A melee between two motorcycle clubs, the Mongols and the Iron Order, at the National Western Complex over the weekend ended with a stabbing, one death by gunshot and plenty of blame being pointed in opposite directions.
We don't yet know the identities of everyone who took part, including the dead man.
But among those involved in the fight was a Colorado Department of Corrections employee — no surprise given our post last year citing evidence that government-designated "outlaw motorcycle gangs," shorthanded as OMGs, have been recruiting individuals with law enforcement and military backgrounds.
The first official communication about the incident at an event called the Colorado Motorcycle Expo — one attended by an estimated 10,000 people, including children — came via the following Denver Police Department tweet, sent early Saturday afternoon, January 30.
Another DPD message with a grim update followed just over an hour later:
BREAKING: DPD working multiple shootings (1 stabbed) at Coliseum. PIO RESPONDING— Denver Police Dept. (@DenverPolice) January 30, 2016
Since then, conflicting accounts of what happened have surfaced.
UPDATE: Confirming one party deceased and numerous others wounded in shooting/stabbing at Denver Coliseum— Denver Police Dept. (@DenverPolice) January 30, 2016
A spokesman for the Mongols told 7News that a staredown involving that MC and an allegedly drunk Iron Order crew escalated into a verbal confrontation involving obscenities.
At that point, he continued, an Iron Order member pulled a gun and started issuing threats, kicking off a fight in which a Mongol was shot and seriously injured.
Next, the Mongols man goes on, the Iron Order group headed upstairs, and when a Mongol tried to follow, he was shot and killed, initiating a round of fist fights, stabbings and more shooting — although the spokesman claims no Mongol had a gun.
An Iron Order representative's account could hardly be more different.
In his version, sixteen Iron Order members were leaving when a Mongol hurled a racial slur at an IO African-American.
Shortly thereafter, around thirty Mongols jumped the badly outnumbered Iron Order forces, resulting in beatings and at least one stabbing.
Along the way, an Iron Order member drew his weapon and opened fire in self defense — and he thinks some of the Mongols were packing firearms.
Other accusations involve the description of the Iron Order group as a "cop club" — one made up of off-duty police officers.
Thus far, no police department has confirmed that its officers were part of the fracas.
However, the Colorado Department of Corrections has issued this statement:
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.
There's no question that both the Mongols and the Iron Order have been active in Colorado.
Here's one YouTube video highlighting the Mongols in Colorado....
Similar video documentation exists for the Iron Order.
Here's one Colorado-centric clip....
...and a second one focusing on the Colorado Springs chapter:
Both groups deny that they should be characterized as outlaw motorcycle gangs.
But a report entitled "OMGs and the Military 2014," which we first shared in a July 2015 post (the document is on view below), makes mentions aplenty of both the Mongols and the Iron Order in violent or law-breaking contexts.
This passage cites the Mongols in connection with Colorado:
As documented in the three previous OMGs and the Military reports, the Vagos, Pagans, Bandidos, Hells Angels and Mongols continue to open new chapters across the United States and abroad. In States such as California, New Mexico, Colorado, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and New York, OMG expansion is continuing at an increasing rate. In Connecticut, the Diablos is expanding into territory controlled by the Hells Angels — resulting in several skirmishes in New York and Massachusetts. In Massachusetts, LE has observed Devils Diciples members in Lynn, which led to an altercation with the Hells Angels in the beginning of March. Even though it is not as prevalent in the Northeast, OMGs in the South and Western portion of the United States are recruiting military personnel to further their expansion.
And this one describes the Iron Order and the suspected law-enforcement connection:
The Iron Order is one of the fastest growing motorcycle clubs in the United States. Members wear a traditional three-piece patch with a State bottom rocker. The fact that they wear the State bottom rocker has infuriated the HAMC, Outlaws, Iron Horsemen, Pagans and Bandidos. More importantly, many of their members are police and corrections officers, active-duty military and/or government employees and contractors. Over the past 4 years, the Iron Order has had several violent confrontations with each of the aforementioned OMGs. Per the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), in 2013, an Iron Order member was run off the road by a Bandidos member. In Clarksville, Kentucky, the Iron Order and Outlaws have been involved in several violent altercations. On May 14, 2011, HAMC South Carolina Nomads member William Sosebee stabbed an Iron Order member outside a bar in South Carolina. Despite the violence, they continue to move into territory controlled by one of the Dominant 7.As more information is released about the Saturday fight in Denver, so, too, are we likely to learn about the connection between motorcycle clubs and local law enforcers.
Look below to see the 7News piece about the incident, followed by the aforementioned study.