To his neighbors and friends — and there were many — Anthony Salvador Barrera was a kind and funny man. His buddies called the scruffy biker with a thick Fu Manchu mustache “the mayor of East Los Angeles.”
Last Saturday, Barrera and two others died during a brawl between his gang, the Mongols, and the Hells Angels at a Laughlin, Nevada, casino. Authorities arrested a Hells Angel from Arizona in connection with the killings.
The stocky, 5-foot-8 Barrera looked like a tough guy, but he was far from being a violent person. “I couldn’t believe that out of all of those guys, he was the one that got it. He was a good soul,” said photographer Greg Bojorquez, a frequent Weekly contributor.
Barrera, who was 43, grew up in East L.A. and owned Community Auto Paints, where locals would go to paint their cars or just kick back and talk to him. Barrera joined the Mongols, a biker gang that began in the 1970s in El Sereno. He was a divorced grandfather and had three daughters.
Last Friday, Barrera and a friend drove his scalloped-painted Harley to Harrah‘s Casino & Hotel in Laughlin, where they joined some 80,000 bikers for a 20th annual party.
Barrera’s wit sometimes touched on his own death. He said he wanted to be cremated. Why? Bojorquez remembers his answer: “He was afraid of the worms eating him.”