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Police report describes Vagos bikers ambush by Hells Angels in Henderson

Henderson Detention Center
Henderson Police Department via AP

This Henderson Detention Center combination photo, shows suspects from left, Richard John Devries, Russell Smith, center, and Stephen Alo, right, following their arrest and booking on Monday, May 30, 2022, on felony attempted murder, battery and weapon charges in a shooting on a Las Vegas-area freeway. Police say Devries is president of the Las Vegas charter of the Hells Angels motorcycle club and that Smith and Alo are associates of the motorcycle club.

A Memorial Day weekend shooting on a Las Vegas-area freeway was an apparent ambush by Hells Angels members on rival Vagos biker gang members returning from a veterans cemetery ride, according to a police report made public Tuesday.

Richard John Devries, who police identified as the Las Vegas Hells Angels chapter president, and club recruits Russell Smith and Stephen Alo were arrested late Sunday, several hours after the shooting on U.S. 95, according to Henderson police reports.

At least six of the seven people taken to hospitals with wounds or injuries following the midday Sunday gunfire were Vagos members or affiliates, the report said. They were riding motorcycles back to Las Vegas after stops at Hoover Dam and the Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City.

A person whom police identified as an anonymous witness provided video showing three men wearing Hells Angels attire riding up to the Vagos group — including one who appeared to have an object in his left hand — before shots were fired.

Police said “multiple” spent bullet casings were found strewn for more than a mile along the freeway.

It was not clear from the police narrative if anyone in the Vagos group fired weapons, or if all the people who were reported injured received gunshot wounds.

Two were hospitalized in critical condition, according to a police statement issued Monday that said a seventh person involved in the shooting arrived at a hospital with injuries that were not considered life-threatening.

Police on Tuesday did not provide an update of the conditions of the injured.

John L. Smith, a contributor for KNPR's State of Nevada, said there wasn't any apparent motive. The two groups have a long history of "not getting along" and "no one gets along with the Hells Angels."

The Nevada chapter of Hells Angels began in 1948, and developed a reputation through the 1960s. 

"They have been found by authorities over the years, of course, associated with everything from drug dealing, and white slavery to narcotic trafficking and the like," John L. Smith said.

He called it a lot more of a complicated subculture than what's portrayed in popular culture. 

"This is a group that keeps a Facebook page in Las Vegas. If you look at that page, you'll see barbecues, you'll see socializing, you will see members and associates riding their motorcycles very fast," John L. Smith said. "Now these aren't folks out for a Sunday trot. These are people who like to ride their motorcycles 100 mph. And there aren't a whole lot of folks, despite what you might have experienced on the freeway, who like to ride motorcycles that fast."

Devries, 66; Russell Smith, 46; and Alo, 26, remained jailed on $380,000 bail pending court appearances on multiple attempted murder, conspiracy, battery and weapon charges.

Jail and court records did not immediately reflect court dates or if the men had attorneys who could speak on their behalf. Several attorneys who have represented Hells Angels and Vagos members in criminal cases in Las Vegas in recent years did not immediately respond to messages from The Associated Press.

The freeway remained closed for more five hours during an investigation also involving Las Vegas and Boulder City police and the Nevada Highway Patrol, according to the Henderson police reports.

Police said video obtained Sunday morning at a coffee shop in Boulder City and later from a dashboard camera of a police vehicle on a highway in Boulder City showed Devries, Russell Smith and Alo among “multiple members of the Hells Angels ... prior to the shooting call.”

Cellphone GPS location data put the three men together on U.S. 95 after the shooting, the reports said.

John L. Smith, contributor, State of Nevada

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Kristen DeSilva (she/her) is the audience engagement specialist for Nevada Public Radio. She curates and creates content for, our weekly newsletter and social media for Nevada Public Radio and Desert Companion.