Hells Angels Speak on Loss of SF Leader
YO! Youth Outlook Multimedia, Commentary//, Vanessa Vega Posted: Oct 29, 2008
Editor's Note: The murder of San Francisco Hells Angel president Mark "Papa" Guardado in September brought out the biggest biker procession the Bay Area has ever seen. Now, almost two months later, rival motorcycle club the Mongols - a member of which is now awaiting trial for Guardado's murder - is facing mass arrests by the federal government in the U.S. and Canada under a federal racketeering indictment. YO! Youth Outlook Multimedia content producer Vanessa Vaga, 17, attended Guardado's funeral and was one of the only media to talk to members of the Hells Angels about the murder.
SAN FRANCISCO -- Tuesday September 2nd, 2008 became one of the most devastating nights for friends and family members of Mark “Papa” Guardado, Sr., 46, the president of San Francisco’s chapter of the Hells Angels motorcycle club. Papa had gotten into a fist fight at a bar in the Mission District and was shot several times. Papa died shortly after at San Francisco's General Hospital. Everyone suspected that his killer was a member of the rival motorcycle club, the Mongols.
Papa was very close to my mother, though I didn't know him very well personally - he was someone who was in my life.
VIDEO: Mark "Papa" Guardado's family and friends talk about who he was and footage from the Hells Angel procession. Guardado's family and friends asked that their faces not be shown.
When Papa died, there was a lot of news and hearsay about Papa and the Hells Angels. First of all, this group is a brotherhood, not a gang, but people who all share the love for riding motorcycles. The Hells Angels are known to handle stuff the old fashion way - not using guns, knives or guns to win a battle - only when its necessary.
The reason I chose to do this story is because, even though I didn’t know Papa on a personal level, I felt the pain friends and family members were feeling. Even though the Hells Angels members don't usually speak to the media, they wanted to let the world know what he was really like.
His friends and family said that Papa was a man of his word - a great father, friend, brother and mentor to fellow members of the Hells Angels. A man of honor, loyalty, love and respect. He was always there to lend a helping hand to everyone. They said he was a kind giving man with a unique sense of humor and died for what he believed in.
I felt honored to attended Papa’s funeral with family members of mine that knew and respected him. I stood in disbelief as I saw thousands of motorcycles gathered around Duggan’s Mortuary in Daly City, not including the hundreds of people there. Hells Angel’s members from different chapters all around the world such as Germany, Canada and Australia attended the funeral. Different motorcycle clubs came and paid their respects as well. Police from three different cities sat around the perimeter.
Shortly after the service, it was time to take Papa for his “last ride.” The motorcycle procession was out of this world - what SFPD says to be the largest they’ve seen in the Bay Area - with some 2000 riders in attendance. All that was heard was motorcycle mufflers and all that was seen was leather vests from Duggan’s Mortuary through Portola up Dolores to Cypress Lawn Cemetery where Papa was laid to rest.
Shortly after Papa’s death the SFPD put out a $5 million arrest warrant for suspected murderer Christopher Ablett. Three weeks after Papa’s funeral, Ablett turned himself into a Bartlesville County police station in Oklahoma, where he is now awaiting his November court date.
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