Member of notorious motorcycle club dies in ambush

SOLOMON LEACH / DAILY NEWS STAFF Three men were shot, one fatally, outside the headquarters of Wheels of Soul motorcycle club, in West Philadelphia.
SOLOMON LEACH / DAILY NEWS STAFF Three men were shot, one fatally, outside the headquarters of Wheels of Soul motorcycle club, in West Philadelphia.
Posted: January 09, 2013

NASIR PINKNEY and four fellow members of the Wheels of Soul motorcycle club rolled up to their West Philadelphia clubhouse at 6 a.m. Sunday after a 12-hour drive from Chicago, where they had attended a funeral for another member of the brotherhood.

The men, who had taken turns driving an SUV, were getting ready to go their separate ways when a gunman near the club's door opened fire on them, club members said Monday.

Pinkney, 31, was shot in the head and taken to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, where he later died after being taken off life support. A 47-year-old man and a 34-year-old man also were wounded, but were in stable condition.

"To come from a funeral to step into a situation where it's going to be a funeral, and it's right at your doorstep, it's unthinkable," said a man who would identify himself only by his club name, "Black Billy." "There's no words for it. We were already in mourning."

The 37-year-old member said inside the group's clubhouse, on Market Street near 61st, that he was among the group that encountered the shooter Sunday. He said that he was standing closest to the shooter when the assailant pointed his gun.

"I yelled 'Gun!' and threw my bag at him and dove behind a motorcycle," said the member, who wasn't injured.

He said that he thought that he recognized the shooter but that the man was not a member of Wheels of Soul or affiliated with the club.

Philadelphia is the mother chapter of the national organization. Local members described the shooting as unprovoked.

"It's a great loss to us. He was a straight-up good guy," a member who identified himself as Mike said of Pinkney. "He worked every day. He didn't have a bad word to say about nobody."

The group said that Pinkney was the son of a longtime club member and loved riding motorcycles. He lived in Philadelphia, but belonged to a different chapter.

"It's a shame this guy lost his life like this," Mike said. "It's senseless."

The group could not confirm reports that the gunman had been kicked out of the clubhouse earlier that morning.

"He could have had an altercation with a member," "Black Billy" said. "I don't know. I just walked into a surprise."

One of the two other victims was from New Jersey, the other from Baltimore, the group said.

The club has developed a reputation as a rowdy and violent bunch in recent years. Last April, one man was killed and another wounded outside the clubhouse.

In July 2011, FBI and ATF agents raided the clubhouse and several others across the country as part of a sweeping federal racketeering indictment.

Club members said yesterday that they are blamed for much of the violence in the area, even when it originates elsewhere.

"You hear we're thugs and things of that nature," said "Black Billy." "That's not what we are, but that's what we're perceived to be."


On Twitter: @ChroniclesOfSol

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