Despite arrests, Pasco sheriff fears more violence in wake of motorcycle gang killing

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(pics) ---The president of a local chapter of the American Outlaws Motorcycle Association was shot and killed by the president of a rival motorcycle club Thursday afternoon in a public burst of violence that threatens to ignite a gang war, said Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco.

Paul Anderson, 44, was shot while idling in a truck at the red light where the Suncoast Parkway exits to State Road 54 in Odessa, the sheriff said. The shooting took place at about 4:55 p.m. while many other drivers were on the road, deputies said.

"It was probably like a television show or a movie scene," Nocco said.

Two men on motorcycles, Christopher Brian Cosimano and Michael Dominick Mencher, had pulled up at the intersection, investigators said. Cosimano, the president of a local branch of the 69ers Motorcycle Club, goes by the name "Durty," the sheriff said. He walked up to the window of the truck and knocked, deputies said, and when he got Anderson’s attention, opened fire.

"That’s a big deal when you take out a president," Nocco said. "And these groups don’t take it lightly."

The sheriff described the Outlaws and 69ers as rivals who had recent tensions between their groups. Anderson, he said, led the Cross Bayou chapter of the Outlaws. Investigators said he was tracked by a "scout" vehicle, driven by Allan Guinto, another member of the 69ers.

Cosimano, 29; Mencher ("Pumpkin"), 51; and Guinto ("Big Bee"), 26, all face charges of first-degree murder, authorities said.

The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives assisted in the investigation.

Both motorcycle gangs have national footprints, Nocco said, and investigators believe members may be coming to Florida from around the country because of the shooting. Deputies anticipate the groups will continue feuding.

"There’s no doubt in my mind there’s going to be more violence because of this," Nocco said. "Just because those three have been arrested, that does not mean it’s going to be the end of this."

But investigators released few details about the simmering feud that may have preceded the shooting.

"Conflict is inherent with these gangs," said Pasco sheriff’s spokesman Kevin Doll. "That’s what they pretty much live for."

Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said his detectives, just south of Pasco County, have not seen a recent surge in motorcycle gang issues.

Groups like the Outlaws and 69ers exist in Tampa Bay, he said, but for years "the stereotypical and traditional motorcycle gang activity has been nominal." Generally, any violence happens between groups and does not involve the public, he said.

"They don’t wreak the havoc in the community and engage in criminal activity against others the way they did a long time ago," Gualtieri said.

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Josh Solomon, Zachary T. Sampson
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tampabay.com




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