PASCO COUNTY, Fla. — Several members of the Outlaws came to a Pasco County funeral home this afternoon as they are grieving the loss of their president.
But Sheriff’s Chris Nocco says this is just the beginning.
“We have to be preparing, because we don’t know what may happen.”
As many as a thousand bikers from around the country are expected in the area this weekend for Paul Anderson’s funeral.
He was murdered a few days before Christmas by members of a rival club.
“I think the way that the homicide occurred definitely shocked people. It was broad daylight in a very populated area where people are constantly driving,” said Nocco.
Three men are charged with Anderson’s murder, including the alleged shooter, Chris Cosimano, president of the 69’ers Motorcycle Club.
The groups have said there will be a moratorium on violence this weekend. But the Sheriff believes retribution is very likely at some point.
“We are hopeful it doesn’t occur in Tampa Bay, it could happen anywhere nationally because these are national clubs.”
The Sheriff’s Office is bringing in help from other law enforcement agencies, even the ATF. They say they will have an overwhelming presence in the area.
“We want to make sure the daily lives of our citizens is not disrupted. We want to make sure they feel safe,” said Nocco.
Meanwhile, a national advocacy group for motorcycle clubs, The National Council of Clubs, is taking exception with how all this is being portrayed.
They say Anderson was a decorated Army veteran and it’s unfair to dismiss him because he was a member of the Outlaws.
In a statement they say Sheriff Nocco is “using this tragedy to spread fear among the general public.”
The statement also says, “do some motorcycle club members commit crimes? Of course. Just as some cops commit crimes."
Anderson leaves behind his mother and sister. He will be buried next to his brother, who according to the statement, was killed while serving in the military.