San Jose police took former Hells Angel Steve Ruiz (booking photo above) into custody about 7:30 p.m. Saturday night at a Days Inn in Fremont, California.
Last December San Jose police announced that Ruiz was “hiding” in either San Jose, Campbell, Fremont or Gilroy, California. “We believe he’s in any one of those cities,” a police spokesman said.
Ruiz is a suspect in the shooting death of a Hells Angel named Steve Martin “187” Tausan at a club funeral for San Jose charter President Jeffrey “Jethro” Pettigrew in San Jose’s Oak Hill Memorial Park October 15, 2011. Tausan was former member of the San Jose charter and the Sergeant at Arms for the club’s Santa Cruz charter.
Approximately 3,000 mourners attended Pettigrew’s funeral and the cemetery was surrounded by police. Tausan became embroiled in an argument with another Hells Angel at the service. Tausan knocked the man down. The man shot Tausan and was immediately disarmed by other mourners and stripped of his colors.
Some mourners carried Tausan to the police perimeter seeking first aid for the wounded man. Witnesses have accused San Jose police of delaying that aid. Tausan died within the hour and was buried in the same cemetery on October 29.
After Pettigrew’s funeral, police assumed Tausan’s killer had been murdered and his body had been concealed in Pettgrew’s coffin so Pettigrew was exhumed.
The next day police announced Ruiz was their only suspect. They stated that he was “actively avoiding arrest” with a woman named Christel Renee Trujillo and that the two were probably in a gold or pewter Chevrolet Suburban. At the time police said they believed Ruiz might have fled to New York or Arizona.
Police changed their story within days and announced that Ruiz was probably still in or around San Jose. Militarized police wrecked a house in Stockton on October 22 in an attempt to locate Ruiz.
Ruiz checked into the motel about 5:30 p.m. Saturday. A press announcement released Sunday morning simply stated, “On Saturday, February 25th, 2012, San Jose Police Homicide Detectives developed information in their investigation revealing Suspect Ruiz’s location.”
Two hours after Ruiz checked in at least 12 members of the San Jose Police “Covert Response Unit” arrived and surrounded the motel. One of the cops then called Ruiz from a phone in the motel lobby.
At a news conference Sunday, San Jose Police Sergeant Jason Dwyer said “They surrounded the Days Inn Motel, called him and he came out and surrendered without incident.” Dwyer also said, “It’s ironic that he didn’t flee very far.”
Dwyer was closed mouthed about how police found Ruiz other than to say that the officers who apprehended him had “worked 28 hours straight.” Dwyer added, “If someone helped him evade capture, we’re going to come after them.”
Ruiz was booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail.