As thousands of bikers paid tribute Saturday to slain Hells Angels member Steve “Mr. 187” Tausan, California police described to reporters the strange turns in a biker gang turf war that has left several men dead, wounded or missing and has its origins in a seating dispute at a Santa Cruz, Calif., Starbucks.
Tausan, who was buried Saturday before 3,000 fellow bikers, was shot and killed two weeks ago at a funeral for another Hells Angels member, Jeffrey “Jethro” Pettigrew, who was himself shot and killed in September at a casino in Sparks, Nev. Tausan, police say, was shot during a dispute with fellow Hells Angels member Steven Ruiz. Pettigrew died at the hands of a member of the Vagos motorcylce gang.
According to police, Vagos and the Hells Angels have been feuding since January 2010, when several members of Vagos attempted to claim seating rights at a Santa Cruz Starbucks — a well-known Hells Angels hotspot. Fisticuffs ensued, with gang members wielding ball-point pens.
“"It was all about who would be allowed to hang out at the Starbucks downtown," Santa Cruz Deputy Police Chief Steve Clark told Reuters News Service. "The Vagos brazenly came in and tried to cement their presence. It was a pretty strong play on their part to establish themselves as the premiere club."
"Only in Santa Cruz would you have biker wars over who's going to control pumpkin spice lattes."