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Hells Angels Biker Gang Fugitive Surrenders in Killing of Jeffrey Jethro Pettigrew

A member of the Hells Angels who has been on the run since the October killing of a fellow club member has been arrested on suspicion of murder for an incident which happened during the funeral of the club’s former president.

The coppers tracked down Steve Ruiz, 38, at a Days Inn Motel in Fremont, CA, south of San Francisco. Ruiz surrendered and was arrested on Saturday and booked into the Santa Clara County Jail.

Ruiz is suspected of gunning down fellow Hells Angel Steve Tausan, 52, on October 15, 2011, at the funeral Hells Angels president Jeffrey “Jethro” Pettigrew. Pettigrew who was shot and killed during a brawl with a rival gang at a Nevada casino in September 2011, and the authorities say Tausan, who was Pettigrew’s close friend and confidant, confronted Ruiz at the funeral. They say Tausan accused Ruiz of failing to protect Pettigrew during the casino melee with members of the Vagos. They say that confrontation prompted Ruiz to pull a gun on Tausan and shoot him dead.

“The victim and suspect were involved in a physical altercation,” said a police spokesperson. “During the fight, the suspect drew a firearm and fatally shot the victim.”

The Ruiz arrest may bring to a close a spate of violence between the Hells Angels and Vagos which has been going on for more than a year.

The authorities say the brouhaha began as the Vagos tried to move in force into the northern coastal town of Santa Cruz, CA, long a Hells Angels territory. The war may have begun as members of the rival motorcycle clubs fought with bats and knives outside a Santa Cruz Starbucks in January 2010. That confrontation led members of the two groups to square off seven months later in August 2010 when members of the clubs exchanged gunfire in another incident.

That tussle left five people wounded in Chino Valley, Arizona.

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