Hells Angels Funeral Shooting

October 17, 2011

All Posts, News

The September 23 shootout at the John Ascuaga’s Nugget casino in Sparks, Nevada claimed another life Saturday. Steve Tausan, 52 (above), Sergeant at Arms for the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club San Jose charter was shot twice and killed by a still unidentified assailant while both men attended the funeral service for Jeffrey “Jethro” Pettigrew, former President of the San Jose charter.

The shooting occurred before Pettigrew’s interment at about 12:50 p.m. at the Oak Hill Funeral Home and Memorial Park in San Jose. The shooting occurred as Pettigrew’s remains were being loaded into a hearse. Tausan was pronounced dead at an unidentified hospital about 45 minutes later.

Pettigrew had been shot and killed during a brawl between members of the Hells Angels and members of the Vagos Motorcycle Club in the Sparks casino September 23. Police have accused a San Jose Vago named Ernesto Manuel Gonzalez of shooting Pettigrew four times in the back.

Four Thousand Mourners

A Hells Angel patch holder named Cesar Villagrana was arrested after the Spartks brawl and accused of possessing a stolen weapon and of discharging that weapon during the casino fight. Villagrana attended Pettigrew’s funeral along with approximately 4,000 other mourners including numerous Hells Angels charter Presidents, retired Hells Angel Ralph “Sonny” Barger and Steve Tausan’s nine-year-old son. Numerous other children and women attended the service.

Tausan was shot in a driveway outside the funeral home. Tausan became involved in a heated argument with another mourner about the Sparks brawl. Tausan argued in defense of a friend who was not at the funeral. The argument was about the actions of motorcycle club member the night Pettigrew died. The argument became a one sided fist fight. Tausan, a former middleweight boxer, was significantly larger than his opponent.

.22 Two Shots

After the smaller man was knocked down, he pulled a .22 caliber revolver from inside his vest. He fired two shots at least 15 seconds apart. Conflicting accounts indicate that the shooter was probably subdued at the scene and then disappeared in the confusion that followed. The shooter was a patched member of a widely respected motorcycle club.

Hells Angels immediately carried Tausan to the police perimeter that surrounded the service. As Tausan was being carried away, according to witnesses, an unidentified member of a major motorcycle club shouted that the blame for the shooting should be laid at the feet of a club member who had done something “cowardly in Reno.”

Police immediately sealed the cemetery but the funeral proceeded anyway. After the service, mourners who were not members of the Hells Angels were allowed to leave and Angels were detained.

Police later alleged that the shooting scene had been “tampered with.” Police have not named a suspect and have not yet recovered a weapon. The shooter’s identity and whereabouts are unknown. The shooter was not a member of the Vagos Motorcycle Club, the Mongols Motorcycle Club, or a member of any motorcycle club affiliated in any way with either the Vagos or the Mongols.


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22 Responses to “Hells Angels Funeral Shooting”

  1. Oregon rick Says:

    He was a good brother and a caring father. He deserves respect and honor and for everyone to remember his love and loyalty to the club and his family.I did not personally know him, but those I know who knew him spoke very well of him. He should be remembered as a good and loyal brother, and spoken of with respect. I for one believe he had earned that. Love and respect to his family and brothers.

  2. beaner Says:

    Im 6o years old and more then likeky about to move on and I have to say a true biker lives to ride not to cause shit.

  3. Dave-O Says:

    Thank you for the info Rebel. I was confused when I read that as I knew Barger was an active member of the Cave Creek charter and I had heard nothing in regards to retirement. Not an outlaw, just a biker, but grew up in Oakland while Barger still lived there. If I ever see him again Ill have to thank him for having his dogs scare the shit out of me every time I passed his house when I’d walk to school as a kid.

  4. Rebel Says:

    Dear Dave-O,

    Because he refers to himself as retired from the club. He is a member and I can’t imagine any circumstance in which he would not be a Hells Angel. But if he calls himself retired I will call him that.


  5. Dave-O Says:


    Why is Sonny Barger referred to as “retired” in the article?

  6. TigGirl Says:

    “Hells Angels immediately carried Tausan to the police perimeter that surrounded the service.”


    I was told that the ambulance arrived very quickly, but the police made them wait outside the perimeter 20 minutes. One officer was overheard saying “let him bleed out.”

    Thanks for all you do,

  7. troyez Says:

    I can’t speak to the Sullivan deal. I’m just praying for the little kid that saw his dad murdered last weekend.

  8. any time Says:

    The Sullivan family can sleep well for the rest of there lives. Steve wouldn’t mess with my family big jack would agree

  9. Parallax View Says:

    Oh yeh, buy the way Biker Hemmingway, it’s about time you got back on the job. What do you think we pay you for anyway ?

  10. Parallax View Says:

    Well….what can you say about any of this shit anyway ? It’s a good thing it’s not that high on the media horizon. It just makes things just that much harder when your trying to keep a relitivly low profile, and looking a little on the motley side at best .

  11. Roy Buchanan Says:

    Yeah Troy, while you’re at it you can pray for the family of Kevin Sullivan.

