A Spokane Hells Angels leader is in jail after an early Saturday shooting left one man dead and another critically injured.
Shortly before 2 a.m., a fight broke out at the Comet Tavern on North Market and a dozen or more people spilled outside, said bartender Lori Johnson. A few seconds later, three shots were fired and two men were writhing on the sidewalk.
Timothy Gail Myers, 42, a founding member of the Spokane chapter of the Hells Angels, was arrested after witnesses identified him as the gunman.
“It was a mess in here,” said Johnson, who has worked at the Hillyard tavern nearly four months. “Bar stools were flying, fists were swinging, teeth, hair, everything.”
One of the victims died at a nearby hospital, police said. The other man was listed in critical condition late Saturday. Police refused to release their names.
It was the 21st homicide in Spokane so far in 1995 - a record year for murders.
When police first showed up at Market and Queen, about 30 people were standing around Myers as he lay in the street. Several were kicking and punching him, police said.
Myers suffered “facial bruises, lacerations and sore ribs, but no fractures,” a police spokesman said.
After being examined at a hospital, he was booked into the Spokane County Jail for second-degree murder and first-degree assault.
The tavern has been a hangout for various rival bikers, including members of the Hells Angels and Gypsy Jokers and independents, according to law enforcement sources.
The bartender on duty Saturday, however, said two women started fighting first, after one got mad at the other for saying “something about her old man.”
She swung a chair at the other woman before Johnson could step in and break up the fight, she said. Angry, one of the women walked to the door to leave and a group of men started arguing. Within minutes the men were throwing punches and Johnson ordered them out, she said.
“Half the bar cleared out of here,” Johnson said. “Then I heard the gunshots and called the cops.”
Myers, who works for Burlington Northern railroad, has served as secretary-treasurer and sergeant-at-arms for the local Hells Angels chapter.
The Spokane chapter has fewer than a dozen members, but almost all of them have had run-ins with the law.
Myers was arrested earlier this year after a disturbance broke out in the cocktail lounge at Cavanaugh’s River Inn, 700 N. Division.
He was wearing his Hells Angels “death-skull” emblem on a jacket at the time and became angry when police officers photographed the patch.
Police also took a handgun from Myers, who at one time had a concealed weapons permit.
Myers and three fellow Hells Angels members - Donald Rapp, Evan Barton and Robert Peldo - unsuccessfully sued two Spokane restaurants earlier this year for not allowing bikers to wear gang patches inside.
Two years ago, Myers and seven other Hells Angels were arrested in Coeur d’Alene as they were en route to a summer biker rally in Sturgis, S.D.
Myers was charged then with carrying a 9mm semiautomatic handgun, court records show.
“He was one of the nicer ones in the bunch,” one law enforcement expert on the Spokane Hells Angels said of Myers.