More information has surfaced in regards to the death of a man while he was dirt biking on a trail west of the Nanaimo airport last month.
The victim’s sister, Sarah Bonar, says her 52-year-old brother Simon Tozer was fatally shot.
In an extended statement, Bonar says on Family Day shortly after 4 p.m, Tozer was riding dirt bikes up this trail with his adult son and nephew.
According to Bonar, they were riding single-file uphill on a side-logging road approximately 1.5 kilometres uphill of the Timberlands pit and 1.2 kilometres downhill of the Fortis Natural Gas Facility when Simon, who was at the back, went down.
Within seconds, the other two noticed that Simon was not following. They turned around and found him unconscious, unresponsive and bleeding. at first, they thought it was a heart attack and called first responders. He was eventually pronounced dead at the scene.
“They (police) responded to a 911 call regarding a male who was fatally injured while riding a dirt bike with a small group of individuals and the witnesses reported that firearms may have been discharged in the area at the time of the incident,” said Cpl. Alex Berube with Island District RCMP.
Simon’s sister says the coroner’s concluded that Simon had died from a single gunshot wound to the chest, noting that he would have lost consciousness in seconds.
“We can only imagine that the gun was fired without intent to harm and perhaps ricocheted before hitting him,” said Bonnar’s statement. “One must question the probability of a stray shot hitting a moving target in the heart – the odds seem incalculable.”
Police say they’re looking for more information.
“Investigators are seeking to speak with any potential witnesses that may have crucial information to advance this investigation and specifically the investigators are looking to speak with anyone who may have been shooting recreationally in the area along Timberlands and Ninatti Road,” said Berube.
Simon’s sister’s statement also says “No words can describe the horror, shock and pain of this event – it is life-changing. Husband, father, son, brother, nephew, cousin, business partner, friend… he meant so much to so many; he was an exceptional man with so much more to look forward to in life.”
“At a minimum, this is criminal negligence – when a person acts with disregard to obvious risks to human life and safety. There is no safe discharge of a weapon designed to kill in an uncontrolled environment. It could happen again if something is not done. The alternative is too hard to contemplate; that some deranged person lay in wait for an opportunity to intentionally do harm.
We have been informed that fatally hitting a moving target would take a high degree of skill…or dumb luck. We may never know what actually happened.
Our family would like to thank everyone who assisted on the scene, the RCMP and fire and ambulance attendants, we are grateful for your service. We would also like to thank the officers conducting the ongoing criminal investigation and hope that further evidence will emerge. Also, thank you to all of the people who have supported us through this difficult time and continue to do so. And finally, thanks to those who have posted condolences on social media – it helps to know that people care.
If you choose to use or continue using, this area for recreational purposes, please beware of the dangers. It happened once; it could happen again. If you are one of the many who use this area for target shooting practice, we beg you to refrain, or at the very least, to please follow safety guidelines, as one life taken is one life too many.
We are sharing this information with the hope that no one in our community will have to go through a similar tragedy.”