Casinos, law enforcement plan for next year's River Run

The Laughlin River Run will continue next year, and representatives from the casinos and law enforcement plan to prevent the recurrence of a melee took three lives two Saturdays ago.

"The good news is we began planning for next year immediately following this year's event, so we have 12 months to find and implement the best solutions possible, and whatever can be done will be done," said Andre Carrier, president of the Laughlin Tourism Committee.

Carrier, chief operating officer and vice president of the Golden Nugget, said it is too early to discuss what measures the nine casinos will take at the 21st annual River Run next April.

However, Sgt.

Chuck Jones of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said casinos might consider installing metal detectors and barring bikers who display colors that identify them as being members of gangs.

"We're looking at a lot of different possible scenarios in the future," Jones said.

"We're looking at possibilities about talking to the (casino) properties about excluding motorcycle gangs.

It's not up to us.

It is up to (the casinos).

"We will enforce the law when we recognize people as being with an organized crime group," Jones said, referring to outlaw biker gangs.

"We would like this to be a very pleasant environment.

We are not going to tolerate any biker gangs having personal conflicts with each other."

Jones said he knew in advance of this year's River Run that the Hells Angels and Mongols were at war, adding, "We did not expect them to start killing each other."

Three bikers died during a melee between the Hells Angels and the Mongols early April 27 at Harrah's Laughlin Hotel & Casino.

Videotapes show bedlam on the casino floor near Rosa's Cantina as about 100 motorcycle gang members fought with guns, knives, wrenches, hammers, chairs, fists and feet.

A judge in Las Vegas agreed Tuesday to let an Arizona biker go free on bail while awaiting trial in a brawl between the gangs.

Calvin Brett Schaefer, 32, was charged Tuesday with 13 felonies, including conspiracy, attempted murder and gang murder in the melee.

Jones, other law enforcement officers and event boosters said in advance of the River Run that a vast majority of the motorcyclists are law-abiding citizens who flock to the River Run to have fun.

The five-day River Run draws 80,000 to 100,000 motorcyclists who also fill Kingman motel rooms and patronize other businesses.

Despite the melee, the event would "absolutely" take place next year, Carrier said.

"Certainly, you cannot let the conduct of people with poor intentions affect the enjoyment of the people who come to Laughlin and have come to Laughlin for this event for years," he said.

Duff Taylor, president of the Laughlin Chamber of Commerce, concurred.

"On behalf of the many businesses that are members of the chamber, we want to support the Laughlin River Run, we want to support the resort community and we want to work to make sure that we improve the safety for the public," he said.

Jill McCoomber, the Bullhead City-based press coordinator for the River Run, could not be reached for comment.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.