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Cyclist flees gunman on Mount Lemmon as shots ring out

Maggie Vespa

Deputies say he was almost to the top of Mount Lemmon.

Cyclist flees gunman on Mount Lemmon as shots ring out

By Maggie Vespa. CREATED Aug 18, 2013

MOUNT LEMMON, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - A serene, weekend bike ride is cut short by gunshots.

It happened Saturday morning up on Mount Lemmon.
 
Nestled in nature, secluded from civilization, he was almost to the top.
 
"It's kind of eerie hearing about it," said visitor Ivan Ponce.
 
Little did this cyclist know, he was peddling toward peril.
 
"Around the ski lift area, he encountered a man," said Deputy Jesus Banuelos.
 
Pima County sheriff's deputies say it happened Saturday morning near Mount Lemmon's Ski Valley.
 
That man was alone.
 
He had a gun.
 
Deputies say the gunman told our cyclist to turn around and leave, but he kept peddling past anyway.  
 
As he rode away, gunshots rang out.
 
"He was unaware of where directly the man was shooting but did hear the gunshots," said Deputy Banuelos.
 
The cyclist dialed 9-1-1.
 
Deputies soon received a second call, reporting of a suicidal man at a nearby campground.
 
Family had taken the gun away from him.
 
Deputies soon determined this was their Ski Valley shooter.
 
They brought him into custody.
 
For some, it just proves no place is completely at peace.
 
"That could happen anywhere really; at a stoplight, at a grocery store for example," said visitor Leticia Diaz.
 
"Yeah, i'm more worried about killer bees or a bear," said hiker Cita Scott.
 
For others, the scare leaves a scar.
 
"It's secluded from the whole town and police stations," said Ponce.  "Thinking about crimes happening here, it makes me a little more nervous."
 
It was a frightening run-in that could have become a nightmare on Mount Lemmon.
 
Deputies brought the gunman to a medical facility.
 
No one was injured.
 
No charges have been filed, but if you are out in secluded areas-- take extra precaution. 
 
Let loved ones know where you will be, be aware of your surroundings, and carry a phone at all times.
 
If you see something suspicious, do as that cyclist did.  Get away, and dial 9-1-1.