Man arrested in shooting death of Hells Angels boss

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 30, 2011 9:48 PM
Man arrested in shooting death of Hells Angels boss

By Stephen Ward

SPARKS, Nev (Reuters) - Police in San Francisco have arrested a man suspected in the shooting death of a Hells Angels motorcycle club chapter president during a brawl between rival bikers in Nevada last week, authorities said on Friday.

Ernesto Gonzalez, 53, was taken into custody on Thursday night by campus police at the University of California, San Francisco, and jailed to await a court hearing on a charge of being a fugitive from justice, according to police in Sparks, Nevada.

The suspect was picked up by a UCSF officer patrolling an area of campus hit by a recent string of car burglaries who spotted Gonzalez in a parked automobile and asked for his driver's license.

Running his ID through a criminal background system, the officer found Gonzalez was wanted in connection with the murder of Jeffrey Pettigrew, the head of the San Jose, California, chapter of the Hells Angels, Sparks police Sergeant Greta Woyciehowsky told Reuters.

According to Woyciehowsky, the suspect has previously been identified as a member of the San Jose Vagos motorcycle club, the group linked to the brawl and shooting at John Ascuaga's Nugget hotel and casino in Sparks last Friday night.

In addition to the death of Pettigrew, the shooting left two other bikers wounded.

Police were still investigating the brawl and a separate drive-by shooting in the area that left a third motorcyclist injured. The burst of violence prompted the city of Sparks, located near Reno, to cancel an annual fall motorcycle event in town.

At least one Hells Angels member was arrested on charges of assault with a deadly weapon and possession of a stolen firearm last weekend after he was seen on camera shooting into a crowd, though it was not determined whether anyone was hit by his gunfire, police said.

(Editing by Steve Gorman and Cynthia Johnston)