October 15th, Gun Battle—A Tribute to Harpo 1%er
On a cool October morning in 1976, Harry Ruby slept deeply, unaware that life as he knew it was about to end. The previous night, he had celebrated his twenty-sixth birthday with friends. Harry and his girlfriend were downstairs, with the rest of his friends asleep upstairs at the two-story house on East 93rd Avenue. No one heard a van pull up outside.
Armed bearded men wearing biker attire spilled from the van and rushed up to the house. One man broke the glass in the front door, waking Harry. He was stunned to see armed men wearing biker garb, breaking into the house in broad daylight. Terrified, Harry exchanged shots with the men. Over two dozen rounds pumped into the house before the intruders realized no one was returning fire. In the volley of bullets, Harry had been shot in the head.
The following day, the Tampa Tribune carried the headlines: “Three Deputies Hurt in Cycle Gang Shootout.” Harry Ruby never rated a headline because he was also known as Harpo, an Outlaws 1%er.
According to the newspaper account, 13 “plainclothes” officers were attempting to serve a narcotics search warrant on the newly inhabited Outlaws Club House and were met by gunfire. No mention was made of the disguises the officers wore when they broke into the house
Still, as he lay in a coma with severe brain damage, Harpo 1%er was charged with three counts of attempted first-degree murder, possession of a short-barreled shotgun and possession of marijuana. His bond was posted at $150,000.00.
Badly shaken but uninjured, the other seven people in the house were also arrested and charged with felony possession of marijuana and weapons.
Harpo 1%er survived, although with permanent brain damage that left him blind in one eye and paralyzed on one side. He was then charged by the State of Florida with three counts for the attempted murder of three police officers.
The State’s attempted murder charges were dismissed based on permanent brain damage –. Harpo was disabled to the point that he could not even communicate adequately with his defense attorney to present his side of the story.
The wounded officers then filed a civil case seeking monetary damages. Once again that case was dismissed based on the permanent brain damage.
In December 1982, Harpo 1%er was again indicted for the three attempted murder charges, this time in a Middle District of Florida RICO case against the Jacksonville and Tampa Outlaws motorcycle club chapters.
The government declared Harpo competent, and his case was used by the government to win its first ever RICO conviction against a motorcycle club.
A vicious Federal Prosecutor made sure that Harpo went to federal prison, even though he was brain-damaged, partially blinded, crippled and unable to help in his defense.
Harpo died in 2001 in Federal Prison without ever knowing freedom again.
I want to insure that everyone knows Harpo’s story. Harpo was a true 1%er who put his life on the line in defense of his Brothers. We will cherish his memory for as long as a single Outlaw 1%er exists. Harpo 1%er is on our list of Outlaws 1%er heroes who are Gone, But Not Forgotten.
Sign Up To Get New Articles & Newsletters
Your Privacy Is Respected