Dutchmen of Paramount
The 1959 Car Club Murder
March 25, 1959 about 30 members of the Townsmen Car Club attacked a 16-member meeting of the Dutchmen Car Club at the Moose Lodge Hall at 2901 E. Artesia Blvd. Reports were that the “rumble” was in retaliation to recent resistance of the Dutchmen to the Townsmen who wanted to move into a Lakewood drive-in restaurant, most likely Hody’s, a popular cruising destination. For months, the investigation and trial were front page stories in the Press Telegram, which reported on March 26, “The attackers were armed with knives, hatchets, baseball bats and tire irons, in addition to the gun carried by one of the hoods. Neil Mahan, a 16-year-old was seriously wounded in the brain by a gunshot during the rumble. The club’s advisor, Edward T. Brick, 31, of the 5200 block of Carson St., recalled a Townsmen member had been injured by a railroad spike wielded by a member of the Dutchmen. Brick alleged his club’s visit to the Dutchmen meeting was to seek a “peace meeting,” but were prepared in case a fight started.
Jim Beeson was at the meeting when the Townsmen members broke into the building. According to him, the explanation that they were seeking a "peace meeting" was untrue as their attack was a complete surprise. In 2012 he told Kustomrama that they were just having their meeting, messing around when the Townsmen busted through the door and the windows; "We were outnumbered by about two to one, but to make it even worse the attackers had various weapons, they came fully prepared. I had never run away from a fair fight in my life, but being no dummy, me and my friends got out of there as fast as we could. The Townsmen members, for the most part, were older guys. We were high school kids. I was 16."
Hoping to avoid further retaliation, police obtained a roster of Townsmen members and went to work, picking up as many members as they could. By the following week, 13 members of the Townsmen, 17 to 21-years-old had been arrested, including one who had shaved off his goatee. Many of the attackers were described as having goatees or beards.
Mahan died on April 3 and a Townsmen member confessed to the shooting. By early June, all the accused rumblers had been sentenced. The confessed shooter, Eddie W. Padilla of Santa Fe Springs got one to ten years for manslaughter. Two defendants got probation, seven others were sent to the youth authority for terms from two to six months. Others had their driver’s licenses suspended. Some were ordered not to associate with organizations other than church groups and perhaps, worst of all, to stay away from drive-in movies and restaurants.
Some reflect that the trial was the beginning of the end of car club culture in Long Beach, at least as far as teenagers were concerned.
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