OFF THE WIRE
The Hells Angels saga has evolved into a a television-like drama involving guns, bikes, funerals, and exhuming dead bodies. The San Jose Mercury News is reporting this morning that sources say the man who allegedly shot and killed a fellow Hells Angel during the funeral service for another member, could be dead himself.
The newspaper says sources identified the shooter at Saturday's funeral as 38-year-old Steve Joseph Ruiz, however, police have not confirmed that. Sources also say that police might be having trouble finding Ruiz because it's possible he, too, has now been killed.
The violence all started on Sept. 23, 2011 when Jeffrey "Jethro" Pettigrew, the president of the San Jose Hells Angels, was shot to death in a Nevada casino. Ernesto Manuel Gonzalez, a rival motorcycle club member, was arrested two weeks ago in San Francisco on suspicion of shooting Pettigrew.
And while thousands of people gathered over the weekend to mourn Pettigrew, another Hells Angel was shot to death during his funeral service. He was identified as Steve Tausan, who had reportedly received death threats after doing a television interview with KTVU reporters after Pettigrew' death.
According to KTVU, Tausan and his attorney told KTVU that right after his interview, which ran on the air, he started getting calls from rival gang members saying now they knew what he looked like and he was a dead man. "Right now, this thing is very inflamed," Tausan had told KTVU.
Sources then told KTVU that Tausan was killed by another San Jose Hells Angels who was not welcome to Saturday's funeral services because Tausan thought he had disrespected Pettigrew after his death.
Police had swarmed Saturday's funeral in anticipation of trouble. But somehow after killing Tausan, the shooter quietly escaped and the gun was never found. The Mercury News claims that investigators got a judge's permission to exhume Pettigrew's coffin to see if Ruiz's body or any other evidence was quickly buried next to the Hells Angel's president. Police reportedly found nothing.
But police still suspect that other Hells Angels managed to smuggle Ruiz from the crime scene -- dead or alive. He might have been killed shortly after gunning down Tausan, according to the Merc.
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