SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — San Jose police have confirmed that a man police suspect fatally shot a Hells Angels member at a funeral for another murdered Hells Angels leader Saturday afternoon is alive and “actively evading law enforcement”, police said.
Steven Ruiz, 33, of San Jose killed Steve Tausan, 52, also of San Jose, during an altercation at the Oak Hill Cemetery on Curtner Avenue, and then mysteriously disappeared, leaving behind his motorcycle, said Lt. Alan Cavallo, a commander in the homicide unit.
Some speculated that he was dead but police said they have confirmed that Ruiz is alive and is believed to be with a female acquaintance, Christel Renee Trujillo, who also goes by the last name Ferguson.
Just minutes prior to Ruiz’s confrontation with Tausan, Cavallo said Ruiz, a member of the Hells Angels’ San Jose chapter, got into a fight with an “unpatched” member of the Hells Angels where he got knocked down to the ground and kicked in the head.
That fight took place in the parking lot outside of the chapel as Jeffrey Pettigrew’s coffin was in the process of being moved to the burial site, Cavallo said. Pettigrew was 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.
Ruiz’s friends picked him up and brushed him off and in the meantime, someone went to find Tausan to confront Ruiz, Cavallo said. Tausan then came to Ruiz and the two got into a fight. Ruiz took out a handgun and shot Tausan, police said.
Police Officer Jose Garcia said Tausan was a “confirmed or validated member of the Hells Angels” motorcycle club. He would not comment on which chapter he was affiliated with.
Several Hells Angels members “destroyed evidence,” and were uncooperative or confrontational with police, hampering the investigation, Cavallo said.
Anywhere from 1,500 to 3,000 people, mostly consisting of Hells Angels members or other motorcycle gang members, were in attendance at the funeral, Cavallo said.
Saturday’s shooting was reported around 12:50 p.m. Officers who had been stationed outside the cemetery for security purposes made their way through the crowd, but once they got to the crime scene, they found it had been “tampered with,” Garcia said.
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.
Officers searched Pettigrew’s grave, but didn’t recover anything that could be considered as evidence, Cavallo said.
He said the officers did not open Pettigrew’s coffin, though it is possible a firearm could have been inside.
Police have obtained a Ramey warrant for Ruiz’s arrest. He has not been seen or heard from since Saturday.
Ruiz is considered armed and dangerous and Trujillo’s life may be in danger, police said Friday.
Police believe Ruiz has two black eyes and other facial injuries.
Ruiz and Trujillo may be traveling in a gold or pewter Chevrolet Suburban.
Ruiz has family in Arizona and New York who he may attempt to contact, police said.
Anyone with information regarding Ruiz or his whereabouts is asked to call the Police Department’s homicide unit at (408) 277-5283. Those wishing to remain anonymous can call (408) 947-STOP or visit www.svcrimestoppers.org.
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