A B.C. cyclist was shot and wounded Sunday near the small community of Spences Bridge while taking part in the Cache Creek 600, a timed endurance event.
RCMP are asking for public assistance in investigating the incident, in which the male cyclist received serious, but non-life-threatening injuries.
The injured man is Craig Premack of Burnaby. A family member said Sunday that the 59-year-old Mr. Premack had been released from hospital Sunday but would be returning to a Lower Mainland hospital for surgery for an injured arm.
Some cyclists had already completed the event when they heard about the incident, news of which raced through the tight-knit community of B.C. randonneurs, or marathon cyclists.
“It is kind of shocking – I know everyone on the ride and I had just been there [where the shooting took place],” Ryan Golbeck, a past president of the B.C. Randonneurs Cycling Club, said on Sunday.
The club organized the event, in which cyclists rode from Pitt Meadows to Cache Creek and back, stopping at designated checkpoints along the way.
The RCMP say the shooting took place at about 1 a.m. Sunday on Highway 1 about three kilometres south of Spences Bridge, a community with fewer than 200 residents.
Mr. Golbeck, who completed the event in just under 24 hours and had returned home by the time he heard about the incident, said it is not uncommon for cyclists on randonnée events to ride at night.
Hotel owner Ray Nigalis, whose hotel was a checkpoint in the 600-kilometre event, said he called police after a woman came in to the hotel saying a cyclist had been shot and was wounded on the road nearby.
Police at first asked if the cyclist might have been hit by a rock or injured in some other way, said Mr. Nigalis, who kept his hotel – the Inn At Spences Bridge – open late to provide food and rest to cyclists taking part in the event.
“People are trying to make sense of it, but how do you make sense of a random act of violence,” he said.
The RCMP said Sunday that they don’t have a suspect in relation to the investigation.
“We have established the what, when, where – we are still looking for the who and why. Those are the biggest questions that everybody wants answered,” RCMP Constable Kris Clark said.
Police are describing the incident as random.
“There is no information that would suggest to us that it is a targeted incident, at least at this point in the investigation … if it is not a targeted event, the only other conclusion is that it is random,” Constable Clark said.
Part of the roadway was closed after the incident as a result of the investigation.
The incident took place on a weekend when cyclists were out in numbers across the country for events including the 30th Tour de l’Île de Montreal and the Ride for Heart in Toronto.
With a report from The Canadian Press