Two days before a motorcycle wash fundraiser in Bakersfield organized by the local chapter of the Hells Angels, Ricardo Viera received a text message from an affiliate of the Mongols, another decades-old motorcycle club — and one of the Angels' biggest rivals.
"Light-em-up," read the message sent from the phone of Eliseo Ray Miranda, recently released court documents say. He also texted Viera, a Mongols member, a photograph of an advertisement for the event.
On May 5, Miranda and two other Mongols affiliates — Christopher Clay Wilson and Arturo Desiderio — arrived at the motorcycle wash in the 3200 block of Buck Owens Boulevard in one vehicle, according to court documents. Viera, armed with a pump-action pistol grip shotgun, drove separately to the event and parked near them.
Minutes later, a confrontation ensued that left Viera dead and two others wounded. On June 1, Miranda, 45, Wilson, 40 and Desiderio, 37, were charged with crimes including multiple counts of attempted murder and gang participation.
Bail for each has been set at $1 million.
According to the documents, the events of May 5 unfolded as follows:
Miranda and Desiderio got out of a vehicle upon arriving at the motorcycle wash and brandished metal objects as they approached and challenged the Hells Angels gathered for the event.
They drew several Hells Angels into a gas station parking lot where Viera was waiting. Viera got out of his vehicle and fired into the crowd. A person at the wash then armed himself with a handgun and fired several rounds at Viera, killing the 56-year-old.
Miranda and Desiderio got back into the vehicle they arrived in and sped off with Wilson behind the wheel.
Police arrived to find Viera's body in the parking lot, and two others suffering from what officers described as minor injuries due to gunshot wounds. They suggested the incident could have been worse.
"There were approximately seven potential victims who were in the immediate (shot spread) of Viera's shotgun blast," police say in the documents.
Viera, struck multiple times, was lying on top of the shotgun. Several spent 9mm casings were near his body, as well as a shotgun shell and a cell phone that fell out of his right rear pocket.
Investigators learned about the text messages from Miranda after executing a search warrant on Viera's phone.
Shortly after the shooting, police received a call from a man who admitted to firing at Viera in self-defense. He told police the gun he used was in the saddlebag of his motorcycle parked in front of his residence.
Officers arrived at the residence, located the motorcycle and seized the gun. The documents say the man, who police have not identified, had numerous items consistent with being affiliated with the Hells Angels, but police have told The Californian the man is not an associate of the biker club.
The man was detained, but was not arrested or charged as witness statements and video evidence backed up his statement to police.
About 2 1/2 years ago, Viera had a highly publicized run-in with Hells Angels affiliates on Rosedale Highway.
In January 2016, two Hells Angels affiliates in a pickup followed Viera as he rode a motorcycle on Rosedale. When Viera stopped at a red light, one of the men pulled a knife and grabbed him.
Viera produced a knife of his own and twice stabbed the other man. Outnumbered, he then tried to get away by jumping onto the back of a passing pickup.
One of the Hells Angels affiliates entered a no contest plea to a misdemeanor assault charge. Charges were dropped against the other man.
Viera was not charged in the incident.