PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Three people were arrested amid a dramatic raid of the Hells Angels clubhouse in Providence Wednesday, which was prompted by a shooting outside the clubhouse earlier that morning.
The Rhode Island State Police said Joseph Lancia, the man who they say is the president of the motorcycle club, is facing several charges, including felony assault with a firearm, in connection to the incident.
Police said the alleged shooting occurred around 10:45 a.m. Wednesday morning outside of the club’s headquarters on Messer Street.
State Police Major Timothy Sanzi said the victim told police Lancia fired a single gunshot at his car as he drove by.
The bullet hit the passenger’s side of the vehicle and police said no one was injured, but the Asa Messer Elementary School is located near the clubhouse.
“It should be noted that there were children in the area at that time and there is a school across the street of the location of the shooting,” Sanzi said.
After learning more about the incident, the State Police Intelligence Unit and Violent Fugitive Task Force executed a search warrant on the clubhouse.
Police closed off a portion of Messer Street as they utilized an armored police vehicle to ram their way into the clubhouse. A law enforcement official on a bullhorn could be heard telling people to leave the building.
“Anyone inside 161 Messer St., this is the state police come out with your hands up,” he said. “Do it now.”
During the raid, police seized three firearms and assorted ammunition.
Police said Lancia and two others, Howard Pollitt, 45, of Fall River, and Amber Gill, 25, of Providence, were arrested during the raid. Pollitt and Gill are charged with obstructing an officer and resisting arrest.
Multiple law enforcement sources tell Target 12 this case stems from an internal beef within the Hells Angels. Lancia, 28, is accused of assaulting someone connected with the biker club in a violent clash.
Lancia was ordered held on $100,000 bail with surety. Following his arraignment, a person wearing a Hells Angels shirt arrived with fistful of cash presumably to post Lancia’s bail.
Sanzi said Lancia has been president of the Hells Angels in Rhode Island for two years.
This wasn’t the first dramatic raid of the Messer Street headquarters. In 2002 state police used a front-end loader to enter the building. Sanzi said they used such force because the clubhouse is known to be “reinforced.”
“We felt due to the nature of the offense and the potential for additional violence or weapons that that was our response for a tactical entry,” he said.