PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The trucker targeted last month by the local president of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club went on to finish a delivery for his employer with a bullet hole in his vehicle, a newly released search warrant reveals.
On June 12, members of the state police intelligence unit were tipped off to a “felony assault with a firearm that occurred outside the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club clubhouse” on Messer Street in Providence, according to the affidavit for the search warrant.
Police say they were told the president of the club, Joseph Lancia, fired one round at the passenger side of a Mack truck that was being driven by Richard Starnino.
Detectives then tracked down Starnino, who drove to the state police barracks in Lincoln, where they saw “a bullet hole in the passenger side pillar between the front windshield and passenger side window.” They also found “a projectile resting on a portion of the vehicle’s undercarriage on the passenger side.”
Starnino told detectives earlier in the day he was turning onto Messer Street to make a delivery for his employer when he saw Lancia remove a “silver firearm from the small of his back and fire one round into the passenger side of the vehicle.”
“Starnino said he did not stop after the shooting and proceeded to make his work delivery to the area of Broad Street in the City of Providence,” according to the affidavit.
The affidavit reveals Starnino was a “former prospect” of the motorcycle club, and “there has been an ongoing dispute between them that led” Starnino to leave the Hells Angels.
The search warrant reveals state police had been keeping tabs on the clubhouse using “static electronic surveillance,” which is most commonly a hidden camera usually located on a telephone pole. The video confirmed Starnino’s story, according to the affidavit.
Based on the information, the state police asked a judge for what’s called a “no knock” search warrant, where police can enter a building with little or no warning. Detectives wrote they were concerned anyone inside the clubhouse would “attempt to dispose of evidence while members of law enforcement are executing the search warrant.”
Search warrant in hand, state police surrounded the Messer Street building later that day, and demanded anyone on the inside to come out. They eventually used a vehicle called a BearCat to forcibly enter the building by ramming in the front door.
Lancia, 28, was arrested that day and later indicted on charges of assault with the intent to commit murder, assault with a dangerous weapon, discharging a firearm while committing a crime of violence, and carrying a pistol without a permit.
Two associates were also indicted on charges that stemmed from the findings of the search warrant.
Lance R. Imor, 54, of West Warwick, was charged with possession of a schedule II controlled substance (methamphetamine), compounding and concealing a felony, and misprision (concealment) of a felony. The state police have identified Imor as a full-patch member of the Hells Angels.
Amber E. Gill, 25, of Providence, was indicted for possession of a schedule I controlled substance (THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol).
Inside the clubhouse, the state police seized 25 items, including three guns and “an axe from within ceiling of room #2.”
They also searched a 2018 Tesla Model 3 that Lancia was driving but was registered to Imor. They seized two cell phones, a surveillance camera that was in the trunk and a “clear plastic bag containing a white substance.”
Lancia was released on $100,000 surety bail. He and the other defendants have pleaded not guilty.
A fundraiser for Lancia was scheduled to be held at the clubhouse on June 30 to raise money for his legal fees, according to a Facebook post.
A flier on the Facebook page showed a picture of Lancia with “Keep Joe Free!” as the banner. The flier said there was a $20 entry fee for the “defense party for the Messer St. Monster.”