PASADENA, Md. — For 56-year-old Daniel Seafolk-Kopp of Reston, Va., Saturday was going to be a relaxing day on a kayak in Bodkin Creek. He has family in the area and stores a kayak at a friend’s house on the waterway.
“It was a beautiful day. Bodkin Creek is a very sheltered water, so its a paddlers delight,” says Candy Thomson, a spokeswoman with Maryland Natural Resources Police.
Thomson says Seafolk-Kopp set out close to 4 o’clock with his iPad, and as time slipped away, he decided to stay out a little while longer to see the moon come up and stargaze.
He told investigators that he wasn’t the only one enjoying the outdoors.
“He also noticed that there was a party going on along the shoreline with a bonfire and could hear people laughing and partying,” Thomson said.
Then, shortly after, he looked down and saw a red dot that Thomson says was “consistent with what a laser would show, on the front of his shirt on his right abdomen.”
Seafolk-Kopp then tells police he saw a muzzle flash and heard a gun shot.
“Then he felt a searing pain,” Thomson said.
The pain was so overwhelming, he told police he couldn’t paddle.
“It took him a while to turn around and get back to where he started in Pasadena,” Thomson said.
At some point he was able to get the kayak on shore, but was too injured to get out of it.
“He kept waiting and hoping somebody would find him, and it wasn’t until 10:30 in the morning that he was able to pull himself from the kayak.”
That’s close to 12 hours after the time police believe he was shot.
Once he was out of the boat he got the attention of someone who lives nearby, and they called 911, Seafolk-Kopp had to be rushed to the the University of Maryland’s Shock-Trauma unit in Baltimore.
He was shot in the right abdomen and Thomson says the bullet ricocheted around his rib cage, but surgeons were able to “pull that bullet out without too much damage.”
Thomson says this was a very unusual case.
“He was a very luck man to survive.”
Seafolk-Kopp was discharged from the hospital Sunday night.
Thomson says investigators went through many possible scenarios when trying to figure out what happened.
“Right now, we have nothing consistent with a self-inflicted gun shot wound,” she said.
Police have no suspects.
On Monday, they went back to the area, hoping to find witnesses. They have been combing the shoreline for clues.
On Sunday, they were unable to find the remnants of the bonfire the man reported seeing. Police plan to talk more with Seafolk-Kopp in hopes of narrowing down the search area.
As early as Monday, they expect to receive ballistic reports which will hopefully help investigators figure out the kind of gun and ammunition used in the shooting.