A 59-year-old Burnaby cyclist is in stable condition after he was shot while riding in the Cache Creek 600 randonneur event early Sunday morning.
Lytton RCMP said Craig Premack was shot as he pedalled southbound along Hwy 1 about 3 km north of Spences Bridge at 1 am. He was riding in the Cache Creek 600, an annual event put on by the B.C. Randonneurs Cycling Club. Participants rode from Pitt Meadows to Cache Creek and back. They had the option of completing the route in two days with an overnight stay in Spences Bridge or Boston Bar or riding non-stop. A series of control stops along the way logged their progress.
Premack was hit in the forearm and suffered serious but non-life threatening injuries, said Cst. Kris Clark of the RCMP’s South East District.
Clark said the victim was riding alone at the time with lights and reflectors to make him visible to passing motorists. He was found by a couple of other cyclists riding in the same event moments after it happened and then transported to a local hospital for treatment. He was released Monday, but it is expected he will need more surgery on his arm.
The suspect reportedly fled the scene in a pickup truck but Clark said they had no description of either the gunman or the getaway vehicle. He said the shooting is not believed to have been targeted.
News of the incident reverberated throughout the cycling community.
“Never in my wildest dreams,” said Rob Scrimgeour, a long-distance cyclist from Victoria, on the BC Randonneurs Internet discussion forum. “I have no words to describe my emotions about this.”
Ken Bonner, another member of the BC Randonneurs from Victoria called the shooting “shocking” and he hoped the suspect could be found quickly.
“It should not be too difficult as there can’t be that many sharp-shooters around who can hit a moving target in the dark,” said Bonner.
“Bad enough having to worry about careless drivers,” said Dave Hamel, from Toronto, on Twitter.
“As if riding 600 km in 20 hours isn’t hard enough, you have to deal with rednecks shooting cyclists?” said Dave Harvey, a Vancouver cyclist, on Twitter.
According to an informal tally of cyclists’ achievements in the randonneurs’ forum, Premack has completed more than two dozen rides of at least 200 km. He’s also participated in the Tour Transalp, a gruelling 800 km seven-day stage race in the Alps mountains from Bavaria to Lake Garda in Italy.
The investigation is ongoing and police are looking to speak with anyone who has any information regarding the incident, the suspect or the pickup truck.
Anyone with any information is asked to call the Lytton RCMP at 250-455-2225 or remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).