An ex-Hillsborough County Firefighter, who is also the President of the Outlaws motorcycle club, took several bullets Tuesday in what authorities are calling an apparent turf war between rival motorcycle gangs.
James Costa’s shooting happened a mere two days after an ABC News investigative team uncovered a rise in local violence between enemy motorcycle clubs.
ABC News reports residents of a local mobile-home park were stunned when a bleeding man came running through the park pleading for help.
“I heard 2 gunshots — then there was a pause — then three or four more gunshots,” an unidentified resident tells ABC News.
Citing fear for his own safety, another resident tells ABC News Costa believes it was a hit.
“He said he thought he’d been targeted,” the resident, who wants to remain anonymous, tells ABC News.
Costa may be right. Authorities allege the Outlaws are trying to expand their turf.
“We believe that it’s primarily associated with the Outlaws attempting to establish dominance or maintain dominance,” Capt. Mike Jenkins from the Pasco Sheriff’s Office tells ABC News.
Although authorities have categorized the Outlaws as a criminal gang, ABC News reports the club has more ties to Hillsborough County.
Sources for ABC News say Clint Walker, a Hillsborough county firefighter and paramedic, responded to the scene after Costa was shot.
Walker was a known Outlaws member before Hillsborough County passed an anti- gang policy following previous investigations by ABC News.
Sources tell ABC News when deputies attempted to take Costa’s colors — he refused to give it to them, and instead gave his Outlaw’s leather vest to Walker.
Walker tells ABC News he’s no longer with the Outlaws, and Costa is like family to him — he wouldn’t expand further.
ABC News reports officials from Hillsborough Fire Rescue refused to comment saying, once they receive the full sheriff’s report, they will review if Walker broke any policies by taking Costa’s vest.
ABC News reports police are investigating whether Costa was targeted in the shooting.
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