Mongols MC Publicly Accuses Iron Order of Murder in Denver Biker Brawl

We've been reporting about the shooting at the Colorado Motorcycle Expo that killed Victor Mendoza, a member of the Mongols motorcycle club, on January 30.

Mendoza died after a clash between the Mongols and the Iron Order, which, like the Mongols, has been branded an Outlaw Motorcycle Gang, or OMG.

The Iron Order is known for having law enforcement membership, and the Colorado Department of Corrections has confirmed that one of its employees was involved in the incident.

In the days that followed the incident, the Mongols released a photo of an Iron Order member apparently holding a weapon. An Iron Order representative branded that shot and other information put forward by the Mongols as "outright fabrications."

The latest? Yesterday at a VFW post in Denver, the Mongols held their first-ever press conference to publicly reject possible Iron Order claims of self-defense, leaving the clear implication that a murder took place.

Here's a look at the man who looked to be wielding a gun in the aforementioned photo.... well as an image of him in handcuffs.

Clearly, Denver police officers at the scene considered him to be a suspect.

Thus far, however, there have been no announced arrests in the incident.

Why not?

During the media event, Mongols attorney Stephen Stubbs delivered an address suggesting that the reasons no one has been formally accused revolves around the question of self-defense and whether the shooter was justified in firing the bullet that killed Mendoza.

We've included Stubbs's statement in its entirety below — but the attorney stressed in his comments that Mendoza didn't have a gat and was trying to disarm the Iron Order member when he was killed.

"Pulling a gun after one of your buddies pushes someone is not reasonable and cannot be self-defense," Stubbs maintained. "Shooting an unarmed person that tries to disarm you, after you unlawfully brandish a gun, cannot be self-defense. Running to the top of the stairs, pointing a gun at the crowd below, and shooting an unarmed man that bravely tries to disarm you cannot be self-defense."

During recent days, the Mongols have pushed out material intended to show the Iron Order's violent streak.

The Motorcycle Profiling Project — the same site that originally published the gun photo — has shared the following list of incidents from the past two years in which the Iron Order allegedly took part.
• 01/30/2016 — An Iron Order member shoots and kills a Mongol after after instigating a fight at the Colorado Motorcycle Expo in Denver. Pictures taken before the fatal shot show the visibly armed Iron Order member was not in danger and he could have fled the scene. The Iron Order member has not been arrested. “There has never been a confrontation, so much as a fistfight. And many 1% organizations have attended including the Hells Angels, Sons of Silence, Bandidos, Outlaws, Mongols, and many others. For 30 years that this event has taken place, there has never been a problem until the Iron Order showed up.

• 06/05/2013 — In Cheyenne, WY Iron Order has a conflict with members of the Los Lobos MC which results in assault, minor injuries, and 2 arrested for weapons charges. No Iron Order were arrested.

• 06/10/2015 — Erlanger, KY: Iron Order MC v. Iron Horsemen MC which 1 person was deliberately struck with a vehicle.

• 06/19/2015 — Members of the Reading, PA Iron Order chapter killed a woman named Tanya Focht, a student at Alvernia University. Focht was punched in the face by an Iron Order member then thrown into oncoming traffic and killed as she was trying to defend her longtime boyfriend who was being attacked by Iron Order members outside the Bar B Q Pit restaurant.
Berks County District Attorney John T. Adams ruled Focht’s death was an accident. Adams told the Reading Eagle, “No charges will be filed in relation to the accidental death.”
05/09/2015 – Madison, IN: Iron Order MC threatens off-duty police officer outside restaurant.

• 02/21/2015 — Meridian, MS: Iron Order MC have a violent conflict with the Pisteleros MC and Bandidos MC which resulted in 3 shot.

• 06/07/2014 — Baltimore, MD: Iron Order MC v. Chosen Sons MC and Iron Horsemen MC in bar fight. Result: Active Police Officer and retired officer, members of CSMC, were charged with assault and robbery.

• 06/26/2014 — Jacksonville, FL: Iron Order prospect Kristopher Stone shot and killed Black Pistons MC member Zachariah Tipton in Jacksonville Beach after instigating a fight. Florida State Attorney Angela Corey outrageously ruled the killing was justifiable homicide even though Stone shot the unarmed Tipton in the face while only a few feet apart. Corey refused to charge Stone.

