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Report: Suspected Hells Angels gunman may be dead
OFF THE WIRE
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The man suspected of gunning down a member of the Hells Angels at the funeral of a club leader may be dead, according to a published report Tuesday. Quoting unnamed sources, the San Jose Mercury identified the alleged gunman as 38-year-old Steve Joseph Ruiz, a member of the San Jose Hells Angels branch.
While investigators have not released any details of their investigation or a suspect, the sources told the Mercury that Ruiz may never be taken into custody for the killing of 52-year-old Hells Angels member Steve Tausan because he could already be dead.
Just weeks prior to being killed Tausan spoke at length with KTVU about the recent slaying of his fellow member Jethro Pettigrew and his desire to stay alive for his family.
One of the handwritten memorials at Tausan's San Jose bail bonds office Monday said 'Now there's another angel watching over us.'
Two weeks ago, KTVU first spoke to Hells Angel Tausan about the recent violence surrounding the motorcycle gang.
Tausan warily unlocked his door and opened it for KTVU reporter Rita Williams and a cameraman after turning away other media for an exclusive on-camera interview and several hours talking off-camera.
Tausan showed KTVU photos of San Jose Hells Angels President Jethro Pettigrew, whose funeral he was planning. He gave Williams t-shirt memorializing Pettigrew that Tausan had ordered. Pettigrew was gunned down by a rival gang in Reno last month.
"Jethro Pettigrew was a fantastic Hells Angel and a fantastic friend," said Tausan.
Tausan himself was killed at that funeral. Sources tell KTVU he was slain by a member of the San Jose Hells Angels not welcome because Tausan thought he had disrespected Pettigrew after his death.
Tausan talked with pride about being a Marine, a boxer and a soccer dad to his children. He also spoke about being found not guilty of murder in a strip club bar fight.
"Not everybody's a felon," explained Tausan. "Jethro wasn't a felon. I'm not a felon."
The following day, KTVU again met up with Tausan to get a comment about the overnight arrest of Pettigrew's alleged killer.
Tausan and his attorney told KTVU that right after his interview with 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," said a concerned Tausan.
Tausan had moved his beloved bike inside his office so as not to advertise when he was at work. KTVU didn't use Tausan's picture again, instead using an anonymous quote to avoid further endangering the interview subject.
"It's tragic, senseless. Nobody's winning nothing. Everybody's lost."
The last thing Tausan told KTVU that day was that he didn't want to die.
"I have too much to live for; my fiance and my kids," said Tausan.
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