Portland mountain biker gets mugged at California park, is shot

PORTLAND, Ore. - A professional mountain biker from Portland is recovering at a hospital in California after he was shot during a hold-up.

On Monday, 36-year-old Matthew Slaven was walking in a Santa Cruz park with three others when a man approached the group and demanded they hand over their wallets, according to a report in the Santa Cruz Sentinel. Slaven was shot during the incident and the suspect got away.

We have a call in to the Santa Cruz Police Department to find out more details about the crime and Slaven's injuries. Bike Magazine is reporting that a bullet shattered Slaven's clavicle and ended up lodged in his neck near an artery and his esophagus, but that he is expected to make a full recovery.

Slaven is a team rider for Kona Bicycle Co., based in Ferndale, Wash. We called the company to get their reaction to what happened and talked to Cory Blackwood. He said they are shocked about the crime, but relieved that it appears Slaven will recover. "He was a friend of ours long before he was sponsored by us," he said. "I've known him for around 10 years."

Blackwood told us the randomness of what happened has made all of them at Kona Bicycling think about their safety while on the road. "We all travel and none of us really think of something like this happening," he said.

And then he said there's just the irony of it all.

"You know, we all ride bikes and getting a broken collarbone is one of the two most common bike injuries," he added. "You hear about some pro cyclists breaking their collarbone and you don't think too much of it. But getting shot while walking back from getting a slice of pizza isn't what you signed up for."

Blackwood said Slaven's injuries will likely keep him out of mountain biking for the season. Well wishers are leaving messages on Kona Bicycle's Facebook page. Here are a few:

  • "Horrible news. Heal fast and smooth just like you ride!" - Craig S. Cleary
  • "Crazy, glad he's live!" - Josh Faw
  • "Get well soon Matt. The world needs you." - Chris Streight
  • "We hope you can get home soon, Portland already misses you very much." - Britta Torgrimson-Ojerio