The president of the San Jose chapter of the Hells Angels motorcycle club — and a San Jose city employee — was killed Friday night during a shootout inside a Nevada casino with a rival outlaw motorcycle club, officials said.
Jeffrey “Jethro” Pettigrew, 51, worked for 20 years as a heavy equipment operator for the city’s Department of Transportation. But San Jose police know him as the charismatic local leader of the notorious biker club that law enforcement has long identified as one of the most powerful and influential criminal motorcycle gangs.
Local police and other gang experts predicted that Friday’s homicide, which sources said has been attributed to members of the Vagos Motorcycle Club, could presage further bloodshed.
“In the outlaw motorcycle gang culture, Jeff Pettigrew was a local icon in San Jose, a very well-respected member within the ranks of the Hells Angels,” said San Jose police Sgt. Larry Day, who has investigated biker clubs.
This incident could definitely result in retaliation against the Vagos, and a full-blown war that may result in deadly violence in San Jose and throughout California.”
The shootout on the casino floor of John Ascuaga’s Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks recalls the infamous motorcycle club gunfight at Harrah’s Casino & Hotel in Laughlin, Nev., in 2002. In that showdown, members of the Hells Angels and the Mongols motorcycle clubs fought each other, leaving one Mongol and two Hells Angels dead on the casino floor.