Search for Funeral Shooting Suspect Turns Up Empty

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

STOCKTON, Calif. (AP) - San Jose police on Saturday searched a home and surrounding area in Stockton where they were led to believe the suspected shooter of a Hells Angels member might be, but the hunt turned up empty, authorities said.

Police had received a tip that suspect Steve Ruiz, 38, was hiding out in Stockton some 80 miles northeast of the site of the funeral where 52-year-old Hells Angel Steve Tausan was shot and killed amid a crowd of thousands a week earlier, San Jose police Sgt. Jason Dwyer told the San Francisco Chronicle and Bay City News.

Sacramento stations KCRA-TV and CBS-13 showed heavily armed San Jose police officers and armored police vehicles outside the home, while yellow police tape is kept residents of the suburban
neighborhood off the property.

"I think we live in a pretty crazy world, but it's still crazy that it's happening in the neighborhood," neighbor Noelia Trelles told the Chronicle. But after an extensive search that included tear-gassing and storming the home, Ruiz was not found, police said.

Ruiz, himself a member of the Hells Angels, is suspected of fatally shooting 52-year-old Steve Tausan amid a crowd of thousands during the Oct. 15 funeral in San Jose.

Investigators had originally believed that Ruiz might have been killed by members of the motorcycle gang, but said Friday they had determined he was still alive.

Tausan was one of 4,000 people at the funeral of Jeffrey "Jethro" Pettigrew, the president of the Hells Angels San Jose chapter who authorities say was slain during a brawl with a rival biker gang in a Nevada casino on Sept. 23.

Tausan was a former member of the Hell's Angels San Jose chapter. His sister Karen Tausan said when he died he was the current sergeant at arms of the Santa Cruz chapter, which enforces club rules.

Tausan was slain despite a heavy police presence at last week's funeral at San Jose's Oak Hill Memorial Park.

San Jose police were monitoring the funeral because of rising tensions among motorcycle gangs.

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