Hells Angels arrested in connection with Greenville shooting

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GREENVILLE - The Augusta County Sheriff's Office arrested seven members of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club after an early morning shooting at a Greenville motel.

According to Sheriff Donald Smith, the shooting occurred at the Hometown Inn on Lee Jackson Highway in Greenville just before 3 a.m. Monday. 

When deputies arrived on the scene, they found a male victim who had been shot and another male who had been beaten. 

The shooting victim was transported to an undisclosed hospital where he is in stable but critical condition, Smith said.

The male who was assaulted was also taken to a hospital where he was treated for his injuries, then released.

Upon arrival, deputies secured the motel and established a perimeter around the motel. Tactical teams from Staunton Police Department and the Augusta County Sheriff's Office executed a search warrant on three rooms. 

Seven men, members of the Hells Angels group, were detained at the scene and taken to Middle River Regional Jail, Smith said. According to Smith, the members of the group were from the New York City area. 

Of those arrested, five were charged with malicious wounding and use of a firearm in commission of a felony. The other two were charged with possession of methamphetamine and possession of a firearm while in possession of narcotics. 

In executing the search warrant, the sheriffs office seized numerous items of Hells Angels' clothing and jewelry along with eight motorcycles and one gun, Smith said. 

Both victims were members of the Pagans Motor Cycle Club, out of the southern portion of Virginia. 

"It looks like the Hells Angels were there first and the Pagans showed up to rent a room, then the two just clashed," Smith said. "The one just attacked the other one.

"Both had been at a convention type thing for their clubs and were just passing through the area," Smith added. "They ended up meeting in the Greenville area and this was the result."

The suspects' names, charges and mugshots will be released later, Smith said. 

Schools and a daycare in the area were notified of the incident as a precautionary measure, a release said.

The two groups are known to be rivals, Smith said.

"They don't get along very well," Smith said.

The Hells Angels and Pagans are outlaw motorcycle gangs, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.

The Pagans are a violent gang whose membership distribute cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana and more, according to the DOD. The Pagans are one of the most prominent outlaw motorcycle gangs in the Mid-Atlantic region with an estimate of up to 250 members, 41 chapters in 11 states.

The Hells Angels have up to 2,500 members who belong to more than 230 chapters in the U.S. and in 26 foreign countries, the DOD said. In the U.S, they are said to have more than 92 chapters in 27 states. The Hells Angels are involved in the production, transportation and distribution of marijuana and methamphetamine, as well as other drugs, the DOD said. 

Both gangs are involved in criminal activities such as assault, murder, theft and more, the DOD said.

This is the first motorcycle gang-related activity in the county in several years, Smith said.

"Most of the time we don't have issues with them here, but they are engaged in gang activity," he said. "We haven't seen something of this magnitude that I'm aware of."

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Laura Peters
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