State investigating after shots fired toward cyclists off Interstate 15 in Cedar City

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CEDAR CITY — Several shots were fired from Interstate 15 near mile marker 62 in Cedar City in the general direction of two cyclists Tuesday morning.

Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Nick Street told Cedar City News the cyclists heard a gunshot around 5:30 a.m. The pair saw a person holding a pistol next to a vehicle that was pulled off the side of the road on southbound I-15.

“They look in the direction of the gunshot, and there’s a person with a pistol at the back corner of their car, shooting towards their direction,” Street said. “They followed up with six or seven more rounds in succession.”

Street said at this time the person’s intentions are unclear, but this incident is “still very concerning.”

“They (the cyclists) are not 100% sure that this person wasn’t maybe shooting at a fox or a coyote,” Street said. “They didn’t report bullets impacting near them or around them or hearing the crack of the bullet over their head. It was just in their general direction, but they were like 60 yards away on Highway 91.”

Street said although it’s possible the person was shooting at an animal or other target on the side of the interstate, officials are treating the incident as an attempted homicide.

“It is possible that they were, for whatever reason, trying to shoot at these cyclists, and so we’re treating it as a potential attempted homicide,” Street said. “Our State Bureau of Investigation has gone down there, they looked at the shell casings and have leads based on the vehicle description and are following those up.”

Street said one of the cyclists was an off-duty Iron County Sheriff’s Deputy, but it is not clear whether that is related to the incident or not. He said at a minimum, the person will be charged with a class-B misdemeanor for discharging a firearm from the interstate.

“It appeared they were shooting in their general direction, but it could very well be they were shooting at a target like an animal or something else off the side of the road,” he said. “That’s not completely odd, people shoot at coyotes all the time. It’s not illegal to shoot coyotes with any weapon in the state of Utah, but it is illegal to shoot at them from the interstate.”

The right lane on southbound I-15 was closed from around 5:30-10 a.m. while officials investigated the scene.

“We wanted to make sure that the evidence that was there was undisturbed while it was being further investigated,” Street said.

He added that it is unlawful to discharge a firearm from a roadway, which, on I-15, includes the interstate and the shoulders on both sides of the road until the fence that marks Utah Department of Transportation property.

“The Highway Patrol wants people to know that is unlawful behavior,” Street said. “You cannot shoot from the roadway.”

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