“Only in Santa Cruz could you have biker wars over who’s going to control pumpkin spice lattes,” says Santa Cruz deputy police chief Steve Clark. “It was all about who could hang out at Starbucks.”
The war began in January 2010 when the Hells Angels and rival motorcycle club Vagos tangled outside the Starbucks.
Those participating in the melee scattered before police arrived but the war had started and the death toll has mounted since then, spreading into Nevada with clashes that have left the president of the San Jose Hells Angels chapter — Jeffrey Pettigrew, 51 — dead and a Vagos member wounded. Another Vagos biker went down the next day in a drive-by shooting.
The fight has grown so intense that the Hells Angels turned on one of their own, killing Pettigrew’s friend and San Jose sergeant-at-arms Steven Tausan, 52, at the funeral for the club president.
Tausan’s fellow Hells Angels apparently felt he had not protected Pettigrew.
“It’s a war, pure and simple,” says California State Police gang investigator John Haskell. “Outlaw motorcycle gangs will eat their own if need be to make a point.