SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – A man suspected of killing the San Jose Hells Angels motorcycle club president in a Nevada casino last week was apprehended by a University of California, San Francisco police officer Thursday night.

Ernesto Gonzalez was wanted in connection with the murder of motorcycle club President Jeffrey Pettigrew, 51, who was fatally shot at John Ascuaga’s Nugget casino resort in Sparks, Nev., at about 11:25 p.m. on Sept. 23.

UCSF police Chief Pam Roskowski said that California law enforcement agencies, including her department, had been briefed about the homicide and were on the lookout for Gonzalez.

“Everyone has been on alert for this suspect and were aware of the homicide,” she said.

KCBS’ Holly Quan Reports:

Sgt. John Gutierrez had been patrolling the area near the UCSF Mission Center building Thursday because of recent burglaries, she said, when he observed a suspicious vehicle at about 8:20 p.m.

Gutierrez questioned the driver—who allegedly had been acting nervously, drawing Gutierrez’s attention. When Gutierrez ran the man’s identification, he learned of the warrant out for his arrest.

Gonzalez was arrested near Treat and Alameda streets and booked at San Francisco County jail. The vehicle was impounded, Roskowski said.

According to information released by Sparks police earlier this week, the preliminary investigation indicated the casino shootout erupted between members of the Hells Angels gang and a rival motorcycle gang known as the Vagos Motorcycle Club.

Vagos member Leonard Ramirez, 45, was shot in the abdomen and a second Vagos member, Diego Garcia, 28, was shot in the leg, police said.

Hells Angels member Cesar Villagrana, 36, was allegedly seen on video surveillance shooting into a crowd during the confrontation and was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and possession of a stolen firearm, police said.

“There’s been bad blood, from what I understand, with these two motorcycle clubs before, in different spots,” said Sparks mayor Geno Martini. “Something that carried one from somewhere else, I believe.”

A call to a Sparks police spokeswoman seeking comment was not immediately returned.

Gonzalez, an alleged member of the Vagos gang, shot the 51-year-old Pettigrew four times in the back, according to authorities.

(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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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.)

Comments (6)
  1. Angela says:

    Smart move. Better get caught by Police and extradite to Nevada then to have HAs and other clubs seeking him out.

  2. CMMV says:

    an eye for an eye right? live by the sword die by the sword.
    let the biker judicail system come in on this one.

  3. mike says:

    only cowards shoot people in the back.turn the coward over to the HA’s.

  4. James Benoit says:

    Gotta agree, this guy was and is in more danger from the Hell’s Angels than from the P.D. If/when he goes to prison he won’t last 2 days. The A.B. will do him in…rock, hard place.

  5. Gene Strickland says:

    I hope he don’t last 2 days, I met and knew Jethro and he was a good, decent
    human being, he meant no harm to anyone that didn’t tread on him or club values, such a shame………….