Another fatal shooting of a bike rider in Long Beach; should we care?

Does it really matter?

According to the Long Beach Press-Telegram, an unidentified man was shot and killed in Long Beach around 7:30 Saturday night; or rather, the authorities have not publicly released the victim’s ID yet.

Police found the victim on the 1300 block of Atlantic Avenue after responding to reports of shots fired; he was taken to a nearby hospital where he died of his wounds. Witnesses report he’d been riding his bike when he was shot, though police could not confirm that. However, a bike is clearly visible lying in the street in the news photos.

No description was available for the suspect(s), who remain at large. Police do not yet know if the shooting was gang related.

Chances are, though, it was.

Not because of any stereotypes about the location, though Long Beach has long had a gang problem, just like many or most cities in Southern California. But because most street shootings involve gang ties in some way.

Of the six — now seven — fatal shootings of cyclists in SoCal this year, at least four were suspected of being gang-related. One in Silver Lake last April involved an alleged gang member as the shooter, though the victim — and the reason for the shooting — had nothing to do with gangs. And last I heard, another April shooting, this time in San Diego, did not appear to be gang-related.

So what do these deaths have to do with the greater cycling community?

In most, if not all of these cases, the victims were not targeted because they were on a bike; the bike was merely the form of transportation they were using at the time.

That’s the argument several people have used in encouraging me not to give the same coverage to cases like this that I do to other cycling deaths. And why I no longer include shootings in my stats on cycling fatalities, instead separating them into their own category apart from traffic-related deaths.

Still others have questioned whether shooting victims should be honored with a ghost bike. Or if they should be, if not ignored by cyclists, at least not afforded the same concern and respect we show other fallen riders.

And should his death matter any less to us if it does turn out to be gang-related than if he was the victim of a road rage attack, killed precisely because he was on a bike and in the way?

My personal opinion is that all deaths matter, and that as cyclists, we should all be concerned when any one of us falls, for whatever reason.

For at least a moment, at the time of his death, this man was riding a bike. He was, however briefly or for whatever reason, one of us.

And he is now dead, like too many others. Whether they were victims of guns, or cars. Or their own riding errors.

He was one of us, and now he is gone.

So what do you think?

Should we care?

Or simply turn our heads and look the other way?

Update: the victim of the shooting has been identified as 29-year old Reynard Lionell Fulton of Palmdale.

9 comments

  1. Jim Lyle says:

    “He was one of us…”

    Amen

  2. George@large says:

    We should care about anyone riding a bicycle who goes down for whatever reason.

  3. Louie says:

    I think we should care. That’s black and white. The loss of human life must always be mourned (or at the very least, NOT celebrated).

    How much we should care is very much a grey scale. A cycling advocate/enthusiast killed by a road rager? I’d care very much and fight tooth and nail for justice. That jerk on a fixie who played chicken with my friend’s spouse who died because he ran a red light? I’d just feel bad and pray for the people in his life who will probably miss him.

  4. Allan says:

    Carry on like everyone has been doing. Which is not to give a f**K and assumed the fatality was a gang member and the shooting was gang related.

  5. [...] Does It Matter to Cyclists When Other Cyclists Are Gunned Down? (Biking In L.A.) [...]

  6. Digital Dame says:

    I hope nothing I’ve said was construed as meaning I didn’t care about someone who was killed by being shot while biking. Of course it’s tragic, I just don’t think the fixes that cycling activists pursue to make cycling safer (bike lanes, sharrows, anti-harrassment laws, police taking seriously complaints of cyclists, etc.) will do anything against gang violence, whether directed at someone on a bike or on foot, or in car. If he was shot BECAUSE he was on a bike, by some anti-cyclist, bike-hating cretin, then yes, for statistics it would be the same. This was a murder, not a Thompson-style attack directed at a cyclist. I’m just saying the cause and the cure in these instances can’t be addressed by cycling advocacy.

    • Allan says:

      “I hope nothing I’ve said was construed as meaning I didn’t care about someone who was killed by being shot while biking.”

      I’m confused, you wrote the article? I was under the impression that it was Ted’s?

      I live close to that area, 1.4 miles as the bicycle hating gang-member drives. I take both Linden Ave and Lime Ave traveling north/south and recall a police car there that night, but I was figuring it was some traffic infraction or an accident there at the time.

      I just get really pissed how people can be such “experts” as to what is gang-related and what isn’t, and how and what they use to make this conclusion. Basically if the fatality is on a bike and was shot, then it’s gang-related. And extra points if it happens in an area that has gang activity.

      Even with some of the people I deal with here in LB, it’s the same dodgy conclusions made. Lesson learned, don’t be “caught” on a bike, take the car instead!

      • bikinginla says:

        I think Digital Dame was referring to an earlier comment, or perhaps prefacing the comments she was about to make. I take full responsibility for this post, for better or for worse.

        I don’t assume this, or any other, shooting is gang-related; however, under the circumstances that is often the most likely explanation. It could just as easily be a robbery or road rage. And regardless of the reason, it is no less tragic.

        One of the two non-gang related shootings I referred to was the death of Manuel Santizo in Silver Lake. Even though the police initially thought it was gang-related, it just didn’t seem like a gang shooting. In the end, they concluded that even though the suspect was a gang member, Santizo wasn’t and the shooting was the result of a personal dispute.

        So even the police can get it wrong.

        My take is that a cyclist on a bike is more vulnerable to a shooting, just as we are in traffic situations.

      • Digital Dame says:

        Thank you, Ted, I was in fact referring to a comment I made on another post of yours several weeks ago now. It was another case of someone being shot while on a bike, and I had asked at the time something to the effect of did it count for statistical purposes as a biking accident.

        I’m sorry to have confused you, Allan.

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