Man shot at West Side motorcycle club: 'We’ve been here over 16 years and police never have to come'

Cowboy was getting a bad feeling about the party at his West Side motorcycle club Monday night.

It was just before 10 p.m. and the crowd was getting unruly.  Cowboy, who gave only his nickname, started to get people to leave the Born Losers Motorcycle Club at 4420 W. Madison St. in West Garfield Park.

He heard one shot from the back of the building, and he no longer needed to show people the door. They sprinted from the club.

Police said a man, 37, was shot in the hip and taken to Stroger Hospital in critical condition.  No other details were released.

As detectives worked the scene, Cowboy stood outside the club, a dark red building that shares a storefront with a bar, its sign in cursive script with two dice.

Standing about 6 feet tall and wearing a baseball cap and a black and red leather jacket, Cowboy spoke softly. “It’s quiet,” he said. “We’ve been here over 16 years and police never have to come.”

He was backed up by police in the Harrison police district who said the site doesn’t generally attract trouble.

Members of the club stood in a tight circle outside the club late into the night Monday, many of them wearing red jackets with the club's name. They said they were saddened by the violence at a place where many of them find community, or come just because they like to ride.

Charles Banks, a 47-year-old man who used to be a member of the club, was walking by when he saw the police cars and the crowd outside the club.

Banks is a cook and he used to help out with meals for the various benefits and events the club sponsors.

“They do a lot,” Banks said.

Just last week, members said, the club held a party for local children. The kids came to the club on Halloween night to eat hot dogs and candy apples and show off their costumes.  The club also holds a food drive for Thanksgiving and has done security for the West Side’s Back to School parade.

The Born Losers Motorcycle Club was founded in 1959 in Georgia and is the oldest black motorcycle club in Atlanta, according to its website. The Chicago chapter, one of four, is the only offshoot outside the South.

“We just ride bikes,” said a member called Slink, who also gave only his nickname.

He said he rushed over when he got a call that there was trouble at the club.  “It just got rowdy in there,” he said.  “People started shooting.”

Copyright © 2017, Chicago Tribune
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