2 Seattle bicyclists shot with darts in Ballard neighborhood
Avram Dolen was riding his bike across the Ballard Bridge when he felt a strange sensation in his left buttock. He looked down and was startled...
Seattle Times staff reporter
Avram Dolen was riding his bike across the Ballard Bridge when he felt a strange sensation in his left buttock. He looked down and was startled to see a 4-inch steel dart sticking out of his rear end.
Dolen, 29, and a 39-year-old woman told officers that they were cycling on or near the bridge Monday evening when they each were shot with a dart in separate incidents. Neither cyclist saw who shot them.
"I heard a little pop sound, which was followed by a stinging sensation afterward," said Dolen, of Ballard. "My first thought was I got hit by a rock but then it kept stinging. I went down to feel what it was and there was a 4-inch dart sticking out of my left buttock."
The female bicyclist, whose name was not released, was shot in her right thigh while cycling in the 5000 block of Eighth Avenue Northwest, according to a police report.
Police spokesman Mark Jamieson said that it appears both bicyclists were shot with a blowgun. He said there have been no reports of additional attacks.
Blowguns are tubular weapons, which are used to fire darts or other projectiles propelled by breath.
After he removed the dart, Dolen said, he continued riding toward his home in hopes of spotting the person who shot him. Unsuccessful, Dolen stopped, checking to see if he was bleeding. He then rode home and dialed 911.
After police left he went to a nearby hospital, where he was given a tetanus shot.
Dolen, an avid cyclist, said he had heard of bicyclists being struck by paintballs and even of drivers swerving at them, but had never heard of anyone being shot at with a blowgun.
Steve Damon, founder of the Oklahoma-based United States Blowgun Association, said blowguns are mostly used for target shooting.
He said it is illegal to use the weapons for hunting in most states.
"It's good for the respiratory system," Damon said of using blowguns. "It's something you can make yourself. You can get pretty good with one in 10 minutes."
Craig Bartlett, spokesman for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, said blowguns are illegal to use for hunting game in this state. He said he has never heard of them being used anywhere in the state for hunting rats, possum and other small nongame species.
"We just haven't heard of them in the wildlife protection or hunting realm. It doesn't seem like a very effective hunting tool," Bartlett said.
Jennifer Sullivan: 206-464-8294 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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