Shots Fired

Called 911 today.

Rode up the gravel hill to the upper parking lot to find a white s10, a teenage girl looking like she just woke up and a boy in camo.  Nodded, said hello.  Noted the sheepish grin on the girls face.  Figured I had maybe  just missed something which I was glad I had missed.  I turned and continued up the road past the gate.  Noticed a newspaper on a tree but did not think much of it.  Cleaned the tough climb, remembering how hard it used to be, enjoyed most of a lap.  Then boom!

Real BOOM.  I'm familiar with gun fire.  I'm not a sportsman but I've spent some time shooting and gone hunting more than a few times with friends.  This was way loud, and close.  I stopped, listened, scanned the forest.  It had been so close that the words "warning shot" crossed my mind.  Straddled my bike and waited.  BOOM.  The same as the first.  BOOM again.  I thought while I scanned the woods, the shooter had to be so close.  What were the shooting at?  How close were the shots?  BOOM.  Decision, I called out and walked the 40 or 50 steps up to the main road.  I was now about 100 yards up the road (above the aforementioned gate).  The same access road used by people on horseback, walking their dog.  The one I had countless times come down on my bike to leave the trails.  The one that my friend's kids, families, pets etc. all use.  The tree with the paper on it was just to my right and there were now two cars, two more boys down by the truck now with a military style rifle steadied on the tonneau cover.  It was aimed up the hill towards that tree, and me.

I went straight down that hill and explained my point of view.  Took a couple of pictures.

Called 911.  They had lots of questions for me.  I must have answered them wrong because 70 minutes later nothing had happened, I called back.  The operator said, "It is legal for them to be shooting on that land"...  Yes, I knew this, hadn't I explained to you that they were doing so in an unsafe manner and also hadn't I called 911?  Doesn't that merit a response?  Even if you are telling me my call was frivolous doesn't every 911 call merit a response?  I, and this is embarassing as well as recorded somewhere, somewhat lost it with the operator.  She told me that her supervisor would call me (which has not yet happened).  Eventually an officer came, I spoke to him.  He hadn't been told anything other than that I was complaining they were shooting.  Explained that they were shooting uphill, with an upward trajectory and into a multi-use area.  He investigated?  I went to work.  I haven't heard anything more.  I have felt awful since.  I don't know how to reconcile the complete disregard/disinterest shown mainly by the 911 operator with my fear of getting shot while riding my bike.

I think tomorrow I will go back and finish my ride.  Perhaps by doing so I can get the pit in my stomach to go away. I do not think I'll ever ride directly down the upper part of that road again.


  1. There doesn't seem much you can do about WHAT happened but maybe by contacting the land manager (I assume it's public land?) you can influence what WILL happen in the future?
    Currently not a good situation....but be ready to accept the outcome that maybe the land manager will restrict foot and bike traffic and allow the guns?

  2. Exactly, that possibility had limited my options... don't want to be the guy who makes that outcome official.