A motorcyclist’s shooting death leaves investigators puzzled.
The shimmering lights of San Francisco Bay can be seen from more than a dozen surrounding communities. On the evening of February 24, 1992, one of those communities became the scene of a tragic, unsolved murder. At 8:33 PM, a man slowly approached a gas station in Emeryville, across the bay from San Francisco. He was hunched over his motorcycle, weaving in an erratic fashion. Not long after, the rider fell to the ground unconscious. Police and paramedics were dispatched to the scene and attempted to revive the stricken rider. His pulse was feeble and he was barely alive. The absence of any external injuries left Detective Barbara McDaniel of the Emeryville Police Department, completely mystified:
The unknown motorcyclist was rushed to a nearby hospital. It was later discovered that he had been shot three times by a small caliber weapon. One of the bullets shattered his knee. A second lodged in his abdomen. The third and fatal bullet punctured his aorta. The wounds were nearly invisible, but had resulted in massive internal bleeding. The rider never regained consciousness, and was pronounced dead shortly after 9:00 PM. The victim was identified as 30-year-old Michael Hunter, a dedicated motorcycle racer who had survived hundreds of dangerous competitions.
As investigators examined Michael’s life, they looked for anything that might have set the stage for murder. During the mid-1980s, Michael Hunter competed in races throughout California. According to his mother Beverly, Michael earned a reputation as one of the area’s top cyclists:
The evening of February 24th began like many others for Michael Hunter. At 7:45 PM he climbed aboard his red, white, and blue sport bike, apparently just to go for a ride. A few minutes later he stopped at an ATM half a mile away. As he withdrew $20 from his checking account, a security camera recorded the transaction. Michael next showed up at a liquor store, half a block from the ATM. There, he bought a pint of whiskey that was later found in his jacket. What happened next is pure speculation.
The police believe that Michael headed to a frontage road, three miles from the gas station. This area was known for its breathtaking view of the Bay Bridge. It was here, while enjoying the fresh winter breeze, that Michael Hunter may have encountered his killer or killers. Police theorize that someone may have robbed Michael of his wallet at gunpoint and then demanded his motorcycle. Michael might have tried to outrun the bullets. According to his friend Rachel Wilken, it was a race he had no chance of winning:
An hour later, Michael Hunter was dead, leaving Beverly Hunter to wonder who killed her son, and why:
Michael’s friends and family have raised a $10,000 reward for information which may help solve this case.