Warren man charged in biker slaying

WARREN TOWNSHIP — A Warren man was arrested Tuesday morning at his place of employment for his role in a double fatal shooting at a motorcycle club last summer.

James A. Gardner, 48, 197 Iowa Ave. NW, was charged in a secret indictment with one count of aggravated murder with a firearms specification and two counts of felonious assault, Trumbull County Common Pleas Court records show.  Warren Township police Chief Don Bishop said Gardner was arrested around 9:30 a.m. at the trucking company where he works. Warren city police assisted in the arrest.

“He did not resist,” Bishop said. “We made sure he was away from others.”

Gardner is at the Trumbull Counrty Jail and is due for arraignment this morning.

He is charged in connection to the June 18 shooting at Shorty’s Place off Highland Avenue SW, where a charity poker run hosted by the Forever Two Wheelz motorcycle club was taking place. A fight and subsequent shooting broke out when rival bikers from the Brothers Regime pulled into the parking lot.

Killed in the shooting were Brothers Regime members Jason “Foot” Moore, 41, and Robert “Chopper Bob” Marto, 54, both of Mecca. The indictment states Gardner fired the shot that killed Moore, who was shot in the head.

David Bailes Jr., 45, president of Forever Two Wheelz, was seriously injured in the shooting. He had been charged with two counts of murder several days after the shooting, but the charges were dismissed  Sept. 21 “due to defendant’s medical condition,” according to Warren Municipal Court records. It is unknown what his condition is. Warren Municipal Court prosecutor Gil Blair could not be reached for comment.

Also injured in the shootout was Walter Hughes, 41, 539 Kenilworth Ave. SE, Warren, and Andrew G. Claypool, 50, 1206 Rose Ave., Girard. Both were members of the Brothers Regime, and Gardner is accused of shooting them as well, the indictment states.

Gardner is a member of Forever Two Wheelz, according to Bishop.

On June 24, the headquarters of Forever Two Wheelz, 338 Chestnut St. NE, Warren, was boarded up because law enforcement officials said it was used to plan criminal gang activities on at least two occasions in the past year. At the time, Warren Law Director Greg Hicks said shutting down the club was part of the city’s ongoing operation “Operation Clean Sweep in Warren and was an effort to keep the neighborhood safe.

The city used a state law dealing with criminal gang activities that allows municipalities to close down facilities when people gather together under a common theme. A search warrant was executed at the headquarters several days before the board-up, where Hicks said police found items that indicated there was criminal activity taking place there.

Hicks said various types of guns were found at the Chestnut Street address.

rsmith@tribtoday.com

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