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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
“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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