CASTLE ROCK, Colo. (CBS4) – The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office is investigating after a 60-year-old man who was camping with his family Friday was struck by an apparent stray bullet and died.

The incident happened in the Rainbow Falls Park area of the Pike National Forest. Investigators are working to figure out where that bullet came from and who fired the shot. They say it’s a sad reminder of how dangerous gunfire at national forests can be.

“A lot of target shooting going on all around us. There were several areas around us where we could hear gunshots … all the way up until dusk they were shooting,” camper Joe Worrell said. “We heard some high-powered rifles being shot. We also heard semi-automatic AK-47’s with multiple rounds.”

Sgt. Ron Hanavan says the camper was hit by what investigators believe may have been a stray bullet, but that hasn’t been confirmed.

CBS4's Melissa Garcia talks with Sgt. Ron Hanavan about the shooting (credit: CBS)

CBS4’s Melissa Garcia talks with Sgt. Ron Hanavan about the shooting (credit: CBS)

“We believe that it was an errant bullet, however we have not been able to rule out whether or not this was an intentional act,” Hanavan said.

Signs in the area make it clear that gunfire in the Pike National Forest is prohibited. It’s a law camper Kerry Finley says people don’t always follow.

“We do have a lot of kids all over and you shouldn’t be shooting out here,” Finley said.

Authorities are now turning to the public to find the shooter.

“This is very traumatic for everybody involved. Our hearts go out to the family,” Hanavan said. “Obviously it’s an ongoing investigation, and we’re going to continue to vigorously work this case, and we are really seeking the public’s help.

The victim’s name hasn’t been released.

The sheriff’s office is asking for anyone in the area who saw or heard someone shooting a high-powered rifle to call the Douglas County Major Tip Line at (303) 660-7579.


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