It sounds like something out of a Jason Bourne movie: A man quietly paddles his kayak down a quiet, starlit creek when all of the sudden he notices a red laser dot on his abdomen. The next thing he knows, he’s been shot. While it may sound like Hollywood action-movie fodder, this actually happened on Bodkin Creek off the Patapsco River and Chesapeake Bay this past weekend.
David Seafolk-Kopp, 56, of Reston, VA, was visiting a friend in nearby Pasadena, MD, when he decided to go for a nighttime paddle the evening of Saturday, April 12. Initial reports say that Mr. Kopp first saw a bonfire from shore and then a red laser on him before hearing and seeing a shot fired. He was found around 10 a.m. Sunday morning and taken to University of Maryland Medical Center’s Shock Trauma unit in Baltimore, MD, where the bullet was successfully removed.
Candus Thomson, Public Information Officer for the Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP), which is heading up the investigation along with Anne Arundel County Police and the Maryland State Police lab, says that the bonfire may be inconsequential, however. “Officers have done a full canvas of the area and many residents have told us that patio and shoreside campfires are not at all uncommon in the neighborhood, so a specific campfire site may not have anything to do with where the bullet was fired from,” Thomson says. “But we’re still canvasing and investigating the fire site as a possible area from which the weapon was fired.”
Thomson says that preliminary ballistic information suggests a .357 Magnum or 9 mm weapon was used, and that it was not a close-range shot. “The bullet didn’t even go past the ribcage, so that and the initial ballistics information leads us to believe that the gun was fired at least a football field away, if not longer,” Thomson says.
Seafolk-Kopp was released from the hospital Sunday evening and is expected to fully recover. “Luckily the bullet sort of bounced around inside his ribcage and the surgeons had an easy time getting it out,” Thomson says, adding, “Once Mr. Kopp is up to it, we plan to get him out on a boat with our officers where the incident happened so we can better assess what he actually saw and where. At this point, we’re hoping it was more a stray bullet situation, but it’s still early in the investigation and we’re still digging.”