AUSTIN (KXAN) – Frank Prior is the owner of ATX Bikes in South Austin. A group of around 50 mountain bikers meet at his shop every Tuesday evening for a group ride in a network of trails behind the store’s shopping center off Slaughter Lane and the MoPac Expressway.
“Shortly after 6 [p.m.],” Prior said, “we heard gunshots. We heard a few of them.”
Prior said one person, who was planning to join the group, went out on the trail with his bike to warm up before the ride.
“He comes back distressed with a gunshot wound, informing us there’s someone out there with a gun who fired at him,” Prior said. “He wasn’t even aware he’d been hit at that point. But he sure enough was,” he recalled. Prior told KXAN that the cyclist had a straight-through wound near his elbow.
“The version that we heard is he’s spinning on the trail, and in what he described as an ambush – this person stepped out, pointed the weapon out and fired and continued to do so. He thinks it was more than three – about five shots,” Prior added.
This incident was part of a series of shootings Tuesday, where six people died and three, including the biker, were injured. The Austin Police arrested 34-year-old Shane James in connection with the homicides.
Prior said that the person who was shot is doing “fine” and that he came to ATX Bikes Wednesday morning to grab his bike. “We collected his bike because he had an ambulance trip and a hospital visit to make [Tuesday night]. [We’re] happy to report his bike is fine, and he’ll be okay,” Prior said.
Still, the group of bikers who intended to recreate with friends Tuesday are feeling shaken by the events.
“It’s not something you expect to see on a trail like this,” Prior continued. “A parking lot full of people who are ready to go have fun who are learning suddenly they’re all not safe, so [people were feeling] a lot of surprise.”
“I’m sure the people who still have their lives are happy about that. But, also, it’s a conflicting feeling being part of something where so many are left without their lives,” Prior said.