A Brief History
On April 8, 2006, the bodies of 8 people murdered by gunshot wounds were found in a field a couple of miles (5 kilometers for the metric oriented) North of Shedden, Ontario, Canada, an event labeled as the “Shedden Massacre.” The bodies were found inside 4 cars by the local farmer. (If you were a fan of Sons of Anarchy on television, perhaps you have a bit of a clue as to the nature of motorcycle clubs.)
Canada, a particularly friendly nation (as this author can attest, having gone there probably close 100 times over the years) is not known for mass murders or mass shootings, but like all countries, sometimes bad things happen, even if they are unusual.
In the case of the Shedden Massacre, the very next day after the discovery of the bodies 5 people were arrested for the murders, including a member of the Bandidos motorcycle gang. Another 3 persons were arrested in connection with murders 2 months later. The provocative name given to the incident, The Shedden Massacre, probably should have been called “The Iona Station Massacre” as that particular hamlet is the one closer to where the bodies were found.
The Ontario Provincial Police assured local residents that the incident was related to competition between rival motorcycle gangs (or clubs if you will), those being the Bandidos (Texas, established 1966, with chapters in 22 countries) and the Annihilators (St. Thomas, Ontario, a much smaller outfit than the Bandidos). It must be noted that the Bandidos have a motto, “We are the people our parents warned us about.” This motto is what we call “a clue.” Considering themselves a “one percenter” club, the Bandidos acknowledge the fact that they are not part of the “99% of motorcycle owners/riders that obey the laws,” or in other words, a self-described “outlaw” club. In Canada, the Montreal based Rock Machine Motorcycle Club merged with the Bandidos in 2000. The Toronto, Ontario, Canada chapter became defunct after the Shedden Massacre.
The history of rivalry and animosity between the motorcycle clubs goes back to the 1960’s and even further in the past, with incidents of violence between rival clubs all over the world, including such well known MC Clubs such as the Hell’s Angels and the Outlaws. Various changing alliances and mergers occur with often tense relationships over “territory” or “turf.” The rival clubs often take great offense at shifting loyalties and when some members “shift patches” or “patchover” by joining a rival club. The situation in Ontario in the early 2000’s finds several clubs and larger organizations in fierce competition for members and control of territory, ongoing tension that threatened to spill over into a gang war. The history of the inter-club conflict is long and convoluted, so we will avoid protracted discussion of the ongoing war between clubs. (Further details can be found at “The Bandido Massacre,” an account we found online.)
On April 8, 2006, when the 8 murdered bikers were found, each had a bullet hole in the head, killed execution style. The victims were members of the No Surrender Crew based in Toronto, believed to be those affiliated with the Bandidos that were in competition with another faction of the Bandidos based in Winnipeg for control of the club. The alleged murderers were associated with the Hell’s Angels gang and the Winnipeg branch of the Bandidos. The massacre was preceded by a meeting set up between the rival factions, basically a ruse used to set up the victims for an ambush. After an initial abbreviated shoot out, 2 victims were down and the other No Surrender members were held at gunpoint while laying on the ground, told that they were to have their “patches pulled” on order of the larger organization based in the United States. Instead of merely pulling the patches, the victims were executed.
After the investigation and trials, 6 men were convicted of the murders, varying from 8 counts to 6 counts per convict. All appeals by those convicted of the massacre (so far) have failed and they sit in prison, presumably for life.
While Canada certainly ranks as a country we do not associate with murder and crime, the fact that people are people means that there will virtually always be bad apples in any place where people live, and atrocities such as the Shedden Massacre will happen, even in Canada. As we often quote, “People are no damn good!” What do you think?
UPDATE, April 22, 2020: On April 18-19, 2020, a 51 year old resident of Nova Scotia, Canada, went on a shooting rampage that left 22 victims dead. The shooter, who had made up his SUV to look like an RCMP police vehicle and had donned an RCMP look-alike uniform prior to the shooting gunned down defenseless victims that apparently did not have or at least did not use firearms to defend themselves. When police finally caught up with the mass murderer, a shootout ensued and the murderer was killed. One of the victims fatally shot was an RCMP veteran of 23 years, the mother of 2 children. In a typical display of political buffoonery, Justin Trudeau, the Canadian Prime Minister, vowed to create new and stricter gun control measures, including an “assault weapons” ban. This before he and we even knew what kind of guns the shooter used and how those guns had been obtained.
Question for students (and subscribers): Have you been to Canada? What do you like best about the country? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
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For more information, please see…
Arvast, Anita. Bloody Justice: The Truth Behind the Bandido Massacre at Shedden. Audible Studios, 2012.
Edwards, Peter. Bandido Massacre: A True Story of Bikers, Brotherhood and Betrayal. Harper Perennial, 2010.
The featured image in this article, a photograph by P199 of Shedden, Ontario, Canada, is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.