After a fierce shootout last year in Chino Valley between members of the Hells Angels and rival bikers the Vagos, it seems a turf battle is brewing. Could Phoenix be a future battleground?
It was a peaceful Saturday morning like any other for Terrance and Judy Schafman – that is, until the outlaw biker gun battle erupted across the street.
Like most of their immediate neighbors in the sparse high-desert town of Chino Valley, Arizona, the Schafmans were familiar with the two-story stucco house opposite their multi-acre property on Yuma Drive. How could they not be? For many years, it was a well-trafficked Hells Angels hangout. Members of the colorfully named Skull Valley chapter, which was the Angels’ main garrison in north-central Arizona until disbanding in 2006, used it as their clubhouse. A biker still lived there, but he was ailing and infirm, tethered to oxygen tanks and a motorized scooter. The house – which once roared with all-night bacchanals and fleets of hard-revving Harleys – had been silent for years.
Less well known to the good people of Yuma Drive were the occupants of a house about 300 yards down the road. Michael Diecks and his wife, Leslie, had recently moved into the single-family home with their three children – an unremarkable arrangement if not for the fact that Diecks, also known as “Mad Dog Mike,” was a full-patch member of the Vagos motorcy