Hells Angels Officer Steve Tausan Killed at Biking Friend's Funeral

A sergeant-at-arms for the motorcycling Hells Angels was shot to death this weekend at a San Jose, Calif., graveyard where thousands were witnessing the burial of another Hells Angels member, gunned down last month at a Nevada casino.

Steve Tausan, 52, a bail bondsman, was killed Saturday. Tausan was nicknamed "Mr. 187," the number that California penal code attaches to murder cases, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

Tausan, had been tried and acquitted in 1997's lethal beating of a Pink Poodle strip club patron.

Although California news outlets have identified Saturday's shooting victim as Tausan, San Jose Police Officer Jose Garcia said his department will not disclose a name until the coroner's autopsy is complete and the victim's family has been officially notified.

Joining the throngs of mourners at Oak Hill Memorial Park Saturday, Tausan was attending the funeral of his longtime friend, Jeffrey "Jetho" Pettigrew, a municipal backhoe operator and president of San Jose's Hells Angels chapter.

The fatal shots directed at Pettigrew last week had sent patrons of John Ascuaga's Nugget hotel and casino running for cover.

"As you can imagine, it was a large crowd. About 4,000 people were at the funeral. We're at square one, asking to the community to come forward" with information that may lead to the shooter, said Garcia, police spokesman.

Tausan had told the San Jose Mercury News that he had received death threats following Pettigrew's Sept. 23 murder, the newspaper reported.

That murder also prompted a state-of-emergency declaration in Sparks, near Reno, which allows law enforcement and other city officials to commandeer private property.

Gang rivalries, police suspect, have fueled the shootings.

The San Jose Police Department and Santa Clara County Sheriff Department have spent $1.8 million in legal settlements with the Hells Angels, which won a civil-rights lawsuit connected to what they argued were law enforcement's unnessarily wrecking their property, killing their dogs and frightening their children, The Associated Press reported.