By Andrew Hay
TAOS, New Mexico (Reuters) – Three bikers were killed and five injured in a shootout at a motorcycle rally in Red River, northern New Mexico, on Saturday in the latest clash between gangs of banned American bikers, police said.
Members of the Bandido and Waterdog groups exchanged gunfire around 5 p.m. (2100 GMT) on the crowded main street of the mountain resort town 120 km northeast of the state capital, Santa Fe, said State Police Chief Tim Johnson on Sunday.
“It was just gangbang on gangbang,” Johnson said at a Red River news conference, adding that no bystanders were injured.
Of the three killed, two were Bandidos and one was a Waterdog, the police chief said.
One of those killed was a New Mexico chapter leader for the Bandidos while one of those arrested was a Bandido leader from Texas, Johnson said. Jacob Castillo, a water dog from Rio Rancho, New Mexico, has been arrested and charged with murder, he said.
The confrontation began in Albuquerque, New Mexico’s largest city, over a photo involving another gang, then spread to Red River’s annual Memorial Day motorcycle rally, Johnson said.
Bandidos have been involved in at least three shootings in Texas and Oklahoma in the past two months, he said.
Some 28,000 bikers from across the country were expected to attend the Memorial Day rally, which included live music and remembrance ceremonies at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at nearby Angel Fire.
Red River Mayor Linda Calhoun advised local businesses to close.
The incident comes eight years after nine bikers were killed and 18 injured in a shooting in Waco, Texas, involving members of motorcycle groups such as the Bandidos and the Cossacks.
Some of the injured were taken to a hospital in Taos, New Mexico, about 40 km southwest, where authorities have banned the sale of alcohol and instituted a curfew.
(Reporting by Andrew Hay in Taos, New Mexico; Editing by Andrea Ricci)