charged

  • Calvin Schaefer: Seen on video firing a gun. Pled guilty to one count of Violent Crime in Aid of Racketeering (VICAR). Sentenced to 51 months in federal prison to run concurrent with a 54 month sentence he received previously in Arizona.
  • Dale Leedom: Beat and stabbed a Mongol. Pled guilty to one count of Violent Crime in Aid of Racketeering (VICAR). Sentenced to 2 years in prison.
  • Frederick Donahue: Disappeared after the initial indictments were handed down and did not reappear until July 2008 when he handed himself in after 5 years on the run. It is claimed that he snuck a gun into Harrah’s Casino hidden underneath a bandana. Sentenced to 30 months in prison.
  • James Hannigan: Stabbed a Mongol. Pled guilty to one count of Violent Crime in Aid of Racketeering (VICAR). Sentenced to 2 years in prison.
  • Maurice Eunice: Seen on video firing a gun. Pled guilty to one count of Violent Crime in Aid of Racketeering (VICAR). Sentenced to 30 months in prison.
  • Rodney Cox: Hit a Mongol in the back of the head with a wrench. Pled guilty to one count of Violent Crime in Aid of Racketeering (VICAR). Sentenced to 2 years in prison.
  • Raymond Foakes: Kicked a Mongol, which was one of the first actions that occurred as part of the fight. Pled guilty to one count of Violent Crime in Aid of Racketeering (VICAR). Sentenced to 12 to 30 months in prison.

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