OFF THE WIRE
Steve Ruiz is sought in the slaying of a Hells Angel member at a funeral for the San Jose chapter's president.A man suspected of fatally shooting a member of the Hells Angels at a recent funeral in San Jose was not holed up in a Stockton home Saturday as police had believed.
Steve Ruiz, 38, of San Jose is being sought for allegedly shooting and killing fellow Hells Angels member Steve Tausan, 52, after the two fought Oct. 15 at a funeral for a slain motorcycle club member, according to police.
Police had received information that Ruiz had been hiding out at the three-bedroom home on the 3700 block of McDougald Boulevard in Stockton, said San Jose police Sgt Jason Dwyer. Investigators asked Stockton police and the San Joaquin County sheriff's office to serve a search warrant for the home, but both agencies were unavailable, Dwyer said.
As a result, San Jose police drove tactical vehicles to the scene. Neighbors said they had seen San Jose police at the scene, calling out to someone in the home to surrender.
But after storming the home and firing tear gas at about 8 p.m. Saturday, police came up empty-handed and left.
The occupants of the home "are new to the area or they're new to the house" after moving in several months ago, said Noelia Trelles, whose sister-in-law lives next door.
"I think we live in a pretty crazy world, but it's still crazy that it's happening in the neighborhood," Trelles said.
Ruiz and Tausan were among thousands of Hells Angels members who attended a funeral for Jeffrey Pettigrew, president of the San Jose chapter of the motorcycle club, at the Oak Hill Funeral Home and Memorial Park on Curtner Avenue.
After the shooting, Ruiz, 38, of San Jose disappeared and one or more people tampered with the crime scene, washing away bloodstains and removing evidence of the shooting, police said.
Police found Ruiz's motorcycle at the funeral, Lt. Alan Cavallo said. Ruiz has not come to claim it.
Authorities initially speculated that it was possible Ruiz had been killed and possibly buried along with Pettigrew. Investigators obtained a search warrant to dig up Pettigrew's grave, but Ruiz's remains were not found, Cavallo said.
But now investigators say they have proof that Ruiz is alive and "actively evading law enforcement," Dwyer said.
Ruiz is believed to have two black eyes "and other facial injuries consistent with being in a fight," Dwyer said.
Police said Ruiz is in the company of Christel Renee Trujillo, 42, also known as Christel Renee Ferguson, and that her life "is now in danger."
The two are possibly traveling in a gold or pewter Chevrolet Suburban. No year of the vehicle or license plate number was available.
Ruiz has family and associates in Arizona and New York and may try to contact them, Dwyer said.
Police said Pettigrew was shot and killed Sept. 23 by Ernesto Manuel Gonzalez, an alleged member of the rival Vagos motorcycle gang, at John Ascuaga's Nugget casino in Sparks, Nev. Gonzalez, 53, of San Jose was arrested by a UCSF police officer in San Francisco six days later.
Tausan and the manager of the Pink Poodle, a strip club west of San Jose, were tried for murder in 1999 in the beating death of a club customer two years earlier. They were acquitted on grounds of self-defense.