Last Thursday night a campus cop at the University of California at San Francisco arrested Ernesto Manuel Gonzalez, 53, (photo above) for the murder of Hells Angel San Jose charter President Jeffrey “Jethro” Pettigrew, 51. Gonzalez is a member of the San Jose chapter of the Vagos Motorcycle Club.
Gonzalez was sitting in a parked Chevrolet Malibu with Washington state license plates about a block from the UCSF police station. He cooperated with the arresting officer and was taken into custody without incident. Afterward authorities gloated both that Gonzalez was very dangerous and that police had saved his life.
The arrest culminated a rough week for both the Vagos and the Hells Angels. Pettigrew died as a result of wounds suffered in a fight between what police have described as 60 Vagos and 12 Hells Angels near Trader Dick’s Lounge at John Ascuaga’s Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks, Nevada on September 23. Two Vagos, Leonard Ramirez and Diego Garcia were also shot during the altercation.
A Hells Angel named Cesar Villagrana was arrested at the scene on firearms related charges. Villagrana is being held in the Washoe County Jail on $500,000 bail. According to police, he has made no statements about the incident. The morning after Pettigrew’s death a Vago named Shane Smith was also shot while he rode his motorcycle near the casino in Sparks.
What Police Say
According to police, surveillance video taken during the fight shows Pettigrew “punching a Vagos member and then drawing a handgun as well and pistol whipping several subjects just prior to the exchange of gunfire.” Additional police statements describe Gonzalez walking up behind Pettigrew with a handgun while Pettigrew was fighting two Vagos.
Pettigrew was shot four times in the back and died at a Reno hospital of gunshot and stab wounds. Pettigrew lost one leg after a motorcycle accident 20 years ago. His police record was relatively clean. It consisted of one misdemeanor charge of carrying a concealed weapon.
There is no acknowledged connection by any source between the shooting September 23 and the shooting the next morning but public officials, who have done everything possible short of handing out nuclear weapons to entice the two motorcycle clubs to exterminate each other, tried to draw one. Sparks Police Sergeant Greta Woyciehowsky told reporters yesterday about the Smith shooting, “We had an individual that was dressed out in Vagos attire, in the color green, riding on a motorcycle and the people come up next to him in a car and shoot at him five times. I think you can reasonably assume that was an act of retaliation.”
According to Woyciehowsky, Gonzalez had just arrived in Sparks the day of the shooting. He was videotaped with other Vagos at a gas station in Applegate, California on his way to Sparks. A First Degree Murder warrant was issued for his arrest less than 12 hours before he was apprehended.
So far, facts have been difficult to separate from blather in this case.
Apparently, Washoe County, Nevada has a “counterterrorism unit” and the head of it, an Assistant Sheriff named Marshall Emerson was quoted in northern Nevada papers as saying, “In this particular case there was no credible information to indicate the event that had occurred was about to occur. If there was we would have taken immediate action to prevent that.”
Meanwhile, the San Jose Mercury-News quoted a San Jose police spokesman named Larry Day as saying, “In the outlaw motorcycle gang culture, Jeff Pettigrew was a local icon in San Jose, a very well-respected member within the ranks of the Hells Angels. This incident could definitely result in retaliation against the Vagos, and a full-blown war that may result in deadly violence in San Jose and throughout California.”
The clown-in-chief and principal crusader for a “full-blown war” has been a moron Nazi named Richard Gammick who, unfortunately, is the District Attorney who will prosecute the murder case against Gonzalez.
Blathering Clown In Chief
In 1999, Gammick ordered raids on newsrooms in Reno to search for evidence in another high profile case. The search warrants issued in those incidents were illegal and blatantly intended to intimidate local journalists. The raids violated the federal Privacy Protection Act of 1980 which forbids federal, state and local police from searching or seizing the “work product” and documentary materials of reporters, broadcasters and authors.
Despite that federal law, Gammick successfully trained journalists in and around Reno to repeat statements like: “If we’ve been able to identify him (meaning Gonzalez), there’s no doubt the Santa Clara Hells Angels chapter has been able to, too. He’s probably hiding out in a very small space.”
And, “What do you think is going to happen if the Hells Angels get their hands on him?”
While Gammick seemed determined to make Pettigrew’s death the inciting incident in an action movie titled Richard Gammick Saves Reno From Bikers, people who actually knew Jeffrey “Jethro” Pettigrew were too immersed in grief to enact their revenge on Gonzalez.
In a nice piece of work, Sean Webby of the Mercury-News talked to some of them.
Hans Larsen, Pettigrew’s boss at the San Jose Department of Transportation, told Webby he didn’t know or care that Pettigrew was a Hell’s Angel. “We have many employees who are motorcycle enthusiasts. What they do in their private lives doesn’t concern us as long as it doesn’t affect their work. From what I am hearing he was a nice person with a good attitude, very professional in his work and he did it well.”
Webby also talked to Pettigrew’s daughter, Summer Jean Pettigrew. When Jethro Pettigrew died he had his daughter’s name tattooed on his wrist. “He was always there for me – if I broke up with someone or I lost my job or I had a flat tire or my hair color turned out wrong,” Summer Pettigrew said. “It wasn’t this big scary biker with a Tony Soprano mentality. He took me to my first Britney Spears concert. By himself. Wearing his Hells Angels stuff. And he knew the songs.”