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This article was published 10/7/2011 (3523 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Witnesses say they saw two men throw Molotov cocktails at a St. Mary's Road auto dealership early Sunday morning -- a business that police identified last year as the site of a biker beating.
A young couple was parked at the 7-Eleven across St. Mary's Road from the DC Automotive car dealership when the woman said she saw two men running by the dealership with "fireballs, for lack of a better word, in their hands."
The Free Press is not identifying the couple out of concern for their safety.
One man threw a Molotov cocktail through the office windows of the dealership, where it started a fire, they said.
The other man threw a Molotov cocktail against one of the large glass receiving doors of the garage, but it bounced off and burned on the pavement, the male witness said.
The young man said the two men were wearing bandanas, but beyond that it was tough to make out who they were in the dark.
Shortly after the attack, the two witnesses saw a truck speed furiously away from the dealership.
"It was like out of a movie," the young woman said.
Fire crews arrived within minutes and extinguished the fire, said a spokesman for the Winnipeg Fire and Paramedic Service on Sunday.
Winnipeg Police Service issued a statement Sunday that said firefighters arrived at 12:20 a.m. and quickly extinguished the fire, that there were no injuries and the Winnipeg police arson unit is investigating.
"The cause is undetermined at this time and the Winnipeg police arson unit is investigating. No further information is available at this time," said the news release.
The police public information office was not open Sunday, and police did not hold a news conference.
In January 2010, police filed affadavits in court naming the auto dealership as the site of the first violent confrontation between the Hells Angels and Rock Machine.
Police said last year the Redlined Support Crew made their first big impression in Winnipeg in January 2010 when they allegedly lured a Rock Machine member to the shop and then attacked him.
The Hells Angels created the Redlined Support Crew last year to stand up to other criminal networks that might take advantage of the Angels' weakness following a string of arrests that resulted from three undercover police operations.
The victim in that alleged beating refused to co-operate with police.
Damage was clearly visible to the auto dealership Sunday morning.
Half of the windows of the office portion of DC Automotive were broken. Shards of glass covered the pavement and one of the used cars for sale, though most of the 20 cars in the lot appeared to be undamaged.
The broken windows of the business were boarded up Sunday but there were several charred Yellow Pages books out on the curb.
Part of the ceiling of the office had been ripped out and metal struts were visible. Melted insulation sat on the floor of the office, where it had fallen down.
-- With files from Trevor Hagan and Mike McIntyre
Rock Machine clash
WINNIPEG Police Service told the courts early last year the showdown between the Hells Angels and Rock Machine began in January of 2010 when the Hell's Angels-affiliate Redlined Support Crew lured a member of the Rock Machine to a St. Mary's Road auto dealership and beat him. That same buiding was set afire early Sunday morning.
Justice officials publicly admitted July 4 for the first time what has become obvious to many citizens -- tensions are high on Winnipeg's biker front. "There's a gang war going on," Crown attorney Mike Desautels told provincial court Associate Chief Judge Mary Kate Harvie. "It has reached a fever pitch."
Here are some recent incidents that police suspect are biker-related:
-- Joseph Strachan, the Rock Machine's president, had his Winnipeg home shot up June 27.
A St. Vital-area home belonging to Strachan's parents was hit with gunfire and Molotov cocktails the following night. There were no injuries and no arrests have been made.
-- Desautels said a member of the Redlined gang was also targeted June 29 when a "flare" was shot through the window of his home.
A loaded, sawed-off rifle was found lying in a residential area on Kingston Row June 29 after possibly being used in an ongoing biker war.
-- Police are investigating whether two other recent shootings are linked to the ongoing hostilities. A 14-year-old boy was wounded early on July 4 after a townhouse on Taft Crescent in Lord Roberts was sprayed with gunfire. Police said the boy is lucky to be alive and may have been an innocent bystander. There were nine people inside the residence at the time, including a baby. No arrests have been made. Members of the organized crime unit are investigating.
-- Last November, a former associate of the Hells Angels was shot execution-style inside his own home. No arrests have been made in the slaying of Daniel Kachkan, which was believed to have been connected to Kachkan's alleged role in a previous homicide. Police distributed an internal memo around the time of the killing, warning that members of the Rock Machine motorcycle gang are believed to be armed and may be planning attacks against those affiliated with the Hells Angels.
-- with files from Mike McIntyre