Sheriff’s report: Pro cyclist fired shots in Jefferson County residential area ‘to vent’

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JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. — A professional cyclist was issued a summons after a Jefferson County deputy responded to a report of shots fired in a residential area in February, according to an incident report released Tuesday.

Daniel Summerhill, 28, cut ties with United Healthcare pro cycling team after the report was released that said he fired the shots to “vent.”

On Feb. 21, Summerhill was followed by Joe Porter, who lives in Deer Creek Canyon on South Deer Creek Road.

Porter confronted Summerhill after the shots were fired near West Grizzly Drive, according to the report.

Porter “had been able to see a handgun in one of the pouches on the back of the male’s jersey. … The male initially denied shooting, but then admitted that he had a bad day and need to vent, so he decided to shoot,” according to the report.

“I saw him reach to his back and pull something out, and I was thinking, there’s no way this could be a gun,” witness Kristen Flannery said Tuesday.

Porter drove home to call authorities. Porter’s wife, Shawn Porter, was the original witness as she was checking her mailbox when the shots were fired.

“There’s at least seven propane tanks within the line of sight of here,” Porter said Tuesday. “It could have been awful.”

Shawn Porter told the deputy that she heard three “loud pops” and saw a bicyclist riding down South Deer Creek Road when he fired two more rounds into a hillside.

“The area that she indicated that he had shot at was a hillside between two driveways, with a freestanding garage and a vehicle parked in front of it. … (T)here were residences on both sides of the road there as well as one above the hillside where the male had shot,” according to the report.

The deputy later found at least three spent rounds about 50 yards apart.

“It didn’t look like he was aiming directly into the mountain like he supposedly said,” Flannery said.

Joe Porter shot video of the cyclist and discovered he was a member of the United Healthcare team. He contacted the deputy to say he believed Summerhill was the shooter.

The deputy later met with Summerhill in Douglas County.

“He confirmed that he had been riding his bicycle in Deer Creek Canyon on a five-hour training ride and had needed to vent before he got back to his vehicle,” according to the report.

“He told me that he had no idea that the area was residential and that it was not OK for him to shoot at the hillside there.”

Summerhill did not answer the door at his Centennial apartment on Tuesday afternoon and has not returned calls seeking comment.

Summerhill was issued a summons for disorderly conduct, discharging a weapon in a public and reckless endangerment. He has pleaded not guilty.

A pretrial hearing is scheduled for July 12.

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