DENVER (Reuters) - A gun and knife fight at a Denver motorcycle show that left one person dead and seven wounded was between an outlaw biker gang and a club with many law enforcement members, lawyers for both groups said on Sunday.
Lawyers for the Iron Order Motorcycle Club, whose members include large numbers of law enforcement and the military, and the Mongols Motorcycle Club, which federal authorities deem an “outlaw motorcycle gang”, each blamed the other side for starting Saturday’s brawl.
John C. Whitfield, an attorney for the Iron Order, said a handful of members of that group acted in self-defense after they were surrounded by at least 30 Mongols.
“One of our members is African-American and one of the Mongols made a racial slur,” and a fight ensued, Whitfield said.
But Stephen Stubbs, a lawyer for the Mongols, said the two groups got into a fist fight after exchanging words, and once the Mongols got the better of them, an Iron Order member brandished a handgun, and began firing.
“None of the Mongols had a gun,” Stubbs said.
Denver police said they had not yet arrested anyone in connection with Saturday’s violence at the Denver Motorcycle Expo, an annual show and swap meet at the city-owned National Western Complex, although one “person of interest” was questioned by investigators.
Four people were shot, one fatally, one person was stabbed and three others sustained injuries that did not involve weapons during the fight, police said. A second day of the motorcycle show planned for Sunday was canceled.
The incident recalled a shootout last May outside a restaurant in Waco, Texas, where nine bikers were killed, 18 injured, and scores arrested.
Both lawyers said that the man killed in Saturday’s brawl was a member of the Mongols, although Denver police would not confirm that, or name the groups involved.
“That’s all still part of the investigation,” police spokeswoman Raquel Lopez said.
The U.S. Department of Justice has said the Mongols are heavily involved in drug dealing and racketeering.
Editing by Sharon Bernstein and Muralikumar Anantharaman