Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (or OMGs, in police shorthand) have a reputation for violently protecting their turf, upholding their rules, and punishing those who step out. When multiple clubs who live by these credos bump up against each other, things can turn bloody and that's exactly what happened in these most brutal and violent biker gang fights in history.
In the six decades since the first motorcycle gangs formed, different groups have fought each other over turf, respect, perceived slights and sometimes just as a result of everyone being really drunk. Other incidents have involved members who ran afoul of club rules or tried to start their own branches - with members brutally killing bikers who they'd normally be riding with. Some of these fights, such as brawls at charity events, can seem humorous and ironic. Others, like the execution of dissenting members or the shooting of bystanders, are nothing to joke about.Here are some of the most well-known and infamous biker brawls, shootings, and stabbings in history.
The pitched battle between the Bandidos and Cossacks that broke out in Waco’s Twin Peaks “breastaurant” in May 2015 had been simmering for several years. Issues over patches and respect had resulted in numerous violent incidents. This led to the clubs attempting to broker a peace agreement over beer and wings – and it ended with countless bullets fired, nine bikers dead, 480 weapons recovered (151 guns, plus assorted knives, brass knuckles, batons, hammers, just everything), 20 injured, and over 177 arrested.
According to newspaper reports, the Cossacks believe the Bandidos set the smaller club up for an ambush – an account that can’t be verified, but is consistent with the events of the day.In October 2015, surveillance footage from the shootout was released. You can see chairs toppling, men firing handguns, and people running in horror. Unbelievably, prosecutors have yet to change anyone for the deaths.
It’s the biker fight that kicked off the entire biker gang moral panic, and it continues to help define the public perception of Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs even today. The Gypsy Tour motorcycle rally was set to take place in Hollister, CA from July 3 through 6, 1947. Motorcycles had exploded in popularity since the end of World War II, and the tiny town wasn’t prepared for the horde of 4,000 bikers (equal to the entire town’s population) who descended on the place. Four biker gangs, including the Boozefighters and the Pissed Off Bastards of Bloomington, began drinking heavily, racing, riding around, looting, and fighting and within a day, the town was in full riot.By the time it was over, there were over 50 arrests and 60 reported injuries, several of them major. A few weeks later, Life Magazine published a sensationalized version of what happened - along with a now iconic photo - and an urban myth was born.
A smaller, less-well known riot took place in Riverside, CA about a year after Hollister. According to witnesses, about 1,000 drunken bikers (including more Boozefighters members), tramps, and hooligans tried to recreate that famous incident. There are even stories that a motorcyclist’s girlfriend was killed when their bike wiped out. However, as with Hollister, much of the reporting of the time was sensationalized, playing up the emerging moral panic of “biker hoodlums.”Both Hollister and Riverside became grist for a series of low-budget biker exploitation movies, and one classic, the Marlon Brando biker epic The Wild One.
Three members of the Warlocks were shot dead outside a VFW hall in Winter Springs, FL in September 2012. The killers were, theoretically, their club brethren. But the situation was more complicated than that, as they were actually members of a different Warlocks chapter, the one based in Philadelphia, which had been trying to set up shop in South Florida.Four Philly Warlocks were arrested and all were charged with murder.