SJPD Digs Up Hells Angels' Gravesite

Police say witnesses did a lot to cover up funeral crime scene.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Courtesy of the Pettigrew Family
    Jeff "Jethro" Pettigrew. (Family photograph)

    The case of the homicide at a Hells Angels funeral in San Jose is playing out like a crime drama.

    San Jose police have said from the beginning the crime scene was tampered with, but today they gave specific examples.

    Police say fellow members of the Hells Angels gang went so far as to use ice from a cooler to wash away blood from the shooting scene on Saturday.

    Steve Tausan, 52, was the victim of the homicide. Police announced on Tuesday that the man suspected of shooting him is Steve Ruiz.

    Ruiz is a member of the same Santa Cruz chapter of the Hells Angels and has not been seen since the shooting. 

    Ruiz and Tausan were among some 4,000 who had gathered at Oak Hills cemetery for the funeral of the Hells Angels San Jose chapter president, Jeffrey Pettigrew, who died in a separate shooting in Sparks, Nev., last month.

    Investigators said they exhumed Pettigrew's grave site to see if anyone had disposed of Ruiz' body or any other evidence following the shooting of Tausan. Police said they did not opSteve+Tausan+was+associated+with+the+Santa+Cruz+chapter+of+the+Hells+Angelsen his coffin, but said they had cause to search the grave site. In the end, police said they did not find any evidence.

    Police said it is possible that Ruiz was also killed, but have not found his body. 

    There was a heavy police presence at Pettigrew's funeral over the weekend, but police said Tuesday that they weren't inside the gates and only at perimeter so no officers witnessed the shooting of Tausan or the whisking away of Ruiz.

    Investigators said all witnesses have been uncooperative.

    Tausan owned a bail bond office in San Jose.

    He has been in the news before. He was arrested on murder charges in 1998. That arrest triggered a raid of fellow Hells Angels offices.

    Those raids resulted in a lawsuit against San Jose and Santa Clara County. The bikers won a $1.8 million settlement. They claimed the searches of their homes and clubhouse violated their Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure.