Bikers ride to support Cedar City shooting victim

Rider Gary Worsfold, Austin Sharp's grandson, joins others in supporting his grandson with raised helmet, St. George, Utah, Aug. 17, 2013 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Over 40 riders from four different motorcycle clubs came together Saturday to honor fellow rider Austin Sharp, the man shot in the back while riding his motorcycle in Cedar City on Thursday.

The incident

Sharp, 21, of Santa Clara, was riding in Cedar City when he was approached from behind by James Alan Reynolds, 55, of Enoch. Reynolds, who was also riding a motorcycle, was running from Cedar City Police officers who had attempted to stop him for a traffic violation. When he drew close to Sharp, Reynolds allegedly shot Sharp multiple times in the back with a .22 caliber rifle.

Sharp was transported to Dixie Regional Medical Center in critical condition. As of Saturday, he remains in the Intensive Care Unit at DRMC, his critical status unchanged. However, he is conscious and alert.

As for Reynolds, he ultimately ran into the side of a passing car and was captured.

Two people in the car sustained minor injuries. Reynolds was arrested and taken to Valley View Medical Center for treatment of minor injuries, then booked into the Iron County jail. He has been charged with attempted homicide, discharge of a firearm from a vehicle, fleeing from an officer and reckless driving.

Support ride for Austin Sharp online flier
Support ride for Austin Sharp online flier

The victim

Christi Sharp, Austin Sharp’s mother, said her son had been shot twice. One of the bullets impacted his spine. “There is nerve damage,” she said, “but no paralysis.”

As for how Austin Sharp was doing following the shooting, she said, “He’s sick, but he’s got a real great attitude.”

We don’t understand how someone can do this,” Austin Sharp’s father, Wes Sharp, said. “It’s like something from a bad movie. His life’s changed forever.”

Although Austin Sharp is recovering from the shooting, his father said it was a “day-by-day process” at this point.

Both parents said their son has a big heart and is a man of character. He has also always loved bikes, they said, and he even builds Harley Davidson motorcycles with his grandfather. Austin Sharp is also a volunteer fireman with the Santa Clara Fire Department.

The incident itself appears to have been a random, albeit deliberate, act. The Cedar City Police have stated that neither Austin Sharp or Reynolds appear to be affiliated with any biker gangs. Before the shooting, neither men had any connection to each other.

A stranger put Austin Sharp in the hospital. On Saturday, 40 other strangers rode their motorcycles in support of their fellow rider.

Riders rally

Anyone on two-wheels is our brother,” said Cody Painter, president of St. George Street Bikes.

Though Austin Sharp is not affiliated with any motorcycle clubs in the St. George area, he has friends in the St. George Street Bikes and St. George Ruff Ryders clubs, who made Painter and others aware of what had happened.

In response, Painter, together with Cache Benson, vice president of St. George Street Bikes, and Dennis Bee, president of the Ruff Ryders, organized a ride by DRMC in Sharp’s honor.

Austin Sharp was placed in a wheelchair in his hospital room who he could watch the support ride go by, St. George, Utah, Aug. 17, 2013 | Photo courtesy of Cody Painter
Austin Sharp was placed in a wheelchair in his hospital room so he could watch the support ride go by, St. George, Utah, Aug. 17, 2013 | Photo courtesy of Cody Painter

The word was put out and arrangements were made for the ride-by to happen at 6 p.m., Saturday. Beforehand, participants met at Larsen’s Frostop in St. George for some quick instructions on how the ride would proceed.

His parents are extremely excited,” Painter said before the ride.

Joining the group were members of Bikers for Christ and the Southern Utah Harley Owners Group.

We have bikers with big hearts,” one of the riders said.

Austin Sharp’s brother, Caden Sharp, and his grandfather, Gary Worsfold were also among the group of riders.

Ride by DRMC

The group, consisting of around 45 riders, left Larsen’s Frostop shortly after 6 p.m. They traveled around Foremaster Ridge and came down the hill. A crowd was already gathered along Foremaster Drive on the south side of the hospital and people began to cheer when they spotted the bikes wind down the side of the hill toward them.

Austin Sharp’s room is on the south side of the hospital as well, which allowed him to see his fellow riders pass by.

This wasn’t all the riders did however. They all turned in to a parking lot across from DRMC and gathered in a long line. In a moment of silence, they all raised their helmets to Austin Sharp and then revved their engines as loud as they could go.

He loved it!” Christi Sharp said. She was with her son in his room to watch the ride-by.

I think the support is amazing,” Wes Sharp said.

Afterward, Painter said he had only expected about 20 or so riders to show up.“It was better than I could have expected,” he said.

However, Painter reiterated the ride wasn’t for the riders, but for Austin Sharp. “Its about him.”

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Bikers from four different clubs assemble at Larsen's Frostop before going to Dixie Regional Medical Center to show support for shooting victim Austin Sharp, St. George, Utah, Aug. 17, 2013 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
Bikers from four different clubs assemble at Larsen’s Frostop before going to Dixie Regional Medical Center to show support for shooting victim Austin Sharp, St. George, Utah, Aug. 17, 2013 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
Bikers from four different clubs assemble at Larsen's Frostop before going to Dixie Regional Medical Center to show support for shooting victim Austin Sharp, St. George, Utah, Aug. 17, 2013 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
Bikers from four different clubs assemble at Larsen’s Frostop before going to Dixie Regional Medical Center to show support for shooting victim Austin Sharp, St. George, Utah, Aug. 17, 2013 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
Fellow motorcycle riders sign posters of support for shooting victim Austin Sharp, St. George, Utah, Aug. 17, 2013 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
Fellow motorcycle riders sign posters of support for shooting victim Austin Sharp, St. George, Utah, Aug. 17, 2013 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
Fellow motorcycle riders sign posters of support for shooting victim Austin Sharp, St. George, Utah, Aug. 17, 2013 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
Fellow motorcycle riders sign posters of support for shooting victim Austin Sharp, St. George, Utah, Aug. 17, 2013 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
Arriving at Dixie Regional Medical Center, St. George, Utah, Aug. 17, 2013 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
Arriving at Dixie Regional Medical Center, St. George, Utah, Aug. 17, 2013 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
The bikers line up across the street from Dixie Regional Medical Center to rev their engines and raise helmets in support of Austin Sharp, St. George, Utah, Aug. 17, 2013 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
The bikers line up across the street from Dixie Regional Medical Center to rev their engines and raise helmets in support of Austin Sharp, St. George, Utah, Aug. 17, 2013 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
Helmets raised support of Austin Sharp, St. George, Utah, Aug. 17, 2013 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
Helmets raised in support of Austin Sharp, St. George, Utah, Aug. 17, 2013 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
Rider Gary Worsfold (in yellow), Austin Sharp's grandson, joins others in supporting his grandson with raised helmet, St. George, Utah, Aug. 17, 2013 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
Rider Gary Worsfold (in yellow), Austin Sharp’s grandson, joins others in supporting his grandson with raised helmet, St. George, Utah, Aug. 17, 2013 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

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Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

Rider Gary Worsfold, Austin Sharp's grandson, joins others in supporting his grandson with raised helmet, St. George, Utah, Aug. 17, 2013 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
Rider Gary Worsfold, Austin Sharp’s grandson, joins others in supporting his grandson with raised helmet, St. George, Utah, Aug. 17, 2013 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

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5 Comments

  • Tami Painter August 18, 2013 at 12:03 am

    Wow, what an awesome tribute to an injured fellow rider. I’m sure Austin just lived it. I’m proud of my nephew Cody for active participation in this rally. Cody is an amazing young man with a big heart. Way to go guys! I wish you a speedy recovery Austin. I will be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. As for the monster that commited such a horrific crime that will forever change this young man’s life. I hope they throw the book at him and he pays for his crimes to the fullest extent of the law.

  • Azrael August 18, 2013 at 8:34 am

    I was a part of this amazing event, I pretty much knew no one there, but I am following the St George Street Bikes Facebook page and I wanted to show my support. Not to quibble with any part of this article I do think it’s important to note that not everyone involved was a member of an MC and unaffiliated riders also took part.
    I have never met Austin and know absolutely nothing about him. I knew no one at the event beyond 2 people and that was only for casual hellos. But the emotions that I felt well up in me as we came down Foremaster ridge are hard to express. All of these people, many of whom I assume also did not know Austin, were engaged in support for him and his recovery from this horrible incident. I believe these guys when they say they were choked up from this. I am not an emotional person and several times I felt a lump in my throat at this outpouring of support for this young man.
    40+ strangers on motorcycles can do little against the actions of one stranger on a motorcycle with a gun bent on violence but based on the reaction I witnessed from one of the family members, I feel we provided some comfort and support for him and his family. If actions and thoughts have power, at this moment we were all united in the common goal to let them know that he was not alone and we all wished him well. Speedy recovery Austin.

  • Stacey August 19, 2013 at 1:12 am

    Austin get better soon man!! I don’t know you, but, my heart goes out to you!! I work here at the hospital and hope to see you up and around soon. This Reynolds dude, I hope he gets what he deserves!! Whats the matter with people?? He probably thought that by shooting someone else he could get the officer chasing him off his back and get away. I tip my hat to the officers involved also for bringing this nut job in. Hopefully justice prevails in this case. What the heck did he have a rifle on a bike for anyway?? He was bent on other violence I’m guessing. Keep him off the streets. In his booking photo he doesn’t even look upset. What a monster!

  • Valerie August 19, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    Azrael,
    I can understand the emotion that you felt because I felt a lump and tears well up just reading this article. Camaraderie is amazing, such wonderful support. Well done to all those who rode, supported and organised this.

    Austin, get well soon!!

  • Adrienne Sanders August 20, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    I went and saw Austin today. I used to date his Uncle. He is very touched by all of the support he has received from all of you. I am amazed that people like all of you still exist. It brings back my faith in humanity. Thank you all!

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