BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Federal, state, and local agencies raided seven Kingsmen clubhouses in Erie, Niagara, and Cattaraugus counties.
The FBI-led Safe Streets Task Force carried out the raids. It was created to dismantle and remove criminally-organized gangs.
Agents gained entry by battering into doors and using flash bombs.
“We heard a big boom at six in the morning,” said Eagle Street resident Sharon Dingeldey. “I woke up and thought who’s making all that noise out there?”
Some question the timing of the raids.
They came less than a week after Andre Jenkins was convicted of first and second degree murder in the killings of local Kingsmen members Paul Maue of Buffalo and Daniel Szymanski of Getzville.
Jenkins would not accept a plea from prosecutors who believe he was sent by Kingsmen President David Pirk to carry out the murders.
“When it comes to a biker gang like that, there’s always connections and they always will follow cases like that,” said Brandon Baughman, a North Tonawanda resident who lives near the Oliver Street clubhouse where Maue and Szymanski were killed last September.
“I’m sure there’s a retaliation somewhere, so, I don’t know on whose side or what, but I’m sure something’s going on that they’re doing this,” said Sharon Dingeldey, who lives near the clubhouse on Eagle Street on Buffalo’s East Side.
One Eagle Street neighbors who declined to go on-camera said he was sick and tired of being awakened at all hours of the night, “between them fighting amongst themselves or with women, doing ‘burn-outs’ (making circles) with their motorcycles in the middle of the street.” He said children are sometimes awakened in the middle of the night because of all the noise.
Sharon Dingeldey, who has lived on the block for twenty-nine years, said there have been different groups along the way. Compared to others, she said, “This one seemed to be pretty calm.”