Illinois, Texas, New York, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Connecticut were among the dozens of states represented Saturday at the funeral of the notorious former international president of the Outlaw Motorcycle Club, Harry Joseph “Taco” Bowman, at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds.
Police estimate there were more than 2,000 people at the funeral Saturday morning, coming in from all over the world on 1,200 motorcycles and hundreds of other vehicles. Mark Lovett, a detective in the Columbus Police division’s intelligence unit said he saw patches from England as Outlaws drove in, and the crowd was large because many drove up Interstate 75 from Daytona Beach Bike Week, which is running from March 8 through today.
PHOTOS: Thousands of bikers attend funeral for former Outlaw Motorcycle Club president
Lovett has been to more than 15 Outlaw motorcycle funerals in the last 20 years and this is by far the largest one he said has witnessed. Even larger than the funeral for Dayton’s Harold “Stairway Harry” Henderson, Bowman’s mentor and one of the last International presidents of the Outlaws, Lovett said.
“This is one of those events that really only happen once in our career, to see something this big,” Lovett said.
Several police agencies and task forces were at the funeral outside of uniform to observe. Most of the funerals are peaceful, Lovett said. But uniformed police and fire departments were ready to respond to any needs, including general health concerns of members attending the services.
“You just never know what’s going to happen at a gang funeral. They say they’re not a gang, but they fit the description,” he said.
Members of the Outlaws would not comment to the Dayton Daily News, but they said Bowman is a legacy.
Bowman died March 3 at age 69. He was serving two life sentences in a North Carolina prison after being indicted in Florida on murder, bombing, drug trafficking and racketeering charges. He had previously been a fugitive on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list, according to CNN.
The Outlaws were established in 1935 and have 119 chapters including in Dayton, Columbus, East Columbus, Warren, Middletown, Toledo, Sandusky, Canton and Athens, according to its website.