ALBANY — A feud between rival biker gang associates apparently triggered a brazen shootout at an underground private lounge in Albany over the weekend that left a 29-year-old military veteran dead and six others wounded.
The shooting incident that rocked a neighborhood Saturday night two blocks north of Central Avenue on the edge of West Hill underscored what some law enforcement officials fear could be increasing tensions between a proliferation of biker gangs that have recently formed in the region, and others that have made a resurgence.
Court records and interviews with law enforcement officials indicate the shooting began after a fight outside the lounge at the corner of Elk Street and North Lake Avenue. The lounge, which city officials said was operating without a permit, is apparently a hangout for members of Suicide Squad, a local biker club. Police who executed a search warrant at the club noted in arrest reports that the location is a “Suicide Squad Club House.”
Law enforcement sources said their investigation is focusing on whether individuals with ties to the Pagans Motorcycle Club allegedly went to the location because of an earlier incident in which they believed someone associated with another gang had insulted them by screeching a tire in their direction. There also was information that the club’s patrons had organized a social event there that same evening.
The shootout involved at least three firearms. A 9mm handgun with a round still in the chamber and a homemade 9mm ghost gun – neither with serial numbers – were seized by police after they obtained a search warrant and found the illegal weapons tucked under a mattress inside the back of the club at 117 N. Lake Ave.
Ten people, ranging in age from 29 to 54, who were inside the club all were arrested on felony weapons charges based on the two handguns that were seized. Seven of those arrested list addresses in Troy. Three others arrested live in Albany, Schenectady and Ballston Spa.