feuding biker gangs: the Mongols Motorcycle Club and the Hells Angels.authorities were looking into any possible link to the Sept. 2 murder of San Francisco Hells Angels' chapter president Mark "Papa" Guardado outside a Mission District bar near 24th Street and Treat Avenue.
San Jose police identified the target in the 3:38 a.m. blasts as Robert Rios, an upper-echelon member of the Mongols' San Jose chapter, and confirmed that suspicion is falling heavily on their often bloody rivals, the notorious Hells Angels. Mark "Papa" Guardado, 46, president of the Frisco Hells Angels chapter, was gunned down Sept. 2; the suspect, a Mongol from Modesto, remains at large.
"It's either the Hells Angels are sending a message, or this is a calculated, but ill-advised move," said Sgt. Larry Day, the San Jose Police Department's in-house expert on outlaw motorcycle gangs.Federal law enforcement officials are assisting San Jose's investigation into Thursday's attack, described by shaken neighbors as a series of blasts that roused them from their beds. Officials are probing for any links between the two incidents and how they might fit into the wider, ongoing clash between the Mongols, primarily based in Southern California, and the Hells Angels, long an iconic group in Northern California.No one was injured and no one is in custody, San Jose police spokesman Jermaine Thomas said, but two vehicles parked in the driveway outside Rios' Several other explosives were found outside the house in the 700 block of Melannie Court, where bomb-squad officers and federal agents spent hours searching for evidence.A woman who left the home, as well a man inside the home, declined to comment Thursday afternoon. Children's toys including a red tricycle, plastic bats and balls were strewed across the front lawn and driveway near a bubble-top Chevrolet Deluxe and a black Chevy Silverado with a Harley Davidson logo, scuffed in the blasts.Throughout the morning, members of San Jose's bomb squad and agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) could be seen entering and exiting the house. ATF agent Doug Dacosta said much of the evidence collected at the scene will be further examined at an ATF facility in Walnut Creek.Some neighbors on the working-class strip of mostly tidy ranch houses described Rios' home as a hotbed of motorcycle activity, with one next-door neighbor, Fernando Robles, saying that men wearing Mongols jackets were frequent visitors to the house."There's a lot of motorcycles," another neighbor, Carlos Lomeli, said through his girlfriend, Diana Martinez, in Spanish. "It's not all of the time, but it's most of the time. Sometimes there's 40 or 50 motorcycles out there."Linda Rodriguez, whose family has lived at the cul-de-sac's palm-framed entrance for 47 years, said her mother woke up before she did. "She said she heard two booms and then, five seconds later — a third boom." When they went outside to look, however, they saw nothing at all, she said.Rodriguez said police told her the explosive was a pipe bomb. They interviewed her Thursday morning. "That's what they said for sure," she told the Mercury News. She also noted that one of the men who lived in the house likes to ride a motorcycle but that he always took care to ride quietly when coming or going from his home.The street was reopened to traffic about 1 p.m. as investigators rolled out and officers began taking down the orange police tape that had been stretched across the street. Soon after, nearly a dozen children who had been kept inside because of the investigation emerged, some riding bicycles, and a garbage truck was able to pick up trash cans that had been lying idle.
Tim McKinley, the FBI's guru on biker gangs until he retired from the agency in 2002, said the attack looked like one more skirmish in a bloody war between the gangs that's been going on for a decade.But the lack of damage — and blood — in Thursday's attack struck him as suspiciously "incompetent.""When the Hells Angels place a bomb, they destroy the house," he said, recalling a similar, but fatal, 1992 pipe bomb attack in San Leandro. "This is some Hells Angel who's going to be in some big problems with the bosses, or more likely it's some Mongol looking for some self-aggrandizement."
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