I-Team: Rising violence between local motorcycle groups

The I-Team found there's been a recent string of violence among local motorcycle clubs. Law enforcement classifies some of those clubs as "criminal gangs" and "criminal enterprises". Florida law enforcement agencies including right here in Tampa Bay are on high alert.
 
Belinda Donovan's husband for 22 years, David from Homosassa, was murdered execution style in Leesburg.

"It's kind of a nightmare.  Seeing him in the hospital was tough" Belinda tells us.
 
Police say David, the Vice President of the Kingsmen Motorcycle Club Chapter in Lake County, was getting cigarettes at a gas station, when a large group of the Outlaws Motorcycle "gang" demanded he take off his club's leather vest.

David and his two other friends refused. Shortly after, outside of the store, investigators say one of the outlaws put a knife to his throat and forced him to his knees. Then someone shot David in the back.
 
A witness whose identity we are protecting because he was the other Kingsmen member at the scene, says the Outlaws have been trying to find out who he is.

"I locked eyes with him right before they shot him", he recalls.

Reporter: "You know who did this?"
Witness:  "I do."
Reporter: "What was it like for you, what was going on in your mind when you did lock eyes at that moment?"
Witness:  "Just fear for my brother, he was my best friend, I literally talk to him everyday."
 
In the store surveillance video, you can see the witness shooting back after the gunfire started.  State Attorneys confirm he shot back in self defense. 

One of the Outlaws was hit while trying to get away. Police found his bike surrounded by blood at the scene. You can clearly see the outlaws symbol on the gas tank. 
 
Reporter: "How many of them were there?"
Witness: "Rough count somewhere between 23 to 25?"
Reporter: "How many of you were there?"
Witness: "Three."
 
You can see a large group of Outlaws on surveillance video outside. Gun shells were found all over the parking lot. Police found a gun, a knife, and the vest David was killed for. David was shot right under the surveillance camera.

Police arrested the owner of the bloody Outlaws bike, Marc Knotts, at the Outlaws clubhouse in Ocala. They also arrested Jesus Marrero, Miguel Torres, and Gregory Umphress.
 
Reporter: "What can you tell us about the outlaws?"
Witness: "They try to say their image has changed. Nothings changed.. they're just bullies, they're thugs, nothing less."
 
There's been a recent spike in violence involving the Outlaws MC and other motorcycle "gangs."

 "We have received information that in the Tampa Bay area that there have been incidents between the Outlaws between the 69ers and between other 1 percent motorcycle club groups" says Pasco Sheriff's Captain Mike Jenkins who's actively investigating local cases of violence.

"And we believe that it's primarily associated with the Outlaws attempting to establish dominance or maintain dominance" he says.
 
Less than 2 weeks before the Leesburg murder, Pinellas County deputies responded to a "large motorcycle gang fight" at Local Brewing Company in Palm Harbor. 

Deputies report up to 10 outlaws rolled up and jumped 2 members of the 69ers, another motorcycle "gang".
During the fight, one of the 69ers reports his gun was stolen.  The case remains open.
 
Two weeks before that in Daytona, someone stabbed confirmed Outlaw Christopher Keating to death in a fight outside the Crooks Den.

Police say the Pagans motorcycle "gang" was responsible, and those Pagans weren't from Daytona. That case is still open.

These criminal motorcycle gangs are in the Tampa Bay area. The I-Team previously exposed some of the gangs leaders were in local fire departments.

Although currently not directly associated with the recent murders, Hillsborough County Fire Rescue had at least 2 confirmed Outlaws.

Pasco Fire Rescue still has a fire captain who's a known president of his Pagans MC chapter.
               
Captain Jenkins tells us, "We are aware these individuals are operating in our jurisdiction.  We are aware that there's information suggesting that violence is increasing amongst these individuals.  Our message is very simple: we will hold those individuals accountable."
               
As for Belinda's husband David, police expect to arrest more Outlaws connected to his murder.
 
Belinda says, "They cut his life short.  He had plans and he had hopes and dreams and thoughts for the future that wont get to be lived out."
   
SEE OUR FIREFIGHTERS WHO RUN WITH CRIMINAL MOTORCYCLE GANGS INVESTIGATION HERE.

Jarrod Holbrook is an Emmy and AP Award-winning Investigative Reporter for the ABC Action News I-Team.
Do you have a story idea? Contact Jarrod on Facebook ***link, Twitter @jarrodholbrook, or via email at jarrod.holbrook@wfts.com.
   

 

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