• 04/27/2014 — Crawfordsville, IN: Iron Order MC has a conflict with Sons of Silence MC in a business parking lot involving bats, firearms, and knives with injuries.

That's not to say the Mongols haven't been tied to violent episodes, however.

Here's a roster of items from the Mongols MC Wikipedia page.
In 1998, ATF agent William Queen infiltrated the club, eventually becoming a full-patch member and rising to the rank of chapter vice-president using the undercover alias of Billy St. John. In April 2000, based on evidence gathered during Queen's 28-month undercover time with the club, 54 Mongols were arrested. All but one of the accused were later convicted of various crimes including drug trafficking, motorcycle theft, and conspiracy to commit murder.

In 2002, members of the Mongols and the Hells Angels had a confrontation in Laughlin, Nevada, at the Harrah's Laughlin Casino, that left three bikers dead. Mongol Anthony "Bronson" Barrera, 43, was stabbed to death; and two Hells Angels — Jeramie Bell, 27, and Robert Tumelty, 50 — were shot to death. On February 23, 2007, Hells Angels members James Hannigan and Rodney Cox were sentenced to two years in prison for their respective roles in the incident. Cox and Hannigan were captured on videotape confronting Mongols inside the casino. A Hells Angels member can be clearly seen on the casino security videotape performing a front kick on a Mongol, which, in turn, started the ensuing melee.

Mongols member Christopher Ablett turned himself in to authorities in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, on October 4, 2008 after going on the run for murdering Hells Angels President Mark "Papa" Guardado in San Francisco, California earlier that year. His bond had been set at $5 million. He was convicted of murder in aid of racketeering and three gun charges on February 23, 2012, in San Francisco.

On December 20, 2008, in Las Vegas, Mongols members arrived at "A Special Memories Wedding Chapel" for a fellow member's wedding, to find a local Hells Angels charter were just finishing up their own ceremony. It is reported by KTNV Channel 13 news, that the Hells Angels attacked the Mongols members, sending three to a hospital, two of whom suffered from stab wounds. No arrests were made and local authorities report that they are looking for suspects said to be involved in the attack.

On October 28, 2014, in San Gabriel, California, a Mongols member allegedly shot and killed Pomona Police SWAT Team member Shaun Diamond. Diamond was shot in the back of the neck with a shotgun during the service of a search warrant.
The Denver brawl remains under investigation, and when quizzed about the DPD at the press event, Mongols attorney Stubbs replied, "I cannot comment on the Denver Police Department. They say what they're going to say.... I'm sorry for not giving the answers you'd like. But we cannot comment on what the Denver Police Department said."

Look below to see a Fox31 report about the latest developments, followed by Stubbs's full statement.

Stephen Stubbs statement:

The Mongols Motorcycle Club is confident that the many independent witnesses will tell the truth and this matter will be handled appropriately.

Everyone has the right to defend themselves from physical confrontation. If someone is threatened or attacked, that person has the right to stand up for himself and use appropriate force to defend against that threat. However, any force used to defend yourself must be reasonable.

Pulling a gun after one of your buddies pushes someone is not reasonable and cannot be self-defense. Shooting an unarmed person that tries to disarm you, after you unlawfully brandish a gun, cannot be self-defense. Running to the top of the stairs, pointing a gun at the crowd below, and shooting an unarmed man that bravely tries to disarm you cannot be self-defense.

On the flip side, attempting to disarm a person with your hands after they pull a gun on you is lawful self-defense. Using your fists to defend yourself and your brothers against a group whose member just shoved one of you in the chest is self-defense. Likewise, if you are an unarmed man that is charging some intoxicated lunatic at the top of the stairs that is waiving a gun at a crowd of people – that is definitely self-defense.

On January 30, 2016, a citizen died as he charged a man that was waiving a gun at a large group of people. That citizen’s name is Victor Mendoza. He was a dedicated father and husband. A true brother and friend with the talent to make kids smile. Victor Mendoza sacrificed his life attempting to save others. There is no greater love than this.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts