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Motorcycle gang suspected behind Gustine homicide

POSTED November 10, 2009 9:08 p.m.
A fight inside a Gustine bar involving suspected members of an outlaw motorcycle gang resulted in the death of a 33-year-old man.
The Merced County Sheriff’s Department said Bill James died from multiple stab wounds inflicted upon him by as many as eight to 10 men.
According to the sheriff’s department, the eight to 10 men entered the Gustine Club at 431 Fifth St. just before midnight Friday. Almost immediately the men approached James and started a fight. During the fight, one of the suspects sprayed the bar with a can of either mace or pepper spray to clear the bar out, said sheriff spokesman Deputy Tom MacKenzie.
Once the bar was empty of patrons the suspects started stabbing James repeatedly, MacKenzie said. The fight spilled out onto the street where James was again stabbed. He then succumbed to his injuries and collapsed. He was pronounced dead a short while later at Los Banos Hospital, MacKenzie said.
On Monday, five men were arrested in Stanislaus County on charges stemming from the homicide, MacKenzie said. The suspects identities and the name of the outlaw motorcycle gang have not been released out of the concern it would jeopardize the ongoing investigation, MacKenzie said.
A motive for the attack is still under investigation and it’s possible James was mistakenly targeted.
As part of the investigation, sheriff’s detectives and 50 law enforcement officers from surrounding departments went to the 13000 block of Highway 33 to the Hotel De Oro where 150 members, associates and guests of the motorcycle gang were having a rally. Arrested was Salvador Ochoa, 36 of La Habra, Calif. for possession of a concealed weapon while being active in a criminal street gang.
To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail sstafford@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.
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