Friday Night a Bloody One. Two Cyclists Shot in the Back on Different Rides (Updated)

(editor’s note: Some of the details of the Highland Park shooting have been left intentionally blank at the request of the ride organizers for their safety.  Keep that in mind in the comments section, please.  Update:  A couple of people have asked me for the address of the attack so that they could avoid that area on bicycle.  I can’t give the address of the alleged shooter, but can say the shot was fired at the intersection of Avenue 52 and Longfellow Street in Highland Park which is very, very close to the house in question.)

Last Friday night, a group of riders were pedaling through Highland Park when a group of alleged gangsters at a house party decided it would be a good time to mess with the riders by swinging baseball bats and shovels at them, trying to knock them off their bikes.  Usually when these attacks happen, riders take advantage of their two wheels and get away as quickly as possible; but when a young lady was knocked down, several riders went back to assist. 

The clubs versus U-Locks stalemate was broken when one of the alleged gangsters opened fire with a handgun, striking one of the cyclists in the back.  At that point, the attackers went back into their house and the police were summoned. 

Frantic posts on twitter on other bike message boards report that arrests were made, including the alleged shooter, and the victim was taken away by ambulance.  The bullet was partially slowed by the cyclists’ backpack and is currently lodged a quarter inch away from his spine.  Doctors are hoping that muscles work the bullet out naturally and don’t feel that he is in any immediate danger.  Following the ethics of these sort of rides, his friends have already returned his bicycle.

Across town, another cyclist was shot in the back while riding in Pacoima at almost the exact same time.  The LAPD reports he underwent surgery at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center just before 4 a.m. and was expected to survive.  There is no reason to suspect that the two incidents are related.

  • J

    You know it takes a real man to shoot and unarmed man in the back.

  • David Galvan

    Was the alleged shooter apprehended by the police?

  • Yes. I just added some text clarifying that.

  • Saturday night was much better – the Spoke(n) Art Ride went off without anyone taking a trip to the hospital. In fact, we had a really good time in the same neighborhood as that first shooting. Go figure. Cycling can be tough in L.A., and things like this really suck, but it is typically a pretty fun thing to do in the big city.

  • YES! Thank you ubrayj02 for your leadership on that one. It was a great night of art and bikes. I would have hated myself, had I stayed home out of fear. Ride On!

  • Here’s some more details from LAPD Compstat:
    Aggravated Assault
    Avenue 52 and Longfellow
    07-11-2009 01:10:00 AM
    #091116023:

    Hollenbeck Division: 323-526-3000
    Distance: 0.80 miles

    So this wasn’t exactly a daytime ride, but something in the middle of the night. Now everyone deserves to be safe at all hours of the day and night, but the approximate time it occurred is still important since you likely have a combination of alcohol and/or drugs, frayed nerves, and available weapons. Let’s not jump to conclusions that the neighborhood is unsafe for normal riders or anything here.

  • And while I understand the need to protect a certain group of folks who likes to ride bicycles in the owl period, it IS irresponsible not to note the time of the shooting or the approximate location of the shooting. Failure to do so just engenders fear among regular commuters and recreational riders who don’t participate in the militancy of this particular group.

  • Time of shooting? C’mon. The headline says “Friday Night a Bloody One” and later I refer to “group rides.” Does anyone that rides even remotely regularly and reads Streetsblog not know to whom and to what I’m referring?

    Second, I sort of mention the intersection the altercation occurred at with a link to a map of the area.

  • As an update. It wasn’t in the original post. And, as noted, Brayj’s art ride is MUCH, MUCH earlier than the one which was shot at. Sorry, I disagree with you there.

  • I see, you get the email which doesn’t have any of the updates. Yeah, that’s something else I need to fix. There’s a lot of quiet edits that happen to stories everyday that don’t get UPDATE added to the headline.

    I clearly agree with you that I should have put more information on the location of the attack since I updated before your comments and all I can say in my defense there is it’s hard to write an article intentionally leaving a lot of information out.

    The first draft had everything you wanted plus pictures, quotes from witnesses, etc…and it all got pulled out for this. If you read the article now you’ll also see a reference to the shooting occurring at “nearly the same time” as a late night shooting across town.

  • Then link to an article on one of the community blogs or the TV news. Don’t scare people away from something like Brayj’s event, which again ends at least two hours before this group even gets started. Most people are NOT going to be riding through these neighborhoods at 1 AM in the morning. Everyone deserves to be safe, BUT you need to understand the risk of riding through these kinds of neighborhoods like at night, when it’s just you and a few others with no witnesses, even sympathetic car drivers, outside of your group.

  • B!

    calwatch: while I agree with you that we should be mindful to not scare away everyday bike riders in these neighborhoods with exaggeration/misleading info, I disagree about the time-of-day argument and ‘normal’ riders. I was also on the art ride on Saturday night (thanks Ubrayj), which didn’t get to the Bike Oven until almost 11PM, and I didn’t leave until 12:30AM after grabbing some food, which meant I was cycling through Highland Park (thankfully with a friend) on my way home at roughly the same time of night as these events occurred. I don’t think Damien’s coverage skewed the info – attacks like these at any time of day are a threat to any cyclists that use these streets to get around.

  • Gotchaa

    I think you report the facts and let people decide. I for one am puzzled how some have become so apathetic to this kind of late night/Early morning attack regardless of where it occurs. Does it put it in perspective, yes, is it okay for us to just use common sense and avoid the area late at night? Probably, but is it really okay this goes on at all? If you live or work in the community get involved and help be part of the solution…

  • Not quite a bike accident… but added to the Bikewise Database anyway. Other people feel free to help me out on this…

  • DJwheels

    I made some calls to LAPD and the District Attorney’s Office to find out more about whatever happened with the Highland Park incident.

    All I could find out was that one adult male was arrested and convicted in November last year of assault with a deadly weapon and received a 3 year state prison term.

    Another male suspect was also arrested and charged with the shooting, but he is a minor and there are still ongoing hearings to determine if he is fit to be tried as an adult.

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