April 10, 2006

Canada police charge five in biker mass murders

By Cameron French

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian police charged five people on
Monday after the worst mass murder in Ontario's history and
said the killings were likely the result of an internal dispute
of a biker gang.

The eight bodies were found on Saturday on a farm outside
Shedden, Ontario, a sleepy town roughly midway between Toronto
and Detroit.

Police said the victims were all either full members or
associates of the Bandidos gang. They had been shot dead.

Police have charged five people, including one local
Bandidos gang member, with first-degree murder.

Speculation that the deaths were gang-related increased on
Sunday after police raided the nearby home of the Bandidos
member later arrested. However, the police dismissed early
speculation that the deaths were part of a dispute with the
rival Hells Angels gang.

"This is an isolated incident with ties to the Bandidos,"
Ontario Provincial Police superintendent Ross Bingley told a
news conference in nearby London, Ontario.

"We are confident that the public safety for area residents
has not been compromised."

One officer suggested the crime could have stemmed from an
"internal cleansing" of the gang.

The case shocked the rural Ontario region where the bodies
were found and fueled fears about biker turf wars and related
drug trade in a country with a relatively low crime rate.

The Hells Angels issued a statement on its Web site,
distancing themselves from the murders.

Police said they were still investigating and suggested the
men may not have been killed where they had been found. They
would not speculate whether there might be more arrests.

They would not say if the victims had been held captive
before they were killed, but noted that the charge of
first-degree murder implies either deliberate planning or
forceful confinement.