Hells Angel Chad Wilson got nervous when he noticed the ball cap of “a big burly dude” entering the convenience store where he was looking at souvenir fridge magnets.
The hat said “F — k the other team” and he knew right away that the man was from the rival Outlaw motorcycle gang.
The message on the hat was “directed towards us,” Wilson would later testify at his trial for attempted murder. “It’s about the Hells Angels.”
Wilson, who was found murdered in Maple Ridge on Sunday, and his biker buddy John Midmore were in South Dakota for the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in August 2006 when they decided to take a drive around the area in Wilson’s pickup.
They stopped at Legion Lake Resort in Custer State Park because Midmore was hungry.
Wilson later testified that when he saw the Outlaws there, “I nearly shit my pants.”
Postmedia News has obtained transcripts of Wilson’s 2008 testimony at the trial, after which a jury acquitted him and Midmore — both Canadians — of attempted murder.
But Wilson later pleaded guilty to being an alien in illegal possession of a firearm and was sentenced to four years in prison.
The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team has said it is looking into Wilson’s past for a possible motive for his slaying.
Evidence from his U.S. trial lays out the deep hatred between the two biker gangs.
Wilson testified that after seeing the Outlaws, he wanted to get out of the store and leave the park as soon as possible.
He turned his head away from them as he walked past, hoping they wouldn’t notice his Hells Angels death head tattoo which were “plain as day, like a billboard for the Hells Angels.”
He hopped into the passenger side of his white Ford F350 and took a bite out of an ice cream sandwich Midmore had bought him before heading off to use the washroom.
“I was just sitting there waiting for John to come out of the restroom,” Wilson testified.
“Right out of the side of the trees, here comes Outlaws. And at the time, it looks like they are walking towards the front of the truck and I freaked out.
“The first thing I did was grabbed my gun and put it in my waistband.”
Midmore showed up and they tried to get out of the parking lot, but the road was busy and they had to wait for a break in the traffic.
The rival Outlaws came up to them, he said. One of them who was later identified as Nathan Frasier was in front of the truck.
“As soon as the truck pulled ahead, he looked like a deer in the headlights and he reached and dropped the gun from his waistband. All I did was lift up my shirt so they could see the gun. And go whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.”
Wilson got out of the truck as he saw Frasier pick up his gun.
“All hell broke lose,” he testified. “There was a flash of light and then sound and I just bent down. I racked my gun and as I came up to start shooting, I was shooting back at him.”
He managed to get back in the truck where Midmore was ducking down and attempting to steer.
“So I grabbed the wheel, put my foot on top of his, hit the gas and off we went,” Wilson said. “That’s what really happened that day.”
He admitted to bringing both rifles and handguns to the biker party, storing some in a secret compartment in his truck so “I could get some guys together and we could go out shooting.”
After the shootout, Wilson’s truck was found abandoned on a logging road with a .40 calibre gun magazine, three .40 calibre semi-automatic pistols and ammunition inside.
Five people on the Outlaws side were wounded, including Danny Neace, who was paralyzed from the waist down.
Neace and several other Outlaws were later convicted of plotting to fight other Hells Angels in Michigan a few days before the Custer park shootout.
Wilson testified that when he saw the Outlaws that day, “I was terrified.”
“There were nine of them and two of us,” he said. “Like being in the Hells Angels, you are always aware of the Outlaw issue. It’s a huge issue in our club.”
The Outlaws advertise on their Canadian website that they’ve opened a “prospective chapter” in B.C. But police don’t consider that the HA rivals have any real membership or influence in this province.
In Alberta, however, the Outlaws now have two chapters and there have been skirmishes between the two gangs.
Neither the Outlaws nor the Hells Angels responded to emailed requests for comment.