A newly unsealed FBI search warrant reveals how a turf war between rival biker gangs in Southern Massachusetts sparked a bloody 50-man street brawl, which resulted in several gang members being stabbed and bludgeoned.
The heavily redacted warrant, which was filed by an FBI task force officer and unsealed Thursday, details how the Hells Angels motorcycle gang and their supporters came to blows with a rival club called the Pagans in May 2022 over the latter’s encroachment on their territory.
Both the Hells Angels and Pagans are well-established outlaw motorcycle gangs, with a history of crimes across the country ranging from narcotics trafficking to racketeering. They also can’t stand each other, harboring a long-simmering feud that occasionally flares up into open violence.
According to the warrant, tensions boiled over between the gangs in April 2022, as the Pagans, who were new in the region, opened a chapter in Fall River. The small city is located on the Southern Massachusetts coast near the Rhode Island border, in an area where the Hells Angels long held sway.
But the Hells Angels had been neglecting the area of late, the warrant states—they’d allowed a chapter in the area to lie dormant for over a decade.
That left room for the Pagans to expand. They quickly moved into nearby Fall River. The Hells Angels, taking notice of this encroachment, reestablished their presence in Cape Cod, putting up a sign outside their newly christened clubhouse to announce their return.
“It was apparent from this change, that the HAMC was intending to reassert its dominance in South Coastal Massachusetts,” the warrant said.
Around the same time, the Hells Angels put out a nationwide “green light” order against the Pagans, the warrant said, citing minutes recently seized from a Hells Angels meeting. The “green light” gave Hells Angels members the go-ahead to “attack on sight” any Pagans members, according to the court document.”
The confrontation came soon after.
On the morning of May 14, more than 100 Hells Angels riders gathered at a rest stop in Bridgewater, Massachusetts to fuel their bikes en route to the Pagans clubhouse in Fall River. Their ranks included the Hells Angel Salem chapter, which a confidential informant told the task force is a power-player among the gang’s Massachusetts chapters, the warrant said. Local allies of the group, including the Sidewinders motorcycle gang, offered backup.
Gang members talked, bought snacks and snapped pictures for social media before embarking on a ride that would end with several people stabbed and beaten on the street.
Cameras operated by The Fall River Police Department tracked the 100-strong group of bikers as they rode to Fall River and carried out the attack.. According to the document, a faction of about 40 Hells Angels broke off from the main group and rode by the Pagans’ stronghold. Pagans’ members, along with their girlfriends and wives, gathered inside and outside the clubhouse as they passed.
The Hells Angels returned a few minutes later from the opposite direction, the warrant said. This time, about 25 riders stopped their bikes, dismounted and descended on the Pagans gathered outside with knives, hammers and clubs.
“An additional dozen or more HAMC members and associates were present at the scene and provided support by blocking traffic and serving as lookouts during the attack,” the warrant said.
According to the warrant, the sidewalk outside the clubhouse became a battlefield, as the two-dozen Hells Angels swarmed six or seven Pagans targets.
One Pagan member “was impaled with a dagger which was still protruding from his upper body” when police made it to the scene. Several others sustained injuries including stabbings and blunt force trauma. Several Hells Angels brandished ballpeen hammers, a signature weapon of the gang, the warrant said.
When the attack was over, “notable amounts of victims’ blood” has been splattered on both sidewalks, the sides of nearby cars and buildings, and one motorcycle visor recovered from the scene, the warrant said. The bloody melee lasted just a few minutes.
All in all, seven victims were transported to regional hospitals.
When it was over, the warrant said, authorities suspect the Hells Angels retreated to their reclaimed Cape Cod clubhouse. Investigators surveilling the property watched as cars and motorcycles sped away from the gated stronghold. Their drivers scattered in various directions, wearing different clothes.
“The presence of many HAMC members in Westport also suggests that weapons and other incriminating items from the crime scene could have been concealed at the clubhouse shortly after the attack,” the warrant read.
In the days following the incident, a confidential informant told investigators that the Hells Angels planned the attack “because PMC members had disrespected the HAMC,” and the latter needed to reassert their dominance.
It wasn’t Fall River’s first biker gang clash. In 2019, members of Hells Angels ally Sidewinders club engaged in a gunfight with the Outlaws motorcycle gang, The Fall River Herald News reported.
After the 2022 attack, the city of Fall River closed down the Pagans’ former club house and moved ahead with plans to revitalize the neighborhood.
In July of that year, the FBI raided multiple Hell’s Angels properties, including the reestablished club house where the gang put up a sign to advertise its return to the region.
It doesn’t appear the two groups have come to public blows since the massive Fall River brawl, but a confidential informant still cautioned the task force “that further violence against the PMC would likely follow.”