PLASTIC Easter eggs in pastel colors hung in windows along Friendship Street in Mayfair yesterday afternoon, and children played tag along the curb. Outside one rowhouse, a puddle of blood dried and darkened on the lawn.
The blood led from the puddle to the home of Michael "Brick" Lane, 31, who sources say is president of the Northeast Philadelphia Chapter of the Pagans Motorcycle Club. He was still alive last night, more than 24 hours after his cousin apparently shot him in the face and shoulder Saturday night.
Philly cops wouldn't confirm Lane's identity yesterday. They said a 31-year-old man was in critical condition at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. They also said the alleged shooter, William Damm, 44, Lane's cousin and next-door neighbor, was charged with aggravated assault and other offenses.
Officers responded to a radio call of a "man with a gun, shots fired" on Friendship Street near Sackett about 8:15 p.m. Saturday, and found the victim inside Damm's house with two gunshot wounds, police said. He was taken to Aria Health's Torresdale hospital, then airlifted to Jefferson. A law-enforcement source said he was in bad shape.
"If he makes it at all, he's going to be a vegetable," the source said.
The law-enforcement source and a source familiar with the motorcycle club both said that Damm believed Lane was trying to break down a door of his house Saturday night. The sources said Damm and Lane had ongoing problems that escalated when Lane and other Pagans members arrived on the block that night.
Several Pagans were with Lane when he was shot, the law-enforcement source and neighbors confirmed.
Philadelphia Police would not discuss any potential motives or whether Lane is a member of the Pagans. He has a small "1 percent" sticker on his mailbox and Pagans patches – also known as colors – framed and hanging on a wall inside his home.
"Investigators are going to look at all aspects of this incident and the parties involved," Officer Tanya Little said in a statement.
A Pagan standing outside Jefferson last night declined to comment.
Police said they arrested Damm at his home after the shooting and recovered a weapon. They took him to Northeast Detectives. No one answered the door at his home yesterday. Damm's fiancee declined to talk when reached by phone.
According to court records, Damm was charged with aggravated assault and other charges in 1988, and the case was dismissed.
A neighbor across the street described Damm as a "decent man."
"I can tell you this: If he did something, he did it to protect his family," said the man, who asked not to be identified. "He was a good guy, went to work and paid his taxes."
One neighbor said police had been called to Lane's home in the past. The neighbor, who asked not to be identified, said Lane had a "hot temper." He believed that Lane had been a member of the Pagans for a few years.
"They're always here, always out front," the man said of the bikers.
Lane's Ford pickup truck was parked in front of his home with a flat tire yesterday. The neighbor said someone had moved his motorcycle in the morning.
Another neighbor, a woman who also declined to be identified, said she didn't want to "pass judgment" on either man.
"You know when the whole situation is just sad? This is one of them," she said. "This is a nice block. It's usually not like this, but I heard the shots. I still can't believe it, like 'bang, bang, bang.' "
The Pagans Motorcycle Club has been the dominant "outlaw" motorcycle club in the Philadelphia region for decades. Law-enforcement officials have said the club has hundreds of members and is always looking for more.
The Pagans traditionally made money selling drugs and weapons and shaking down strip clubs, although they've been hobbled by federal indictments in recent years and have become increasingly low-key. Many members have Facebook profiles.