Pagan’s Motorcycle Club boss Steve (Gorilla) Mondevergine survived an assassination attempt 20 years ago this summer when a beef between Mondevergine’s Philadelphia Pagan’s and the 10th and O Gang, an independent mob ring that has long operated in South Philly, erupted into a brief shooting war. Mondevergine was shot eight times at close range in the early morning hours of August 29, 1999 as he walked from a South Philly bar to his mother’s row house nearby. The 10th & O Gang got its name from the street corner that intersects 10th Street and Oregon Avenue in Philadelphia.

Just this past week, Gorilla Mondevergine, 65, was back in the news when the newest episode of Mob Talk on YouTube reported that the burly former cop-turned-crime lord, had recently been reinstalled as president of Philly’s branch of the Pagan’s after more than a decade on the shelf. Mondevergine was the most powerful biker boss on the east coast during his first stint as president of the Pagan’s chapter in Philadelphia in the 1990s and 2000s – he was forced from his initial tenure in the presidency as a result of a chapter insurgence led by Timothy (Casual Tim) Flood.

While Mondevergine was sent to prison for trying to kill Flood at a chapter meeting in January 2008, Flood wound up flipping on the club, becoming a witness for the government following a 2009 drug and gambling bust out of West Virginia. Mondevergine came out of prison in 2013 and sat on the sidelines until he was recently tapped to lead the Philly Pagan’s by national president Keith (Conan the Barbarian) Richter out of New York, according to Mob Talk.

In the late 1990s, the Pagan’s in Philly had strong ties to the city’s Italian mafia, the Bruno-Scarfo crime family, but was feuding with the 10th & O crew over drug and loan sharking turf. According to state police reports, Gorilla Mondevergine’s pal, mob don Joseph (Skinny Joey) Merlino tried to broker a peace treaty between the two sides of the conflict and hosted a sit down in the spring of 1999 which Mondevergine and 10th & O Gang boss John (Johnny the Hat) Hendri both attended. However, little was accomplished and the ill will persisted through the summer reaching a crescendo with the attempted murder of Mondevergine on August 29.

Staying true to the code of the street, Mondevergine refused to identify his attacker to the police, instead choosing to take matters into his own hands. On November 3, 2000, Mondevergine opened fire on Hendri as he exited the Oregon Diner. Hendri, 66 today and reportedly retired from the rackets, wasn’t struck in the attack. Mondevergine was arrested that same day for gun possession near the scene of the shooting. He was locked up two months later for racketeering in January 2001 and did three years in prison. Following his assault on Casual Tim Flood in 2008, he did another three years behind bars.

The 10th & O crew operates drug, gambling and loan sharking rackets out of a series of taverns, restaurants and social clubs. Besides the Oregon Diner, located directly at the corner of 10th & O, other frequented hangouts for the crew have been Cookie’s Tavern and the Deptford Tavern.

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