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Slain member of Hells Angels was 'enforcer'

October 18, 2011 |  8:53 am

Slain member of Hells Angels was 'enforcer'

A Hells Angels member who was fatally shot at a San Jose funeral for a fellow biker killed at a Las Vegas casino was a high-up "enforcer" in the biker club, the Associated Press reported.

Steve Martin Tausan, 52, was shot and killed despite a heavy police presence at the funeral for Jeffrey Pettigrew, 51, president of the San Jose chapter of the Hells Angels.

The service was held Saturday at the Oak Hill Funeral Home & Memorial Park and drew an estimated 4,000 people.

Pettigrew was shot four times in the back by a member of the rival Vagos motorcycle gang during a brawl at a casino in Sparks, Nev.

Ernesto Manuel Gonzalez of San Jose was arrested on suspicion of murder in the case.

Ten Vagos members were arrested earlier this month on suspicion of drug trafficking and a rash of violence during law enforcement raids throughout the Inland Empire.

Tausan, a former Marine who worked as a bail bondsman, had a tattoo on his wrist that read "Mr. 187," referring to the California penal code section for murder, the AP reported.

His sister said he was the sergeant at arms for the Santa Cruz Hells Angels chapter.

He had been acquitted in 1999 of charges that he murdered another biker at a strip club where he worked as a bouncer.

Members of the Hells Angels sued police for what they called illegal raids of their homes after that killing. Tausan sued the strip club for reimbursement of his legal costs.

San Jose and Santa Clara County settled the bikers' suit for $1.8 million, and the strip club settled with Tausan.


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-- Abby Sewell

Photo: San Jose police briefly prevented bikers from leaving Oak Hill Funeral Home & Memorial Park cemetery in San Jose on Saturday. Credit: Patrick Tehan / San Jose Mercury News / MCT