Asheville Firefighter Shot Bicyclist

Saw this on the Roadies’ site. Yikes!

Officers Say Pair Argued Over Child Safety

Michael Bean, WYFF News 4 Producer
7:37 am EDT July 27, 2009

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — A driver, now identified as an Asheville firefighter, shot a bicycle rider because he was angry the man was riding with his child on a busy road, Asheville police said.

The shooting happened Sunday morning on Tunnel Road.

Officers said the victim was riding with his wife and had his 3-year-old son in a child seat attached to his bicycle when a driver approached him.

Police said the driver, Charles Diez, claimed he was upset that the victim was bike riding with his child on the heavily traveled Tunnel Road.

Diez pulled a gun and opened fire, hitting the victim in his bicycle helmet, according to police.

They said the bullet penetrated the outer lining of the helmet but did not actually hit the victim’s head.

Police arrested Diez and charged him with attempted first degree murder.

His bond was set at $500,000.

Diez has been a firefighter with the Asheville Fire Department since 1992, according to officials.

On Monday, they confirmed he has been placed on paid investigative leave pending the outcome of this investigation.

Copyright 2009 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

6 replies
  1. Keri
    Keri says:

    This is a product of the belief that certain roads are too dangerous for cycling. Effective cyclists know we can operate safely on high speed roads. But the superstition and mythology persist even within the cycling community.

    Self-righteous motorists think it is their place to enforce that belief system. This is extreme. It’s usually just harassment.

    The belief at the core of this issue is that motorists can’t pay attention to the road in front of them.

    Motorists operate on the road by privilege — they are licensed supposedly after proving that they are competent to operate according to the rules and not endanger others.

    But let’s eliminate the cyclists.

  2. Nicole
    Nicole says:

    I grew up in Orlando but now live and cycle in Greenville, SC which is where the news outlet that covered this story is… and most of the comments on the article have been posted by drivers in the Greenville community out-raged at those of us who cycle… I also cycle in Chattanooga, TN where a driver came at the cyclists as fast as possible this past Saturday… threw his car in reverse…. and took another pass pushing people off the road and hitting one cyclist. Last week a driver got home, pulled out his shotgun and opened fire sending cyclists diving into ditches and sprinting off as fast as possible. Maybe the increased rage/hostility is due to the increased number of less experienced cyclists on the road during Le Tour… But it has many of us who put in 100+ miles/week rather spooked. Whatever you do, don’t ride alone and be sure to not just know the rules of the road for cyclists… but follow them.

  3. john
    john says:

    The POLITICS of infrastructure and what is perceived to be safety issues reduced to a “road rage” explanation? Until cyclists are provided with fair and effective laws-enforcement and a seat at the bargaining table, this type of idiocy will continue to discourage many potential cyclists from using public roads. Will riding with my sons on SUV-truck-car filled roads now require me to wear a bullet proof helmet? Raising Free Range children now requires designating step parents asap?

    In MO a dealer (motto is “God, Guns, Guts and American Pick-Up Trucks”) is offering a FREE Rusky AK-47 with a purchase of a new pickup. I suppose using a loaded gun is still seen as a punishable crime while cars are not… but both are weapons of deterrence and destruction.

  4. Safe Cyclist
    Safe Cyclist says:

    The North Carolina firefighter incident might indicate a broader problem of negative bicycle attitudes among safety employees across many cities. An example is Southern California’s Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD) that is located above a state wetlands preserve used by thousands of bicyclists each week. Both traffic signals entering into the California state preserve have been altered to not detect bicycles. Newport Beach’s Principal Civil Engineer Tony Brine and Traffic Engineer George Bernard replied to my email that the left-turn signal at the south entrance had been set back to not detect bicycles. For over a decade, motion sensors had detected bicycles to safely use the left lane to enter the California state preserve. NBPD police vehicles hide in a condominium driveway to chase bicyclists and fabricate vehicle citations. At the other preserve’s entrance, the bicycle button has been disconnected. If only one car is using the light, a bicyclist has four seconds on the green phase and one second for the yellow pause. The situation is dangerous. A bicycle cannot even make it across three lanes to the median, and has to do a 360 degree turn back to the curb as the traffic roars. Meanwhile, police cars park at the corner gas station. Mayor Ed Selich is not interested in bicycling. In a telephone call with Sergeant Mike James, he supported police engagement in chasing bicyclists at non-detecting signals. California has Statute AB-1581 for bicycle detection of traffic signals upon first placement or replacement. Sgt. James was oblivious to Statute AB-1581. During a similar call with Lieutenant Steve Shulman, he laughed. Lt. Shulman sent me a letter recommending that bicycles first test left-turn signals and then go across the traffic to the pedestrian button. While using the Lieutenant Shulman’s recommendation, a Newport Beach Fire Department paramedics van turned in front of me while at the median in a crosswalk. And a Park Ranger in a NBPD vehicle cut me off in a crosswalk at a local high school. His windows were rolled up, but I could read his lips yelling “Get out of there”. City employees and safety officers have to get over resisting bicycles for everyone’s safety.

  5. Eric
    Eric says:

    So here is what happened in this case.

    First the guy was charged with attempted first degree murder, but the grand jury refused to indict since that charge requires premeditation and deliberation.

    So then he was charged with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, a charge that presumptively brings a 20-39 month sentence.

    He pleaded guilty to that charge and was sentenced to 4 months.

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