Trial underway over fatal casino brawl
The case dates back to a gang fight from 2011
Almost everyone had forgotten about the fight in a Northern Nevada casino eight years ago between rival gangs. Everyone, that is, except for Jeffrey Pettigrew’s friends and family. The “godfather” of a Hells Angels chapter out of San Jose, CA was gunned down by Ernest Manuel Gonzalez of the Vagos gang before a larger firefight erupted at the Nugget Casino Resort and, by the time the dust settled, several individuals had been arrested. Those individuals are now finally facing a judge.
Eight men are on trial, including Gonzalez, who goes by the nickname “Romeo.” Video footage from the day the fight occurred shows Pettigrew pistol-whipping someone else after a verbal altercation began, and Romeo then took out his gun and shot the man. Absolute melee ensued, with tempers flaring and bullets flying throughout the venue.
Romeo’s lawyers describe the subsequent firefight as nothing more than an attempt to stop an “active shooter” incident. Attorney Michael Kennedy argued the innocence of his client in court, stating, “Shooting to stop two active shooters is not murder. This was a Nevada casino with gunfire and shooting for two minutes.”
Another 13 individuals are still waiting to make their appearances. All 21 are part of the Vagos gang, an organized group that has been accused of gun-running, murder, kidnapping, extortion, robbery, drug distribution, witness intimidation and more. The gang reportedly operated in California, Nevada, Utah, Oregon, Arizona and Hawaii.
The first trial finds defendants ranging in age from 36-70 and is expected to last at least through November.