Hells Angels club members, supporters indicted in 'vicious' hate crime attack in San Diego

A San Diego County Grand Jury on Monday indicted several members of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club and their supporters for hate crimes in what prosecutors call a racially motivated attack on three Black men in a California neighborhood this summer.

The three victims - ages 19, 20 and 21 - were chased and “viciously” attacked in the San Diego neighborhood of Ocean Beach on June 6, according to the county's district attorney’s office. The three men were repeatedly called a racial slur and told they didn’t belong in the neighborhood, according to prosecutors.

In all, 17 people were indicted in the attack. They all entered pleas of not guilty Monday during their arraignments on an array of charges that carry possible sentences ranging from three years to life in prison.

“In San Diego County, we cannot, and will not tolerate violence and racism of any nature, much less crimes like this hateful, vicious, and unprovoked attack,” said San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan in a statement.

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The three men were attacked “virtually out of nowhere," possibly because one of them spoke to a biker's girlfriend, according to the San Diego County District Attorney's office.

The mob beat one of the victims “all over his body” and knocked him unconscious after sucker-punching him in the head, prosecutors said in a statement. The second man was kicked and punched by multiple attackers. As he lay curled up on the ground, Hells Angels leader Troy Scholder pulled out a knife and stabbed him in the chest, cracking his sternum, according to prosecutors, who added that Scholder “casually” folded up the blade and walked away.

Both of the injured men survived their injuries.

“These disgusting hate-driven attacks have no place in our community,” Police Chief David Nisleit said in a statement. “There is no stronger way to condemn this violence than to hold the perpetrators accountable to the fullest force of the law.”

On Sept. 5, a grand jury issued indictments against 14 people for assault likely to cause great bodily injury and for gang affiliation. Eleven were charged with committing a hate crime. Three more defendants were indicted for helping Scholder flee the scene to the Hells Angels Clubhouse in El Cajon.

All 17 people were arrested on Sept. 21. Police officials said they also seized 42 illegal firearms and illicit drugs.

If convicted, they face a range of three years to life in prison. A hearing is scheduled for Nov. 3 and a trial is set for Nov. 14.

The district attorney’s office described the Hells Angels as an “international outlaw” motorcycle gang with an active chapter in San Diego and all across California. They have at least five support or “puppet clubs” in the region, according to the district attorney's office press statement.

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The Hells Angels Motorcycle Club was founded in 1948 in the Fontana and San Bernardino area of Los Angeles County, according the motorcycle club's website. The club expanded to the East Coast in the early 1960s, and eventually internationally beginning with a chapter in Auckland, New Zealand.

Contributing: Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Mob of Hells Angels attack three men in hate crime in San Diego