San Jose police say they conducted a search in Stockton today for a man suspected of fatally shooting a Hells Angels member at a funeral but were unable to locate him. Police received a tip that suspect Steve Ruiz was hiding out on the 3700 block of McDougal Road in Stockton. An extensive search of the area was conducted, but Ruiz remains at large, Sgt. Jason Dwyer said. Ruiz, a 33-year-old San Jose resident, is suspected of killing Steve Tausan, 52, also of San Jose, during an altercation at the Oak Hill Cemetery on Curtner Avenue in San Jose on Saturday Oct. 15.
The shooting occurred during a funeral for Jeffrey Pettigrew, the 51-year-old president of the Hells Angels’ San Jose chapter, who was killed at a casino in Sparks, Nev. On Sept. 23. Ruiz disappeared after the shooting, leaving behind his motorcycle. There was some speculation that he was dead but police said Friday that they had confirmed that he was still alive and “actively evading law enforcement.” He is thought to be with a female acquaintance, Christel Renee Trujillo, who also goes by the last name Ferguson. Before the shooting, police said Ruiz, a member of the Hells Angels San Jose chapter, got into a fight with an “unpatched” member of the motorcycle gang in which he was knocked to the ground and kicked in the head.
That fight took place in the parking lot outside of the chapel as Pettigrew’s coffin was in the process of being moved to the burial site. Ruiz’s friends picked him up and brushed him off and in the meantime, someone went to find Tausan to confront Ruiz. Tausan then came to Ruiz and the two got into a fight. Ruiz took out a handgun and shot Tausan, police said. Police said Tausan was a “confirmed or validated member of the Hells Angels” motorcycle club. Several Hells Angels members “destroyed evidence,” and were uncooperative or confrontational with police, hampering the investigation, police 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,” police said. Ruiz is considered armed and dangerous and Trujillo’s life may be in danger, police said today. Police believe Ruiz had two black eyes and other facial injuries after the funeral. 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.
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