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Details Of Fatal Shooting At San Jose Hells Angels Funeral A Mystery

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Steve Tausan, Hells Angels

Steve Tausan (San Jose Mercury News)

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SAN JOSE (CBS SF) – Police were interviewing witnesses and looking for more in the fatal shooting Saturday of a Hells Angels member at the funeral for the head of the San Jose Hells Angels, but were tight-lipped about details in the case.

On Monday, police identified the man who was shot to death as 52-year-old Steve Tausan.

The funeral was being held at the Oak Hill Cemetery on Curtner Avenue and was attended by an estimated 4,000 people, Officer Jose Garcia said.

Garcia said the funeral was for Jeffrey Pettigrew, the 51-year-old president of the Hells Angels’ San Jose chapter who was killed at John Ascuaga’s Nugget casino resort in Sparks, Nev., on the night of Sept. 23.

Pettigrew’s daughter, Summer Pettigrew, described Tausan as her father’s best friend. The San Jose Mercury News reported Tausan was a “sergeant-at-arms,” or rules enforcer, for the Santa Cruz Hells Angels chapter.

Saturday’s shooting was reported around 12:50 p.m. Officers arrived at the cemetery and made their way through the crowd, but once they got to the crime scene, they found it had been “tampered with,” Garcia said. He did not explain further.

Someone at the funeral had taken Tausan to a hospital by the time the officers arrived. Tausan had been shot at least once and died of his injuries at the hospital, Garcia said.

Garcia said Tausan, a San Jose resident, was a “confirmed or validated member of the Hells Angels” motorcycle club. He would not comment on which chapter he was affiliated with.

KCBS’ Matt Bigler Reports:

In October 1997, Tausan and two others were charged with the murder of Kevin James Sullivan at the Pink Poodle strip club in San Jose on Aug. 24, 1997.

Tausan and one of the other defendants were ultimately acquitted by a jury. The third man pleaded no contest to a conspiracy charge before the trial started.

Garcia said detectives were “actively working the case,” interviewing several witnesses and looking for more.

No arrests have been made in connection with Tausan’s murder, and as of Monday morning, police had not identified any suspects.

Garcia said the investigation is ongoing and a motive for the shooting has not yet been established.

Garcia said “it’s possible” the shooter may have been attacked himself and taken away, as some witnesses reported.

He said that after the shooting, most people left but some remained for Pettigrew’s interment.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)

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