Categories: Rally Date: Jul 25, 2011 Title: 3 Dead, 1 Hurt after shooting at Arizona motorcycle rallyThe 20th Annual "Too Broke for Sturgis" Rally near Flagstaff, AZ was just catching stride when deadly gun violence erupted. AllAboutBikes was at the July 23rd event to cover what is billed as an "old school" alternative to the Sturgis mega-rally. Things turned tragic in what is being investigated as a multiple homicide and suicide on the first night of rally.
The 20th Annual "Too Broke for Sturgis" Rally near Flagstaff, AZ was just catching stride when deadly gun violence erupted. AllAboutBikes was at the July 23rd event to cover what is billed as an "old school" alternative to the Sturgis mega-rally. Things turned tragic in what is being investigated as a multiple homicide and suicide on the first night of rally.
At approximately 11:20 on July 22nd, rally-goers heard multiple gunshots from a corner of the rally campground. One vendor told AAB that she first thought it was someone shooting fireworks because "it sounded like a bunch of firecrackers going off." It was soon discovered by nearby campers that four individuals had been shot.
The initial investigation by the Coconino County Sheriff's Department revealed that there were three individuals dead and one severely wounded. Follow-up investigation revealed that a married couple in their 40s had been killed. The victims were shot several times. Another man, the possible shooter, lay dead with a handgun near his body. A second woman is in critical condition.
Sheriff's detectives indicated in a press release that there is "the strong possibility" that the alleged shooter argued with another member of the camp over food and that may have prompted the shooting. Alcohol is being investigated as a factor in the violence.
The rally activities were suspended by the property owners of the venue and the event was cancelled. Rally vendors were told to pack up their wares and cease business.
The Mormon Lake Lodge, which is about 30 miles from Flagstaff, has been the rally's home for years. The future of the event is unclear.
ABATE (American Brotherhood Aimed Toward Education) is the event's organizing body. According to their website the group "is a volunteer organization that fights discriminatory legislation aimed towards the motorcycling community." The rally is also an AMA sanctioned event.
An ABATE staffer told AAB that this was a "tragic and isolated" occurrence. He said the violence had nothing to do with clubs, gangs or colors. He was worried that this violence would add more fuel to the anti-motorcycle sentiment in our society.
Most of the bikers packed up camp and headed out on Saturday after the shootings. Organizers said that those bikers who were already camping could stay, but the dark mood after the violence prompted most to leave.
One biker told AAB, "Who's in the mood for a party and wet T-shirt contest when people have been murdered?"