  12. troyez Says:

    I pray for the son and family of Mr. Tausan, they’re hurting and need all of our prayers and thoughts right now. Whoever “Any time” is, he needs to chill out; whatever beef he had with the deceased is over now and any harsh words only serve to bring pain to the family and friends of Mr. Tausan, in particular a 9 year-old boy who just witnessed the death of his dad. Pray for them, people, if you would.

  13. BigV Says:

    RVN69: Thanks for saying it. It means nothing coming from me, as I’m not a patch, it means everything for you to say it.

    It’s time for the people who comment on this site to limit their input to condolences. It’s none of our goddamn business what went on, and the only reason anyone would ask questions or post further inflammatory remarks is if they are cops who are trying to light something off.

    In 20 years, some snitch like Alex Caine is going to write a book about how he helped the Alphabet Agencies set this in motion.

    This was instigated by the Feds, pure and simple.

    I’m not a patch so my opinion don’t mean shit, but if it did mean anything, I’d say everyone, everywhere should take a step back and question the motives of anyone who tries to instigate anything.

    But, then again, supporters should be seen when asked and never heard.

    So I’m going to STFU.

    The Red and White have my condolences.


  14. RVN69 Says:

    I think Rebel has done a good job of walking a very fine line in this incident. This incident is club business that involves no one but the club involved, anyone who doesn’t understand that doesn’t understand the outlaw life.

    Honesta Mors, Turpi Vita Potior.

  15. anon Says:

    Henry K. Lee just posted a new report identifying the alleged shooter and that the alleged shooter may be dead.


    Another report has the following little gem:

    “Investigators say they dug up Pettigrew’s grave to see if [alleged funeral shooter] may have been killed and buried there, but didn’t find anything.”


  16. Rebel Says:

    Dear Just Sayin’

    Yeah. I was vague and I know you have to read between the lines. And yeah, I know more than I said. So, please read carefully between these lines and you stand a good chance of getting past the cop proof code.

    1) I have no intention of assisting the police in any investigation into this regretable incident because to the best of my knowledge this was entirely Hells Angels club business. Okay, you got that part?

    2) I have no intention of jeapordizing any defense in any current, high profile case against anyone who was there by identifying who said what, when and for how long. Okay? Got that part? I wasn’t there. Anything I say is just hearsay. If you are still stumped think of a of high profile, West Coast case involving the Angels that has broken in the last month. As far as I know there have been two: Sparks and the Ottinger case in San Diego.

    3) I do not believe that the police will ever solve Tausan’s murder. Okay? The shooter was obviously someone who knew Tausan because the two guys had an argument that led to a dustup. Okay? Whoever this guy was, he seems to have disappeared into thin air. Okay? When last seen he was not riding a motorcycle and he was not wearing a helmet. He was wearing a baseball cap which some person, from some club on some planet put on his head. Okay? The “unidentified member of the major motorcycle club” obviously had first hand knowledge of what happened in Sparks and he lectured an audience of mostly Hells Angels about it for more than a minute. Okay? Some people might even recognize his name. Okay?

    Personally, I don’t need to know anymore than that this is HA club business. Some members of that motorcycle club might think that some of their club brothers held their mud in Sparks and possibly some other guys might not have. It is for HA to decide. It was a funeral for a club brother and people were emotional and upset.

    The cops reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle is a guy named Henry K. Lee. Somebody has been very chatty with that guy. I read yesterday that the argument that precipitated the shooting was over who was supposed to ensure security for Jethro Pettigrew in Sparks. I did not say that. I read that. This morning, Fox TV station KTVU in Reno is reporting “Sources tell KTVU he was slain by a member of the San Jose Hells Angels.”

    Like I have said, this is HA club business. When Henry Lee or Fox News or somebody pours more of this mess on the ground for everybody to see I will probably have to write more about it.


  17. Just sayin' Says:

    Rebel, I realize what is club business and what’s not and as you put it clearly, when clubs in general start “thinning out the herd” in public people notice real quick.

    A few curious unresolved questions.

    “Tausan argued in defense of a friend who was not at the funeral. The argument was about the actions of motorcycle club member the night Pettigrew died.”

    Was the argument over a brother or a “friend” of another club?

    “An unidentified member of a major motorcycle club shouted that the blame for the shooting should be laid at the feet of a club member who had done something “cowardly in Reno.”

    What’s the deal here? Who was the HA patch talking about? All seems just a lot on the vague side Rebel.

    Thank you for your diligence.

  18. YYZ Skinhead Says:

    God help those brothers the two left behind and their families, especially that poor litle boy.

  19. rollinnorth Says:

    Condolences to his family. Respect to his club.
    Thanks, Rebel. Keep up the good work.

  20. BigV Says:

    Anytime: Sounds like I hear a hog call. I think it’s for you.

  21. any time Says:

    san jose steve huh wow he terrorized alot of people in that town they where mostly little guys his own prospect and patchholders he was never a good boxer he was a better doorman always had a dark cloud over him it was wierd. thats how the saying goes die by the gun

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