A pellet gun may not be considered a deadly weapon, but when a Pacifica triathlete was shot this weekend, it may as well have been: The pellet launched five inches into the victim’s leg only a month before an important race and will likely remain there for the rest of his life.
While riding his bike in Daly City, Jason Fiala, 37, an executive at Sun Microsystems and a longtime athlete, was shot with a pellet gun by someone who may have been passing in a car, police said.
He was heading for a long training ride across the Golden Gate Bridge on Saturday morning and got lost in Daly City when he said he suddenly heard a puff of air and felt pain in his thigh. Fiala said he first thought it was a paint gun, but then realized that it wasn’t paint but blood staining his clothes.
“I usually avoid major intersections because I fear someone hitting me, not someone shooting at me,” Fiala said. “It was probably a bunch of kids who didn’t know how much damage they can cause.”
Fiala assumed the BB scratched his leg and fell out, but when he got to Seton Medical Center Coastside , doctors saw the pellet stuck deep in his thigh tissue. Doctors said the object could not be removed without damaging the nerves or tearing muscle in his leg, Fiala said.
“I guess I get to keep it in me forever,” Fiala said.
Fiala, who was training for the Avia Wildflower Triathlon taking place in Monterey County starting May 2, said this is a setback because he cannot bike and has to stay out of the pool. But because he is not doing it competitively, he still planned to go to the triathlon with an expectation to complete it slower than usual.
Daly City police Capt. Cory Roay said cyclists are often a target of “senseless, random violence.” He said BB guns are illegal in Daly City.
“I don’t know how you differentiate [BB guns] anymore considering what this BB did,” Fiala said.
Police do not have any leads on possible suspects.