SURREY, B.C. — A cyclist who was shot during an overnight race in British Columbia says he fought to survive by turning his pants into a tourniquet as blood flowed from his arm.
Craig Premack was riding along Highway 1 just south of Spences Bridge on June 1 when a bullet entered his right forearm, just below his elbow.
“It was painful and bleeding heavily,” Premack said Tuesday at a news conference with police.
Premack, 59, said that as he tried to make sense of what was happening at around 1 a.m., he saw a dark-coloured vehicle leaving a highway pullout.
“I was wondering if this was the end,” he said.
“It was almost like a bad dream. I looked down and I could feel the blood. My goodness, I’ve been shot. I’ve really been shot. And all I could think was get away.”
Premack said he slowed the bleeding with the tourniquet and hoped his cycling buddies in the Cache Creek 600 would soon come by.
He said some cyclists were 20 minutes ahead of him and others were 20 minutes behind in the 600-kilometre, two-day cycling event from Metro Vancouver to B.C.’s southern Interior and back.
“After the longest 20 minutes of my life I could see the lights of what could only be my cycling friends. They were quick to react, with one of them riding back to Spences Bridge to summon help.”
Premack said he was taken to a nearby hospital in Ashcroft before being transferred to Vancouver for surgery.
He appealed to anyone with information about who could be responsible for the shooting to contact police.
“The community at large needs to be protected from this person. The outcome would be tragic should this ever happen again.”
RCMP Insp. Ed Boettcher said police believe the potentially deadly incident was random but that some cyclists have said two men in a pickup truck threw objects at them earlier in the race.
“We’re very fortunate today to be talking about a shooting and not a homicide,” Boettcher said.
“It was a completely and utterly violent attack, one that could have been directed at any one of us.”
The impact of the bullet turned the bone, about two centimetres below his elbow, into small fragments, Premack said, turning his arm to show where the bullet entered and exited.
“Over time those pieces are supposed to find each other and turn back into a bone.”
Premack said he won’t be able to return to work for several months and that he’s concerned about finances.
He said that although he can’t ride his bike at this point, “I will for sure. There’s no question.”