Shot! Stargazing Kayaker Takes a Bullet (Updated)

Maryland Natural Resources Police spokeswoman Candy Thomson addresses the media near the site of a shooting Saturday night. David Seafolk-Kopp, 56, of Reston, VA, was out for a stargazing paddle when a bullet struck him in the abdomen.

Maryland Natural Resources Police spokeswoman Candy Thomson addresses the media near the site of a shooting Saturday night. David Seafolk-Kopp, 56, of Reston, VA, was out for a stargazing paddle when a bullet struck him in the abdomen. YouTube photo capture, WBAL-TV 11 Baltimore.

Shot! Stargazing Kayaker Takes a Bullet
By Paul Lebowitz

First he saw the gunsight and then the muzzle blast. The bullet struck David Seafolk-Kopp, 56, of Reston, VA, in the upper abdomen. The pain was searing and immediate.

According to the Baltimore Sun, Seafolk-Kopp launched his kayak Saturday evening from a friend's house on the 1400 block of Park Road. He was out for a stargazing paddle on Bodkin Creek. Seafolk-Kopp told police he was near a campfire on shore; he could hear people yelling and partying. Then he felt the pain.

Seafolk-Kopp spent the night on the creek. He didn't make it back to his launch until 10:30 the next morning, where a local resident found him and summoned help. Seafolk-Kopp was transported to Shock Trauma with non-threatening injuries. He was treated and released.

“We’re not sure if he lost consciousness. He hasn’t made very clear to us what he did all night. He was in excruciating pain and he just couldn’t get himself back to shore and out of his kayak, so he did spend the night out there. He’s a very lucky man. The bullet entered near his rib cage, and they were able to easily extract it,” Maryland Natural Resources Police spokeswoman Candy Thomson told the Sun and WBAL-TV 11.

Based on ballistics analysis by the Maryland State Police, the bullet was either a .357 or 9 mm, and was shot from a distance of over 100 yards. Maryland Natural Resources Police believe it was a stray bullet the Capital Gazette reported on Tuesday.

An earlier version of this story reported that Seafolk-Kopp saw a red-dot laser designator paint his abdomen just prior to suffering the gunshot. The information originated in a police report taken as he was prepped for surgery. In a follow-up statement, Seafolk-Kopp told police he saw a telescopic sight on a gun on shore, as well as a muzzle flash.

In a separate incident in 2012, a Monkton, Maryland man was arrested after shooting towards a group of seven kayakers paddling at Gunpowder Falls. None were hit. In April 2010, kayak angler Joey Ramos and an unidentified friend were reportedly shot at more than 100 times in an alarming incident on the Nueces River, Texas. They were not injured.