Cyclists attacked, threatened on Longmont LoBo Trail – first-hand Account by Becky Furuta

Photo: Longmont Times-Call

By Becky Furuta

PSA to my local friends:

Saturday afternoon, I was finishing my ride and elected to avoid some wind by heading home on the LoBo Trail. I encountered a homeless couple just past the turn off to the Longmont Rec Center, about 100 meters from the underpass below Ken Pratt Ave. This is Boulder County. There are transients everywhere, and I usually just hand them wherever ride food I’ve got left in my pockets. But this couple leered at me uncomfortably. Immediately, I took out my headphones. I debated turning around, actually. Something seemed “off.”

Instead of moving to the side to let me pass, the guy actually moved to block my path…like he was trying to force me to stop. It was confrontational. I bunny-hopped off the trail to avoid him, when he suddenly lunged at me. I took my right elbow and checked him as hard as I could and sprinted out of there. I don’t even know where I hit him or if I left him standing, to be honest.

When I got off the path on to Martin, there were three police cars and a dude, laying on the pavement. I had no idea what was going on, but I yelled to one of the officers and told him about the encounter. I said, “I don’t know if it’s got anything to do with whatever this is about…” He nodded, and said, “It’s more of the same.” Candidly, he seemed like it was NBD, and didn’t seem super interested in pursuing the guy who was maybe like all of 300 meters away. I assumed it was nothing serious.

Tonight, I was watching the Denver news, and it turns out that guy on the ground was a cyclist who’d been brutally attacked with a large tree branch by the transient, who was trying to hit him in the head and face. The guy’s bike was destroyed, and he suffered some serious injuries.

From the Denver News Channel

Man says he was randomly assaulted on Longmont bike path; police still looking for suspect
Jasper Harden says he was enjoying nature Saturday afternoon when, out of nowhere, a man came at him swinging a tree branch.

“He was hitting me around my shoulder and he was trying to hit me in the head. He was trying to kill me,” Harden said.

 

The LPD didn’t even really want a suspect description, but I’ll give it here for those of you who might ride or run that direction:

He was a short, Hispanic male with jet black hair that hung around his face and, notably, was wearing a blazer with slacks about three sizes too large. He was maybe 5’6″, and slightly stocky. He was with a Hispanic woman in grey sweats, shoulder length hair and who seemed to have a cognitive or developmental impairment. She was overweight, and about the same height.

Lastly, that section of trail is set off the road, and home to a bunch of transient camps. It’s not a super safe place to be, and the police have a hard time responding due to the location. If you do find yourself running or riding around there, be really attentive.

Had I been five minutes earlier, I’d probably be in the hospital right now, honestly. That’s pretty scary.

Final thought/snippet:
You know, if something seems weird, it probably is. I should have listened to that internal voice and turned around.

23 thoughts on “Cyclists attacked, threatened on Longmont LoBo Trail – first-hand Account by Becky Furuta

  1. You said the police didn’t want a description of the suspect, yet you simply yelled out a question as you rode by. Perhaps if you would have stopped and engaged them in conversation, the police would have listened to you. That might have disrupted your Strava time though.

    1. OMG – a woman narrowly avoids serious physical injury from being attacked (which unfortunately another rider suffered from) and “Not a Road Rider” seizes the opportunity to snipe at her???

      Ms Futura: very sorry for the disturbing incident, glad you are OK, and thank you for the report.

    2. Man, aggressive. I certainly didn’t read it as though she didn’t stop. I interpreted it as she yelled to an officer (presumably to get his attention) and then told him the story she just told the readers.

      Either way, some amount of bike patrol is probably in order on the Longmont trail system.

    3. Not a Road Rider….what is your problem? You’re bashing a woman who was just attacked on a normally peaceful trail? Check yourself.

    4. Wow is that what first comes to mind when reading this incident? Obviously the police were quite busy assisting….

    5. Wow ‘Not a Road Rider’, a woman was attacked! Just maybe that woman felt that engaging the police in conversation would have been taking attention away from the obvious fact that they were busy tending to someone laying on the concrete needing assistance?

  2. To Not a Road Rider: While your first point is salient, your secondary comment is divisive. It is unfortunate when we chose to treat each other in this manner and ultimately hinders our ability to move forward.

  3. So glad you’re okay. Like I tell my daughter always listen to your inner voice. Millions of years of evolution can’t be wrong.

  4. Becky I am glad you are okay. Unfortunately, I think what you experienced is the new norm for Longmont. Longmont has decide that they value the transients more than anyone else in town. They are taking over our parks, bike paths, and lets face it our sidewalks downtown. All with the approval of our city council.

  5. I’m a little confused on where this happened. If by the rec center and Martin street that would be Left hand Creek trail, not LOBO (which starts west of hover but direct connection with left hand). I sure want to be vigilant. Thanks for making us aware of this.

  6. You know the City of Longmont has a great concealed carry class. You might want to get the training and then seriously consider your options. Like the option of returning home to your family or lying broken or dying by the side of the road. Even with the training you can decide not to carry. To be honest your best option was to turn around even if you had been carrying. My heart goes out to the injured cyclist.

    1. Rick, your answer is to get a gun?!?! Maybe the worst advice ever. Gun owners and their families are much more likely to hurt by their own weapons than to ever need them for protection.

  7. I knew this guy from years ago, I’m so thankful you didn’t get hurt by him. As far as the PD, they have always fell flat when dealing with this guy. I’m so glad I left that town years ago.

  8. If you have information regarding this incident, please stop and talk with officers. If you witnessed this incident and have not been interviewed, please call Longmont Police at 303-651-8501.

  9. First, I am very sorry to read that anyone was hurt or scared. But I wonder 1) was the individual actually homeless? and even if he was, what does that have to do with the incident? Unless it is relevant to the situation, it really only serves to fuel stereotypes. Most of the homeless people I meet and talk to while riding on local trails are friendly.

  10. Well if all of you know that it’s dangerous why would you put yourself in danger? There are a lot of bike paths.

  11. Transients, that is where this story took a wrong turn. I get it, trying to help a fellow human, but the overwhelming majority of these people do not have social norms, do not have respect for themselves much less the law, so leave them be. They can go get help, food, shelter if needed, they don’t need on-the-spot help. I quit trying to be Mother Teresa all the time after working at a shelter for a year.

  12. I read your article and first hand account of being attacked by transients in Longmont. I am very sorry that happened to you. I wanted to get some clarification if I could. You stated that you were on the LoBo trail, but said that the incident took place north east of the rec center near the underpass of Ken Pratt. My guess is that you were travelling north east because then you state that you saw the police at Martin. As far as I know, the LoBo trail doesn’t extend that far north or east and begins around Hover and parallels the diagonal in Longmont. Has it expanded? I haven’t been there for awhile.
    My reasoning for clarification is that if and when riders read your story, they may think that the LoBo trail is inherently dangerous and stay clear, when that may not be the case.
    Again, sorry that you experienced that and glad you are safe. Hopefully the police are looking into cleaning up that area and making it safer for all.
    Thanks

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