Homicide detectives searched over the weekend for clues in the killing of the San Diego chapter president of the Black Sabbath Motorcycle Club, who was gunned down outside the group’s clubhouse, police said on Sunday.
Clyde Thompson, 51, was working on a motorcycle with another club member in front of the group’s headquarters on Friday night when a sport utility vehicle sped up to the clubhouse and a passenger got out and shot Thompson multiple times, police said.
He died of his wounds at a nearby hospital hours later.
“No arrests have been made,” San Diego Police Sergeant Jorge Leon said. “We are continuing to investigate this homicide.”
The unidentified gunman was described as a young black man wearing a black hooded sweatshirt.
Thompson, who was black and a carpenter employed at home improvement retailer Home Depot, joined the group as an honorary member and worked his way up to chapter president through charity work, according to John Bunch, the group’s national president.
The motorcycle club was formed in San Diego in 1972 by seven African-American men – some working for the U.S. Navy, some for San Diego Gas & Electric – who enjoyed riding Harley Davidson motorcycles on Sundays, Bunch said. They officially founded the club in 1974.
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The group, which has 13 chapters, including clubs in Houston, Atlanta and South Carolina, prides itself on a reputation for law-abiding conduct and devotes much of its energy to philanthropic work.
Despite the street-tough image of its members – Thompson went by the nickname Wild Dogg – the club distinguishes itself from groups defined by U.S. authorities as outlaw motorcycle gangs such as the Hells Angels, with the motto, “A breed apart.”
“We don’t know why this happened to our brother, and we are hoping and praying these cowards will be quickly brought to justice for shooting an unarmed man,” Bunch said in a telephone interview from Georgia.
“We have no idea why someone declared war on us. We have never had a war, a hostility. We have never been involved in a killing. We have no enemies,” Bunch added.
Thompson is survived by a longtime girlfriend and two daughters.