Wednesday, September 3, 2008

SF Hells Angels Leader Shot Dead In The Mission

Head of Hells Angels in S.F. is shot to death

Jaxon Van Derbeken, Chronicle Staff Writer

Wednesday, September 3, 2008
(09-03) 18:03 PDT SAN FRANCISCO -- The president of the San Francisco chapter of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club was shot and killed Tuesday night after he lost a fight for his life with a rival on a Mission District street, police said Wednesday.

Mark "Papa" Guardado, 45, was shot at 10:30 p.m. Tuesday near 24th Street and Treat Avenue, about a mile from the group's clubhouse where he lived. He died at San Francisco General Hospital.

Witnesses told investigators that Guardado and the gunman struggled before the shooting.

"They had a wrestling match first," said Lt. Mike Stasko of the San Francisco police homicide detail. Then "the guy shot him, and he got on his motorcycle and left."

Police have made no arrests, but said one avenue they are exploring was that Guardado was fighting with a rival in another motorcycle group. "We're looking at all the options," Stasko said.

An attorney who was defending Guardado in a battery case in Sonoma County said he was "absolutely devastated" by the killing, and that "Mark was a wonderful human being."

"His friends loved him," said the attorney, Patrick Ciocca. "He really was an all-around good guy. There are hundreds, if not thousands of people who are going to miss him dearly."

Members of the Hells Angels at the group's clubhouse on Tennessee Street in the Dogpatch neighborhood of San Francisco declined to talk about the killing.

At the street corner where Guardado was shot, across from a bar and a nail salon, there was a makeshift memorial where someone had written in large, black letters, "R.I.P. Papa Frisco."

Nearby, others wrote "never forget" and "we will always love you." Five burned-out candles lay nearby.

Ciocca was unable to say how long Guardado had headed the local chapter. But he stressed that the Hells Angels had been unfairly harassed over the years by authorities who have raided the clubhouse in search of evidence that the group is a criminal enterprise.

"It's outlandish," Ciocca said.

The group's San Francisco chapter - or "Frisco," as its members call it - is the second-oldest Hells Angels club in the country, after Fontana in San Bernardino County. In 2004, it celebrated its 50th anniversary with a party that attracted about a thousand bikers from around the world...

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