2nd motorcycle club member charged in fatal Warren gun fight
By Ed Runyan
Police have charged a second member of the Forever Two Wheelz motorcycle club with murder in the June 18 shootout at Shorty’s Place, a Highland Avenue, Warren Township, bar.
Meanwhile, charges against David H. Bailes Jr., 45, the president of the club, were dismissed in Warren Municipal Court in September because of his poor medical condition, The Vindicator has learned.
Two members of the Brothers Regime motorcycle club died and two others were injured in the fight.
James A. Gardner, 48, of Iowa Avenue Northwest, was arrested at his job without incident Tuesday morning and was taken to the Trumbull County Jail. He will be arraigned this morning before Judge W. Wyatt McKay of Trumbull County Common Pleas Court. A grand jury secretly indicted Gardner on Monday on one count of aggravated murder and two counts of felonious assault, all with specifications that he used a gun.
Warren Township Police Chief Don Bishop announced Gardner’s arrest at the Warren Police Department on Tuesday. Warren and Warren Township police have worked together on the investigation.
Bishop said Gardner was a shooter in the incident, and the felonious assault charges pertain to the shootings of two members of the Brothers Regime who survived.
He’s accused of killing Jason C. Moore, 41, of Bristolville and wounding Andrew G. Claypool, 50, of Girard, and Walter M. Hughes, 41, of Warren, all members of the Brothers Regime.
The other member of the Brothers Regime who died was Robert A. Marto, 54, of Cortland.
Bishop and Warren Detective Robert Massucci said they were not able to discuss why Gardner is now charged or the specifics of his role in the gunfight.
Bailes, of Leavittsburg, was charged with two counts of murder in the fight. But according to a Sept. 23 entry in Warren Municipal Court, the murder charges were dismissed because of his medical condition.
Authorities have said they didn’t expect Bailes to survive the gun injuries he suffered in the fight, but he is reportedly still alive.
Bailes was president of Forever Two Wheels, police said. Marto was president of the Brothers Regime.
Massucci has said it appears about 10 members of each club were at the bar June 18 when Bailes and members of the Brothers Regime were seen arguing in the front doorway. About 30 gunshots rang out soon afterward.
Massucci said witnesses say the dispute appears to have been related to the desire of FTW members to receive the “official blessing” of other Warren-area clubs. Such acknowledgement helps increase the reputation of a newer club such as FTW, Massucci said.
The Brothers Regime, which is more established and better known than FTW, refused to give that “blessing,” Massucci said, which was viewed as a sign of disrespect.
Furthermore, the two clubs had been in conflict in the recent years, with FTW member Charles V. Moorhead, 37, of Warren, being sentenced to three years in prison for shooting three Brothers Regime members at the Powerhouse bar on Aug. 30, 2012.
Massucci said the seriousness of the Shorty’s gunfight and manpower shortage in the Warren Township Police Department caused Warren police to offer the help of several of its investigators and to take the lead in the case, despite it occurring in Warren Township.