A motorcyclist’s shooting death leaves investigators puzzled.

Smiling Michael Hunter in a yellow shirt

Michael Hunter

Large group of Paramedics kneeling around Hunter attempting to resuscitate

Paramedics were unable to save him

CASE DETAILS

Hunter on a red white and blue speed motorcycle on an isolated road in the bay

He may have gone to an isolated road by the bay

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:

“There was no bleeding at all at the site. If it had been some kind of an accident, you would expect to see some kind of blood. But there was absolutely none.”

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.

Hunter on his red white and blue motorcycle riding down the street

Hunter rode his motorcycle after being shot

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:

“He said that racing gave him probably the highest high that he’d ever had in his whole life. He said there was nothing that beat this excitement and the thrill of the racing. And I think the competition was maybe almost incidental to the thrill of the racing.”

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.

Hunter collapsed on the floor of a gas station next to his motorcycle

He collapsed at the gas station

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:

“I think that he was probably pretty scared and… I really like to believe that he didn’t know what was going on. It would’ve taken him a long time to get to that station. That’s not a short stint to ride when you’re hurt.”

An hour later, Michael Hunter was dead, leaving Beverly Hunter to wonder who killed her son, and why:

“I think all the time he raced, I knew that something could happen to him because… what he chose to do for his recreation. Had he died that way, it was a choice he made… and I think that it would’ve been a lot easier to accept.”

Michael’s friends and family have raised a $10,000 reward for information which may help solve this case.


Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season five with Robert Stack and in season eight with Dennis Farina. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina. Various seasons available now on Hulu.

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36 Comments

  1. Bob

    To Charles the murderer of the homeless people victims involved have been caught

    Bring some solice to the discusting and calace and cowsrdness of some people
    Attached

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-las-vegas-homeless-shootings-20180220-story.html%3f_amp=true

    Reply

  2. Ryan ballsalota

    I have a new theory that this was not for robbery but they two people followed him my conclusion after the evidence that the perps were either from the Asian gang (maybe motive was he was pissed about losing a race and or felt they won a race and were owed that motor cycle) another theory what bike was he driving relivant to the theory that if he was out before rode home with this motor cycle, and took it out as his prize bike the killers would have seen this as a opportunity and if they knew were he lived would have been someone at the shop connection to the killers to give the address to this gang who had connection to him and a friend at the shop that rated him out to these guys giving where he lived hence would have followed him from the start, that had motive. Maybe and maybe someone didn’t even ask did he fight off the perps did he have bruising on him seems he didn’t fight because to be shot three time go three miles from the marina than to fall at the gas station at Near the shell is important my theory he would have had enough 0X2 concentration to get only to this location because if he was shot at the marina he wouldn’t have had the adrenaline to get on the bike get shot than go to the station he knew where he needed to go to try to live. It would have happen near or the exit point near the marina. Analysis of the cloths and under his fingers maybe shown DNA of the perp or perps maybe he fought them off them at first someone took a gun out shot him in the knee and than the front as he was leaving the scene trying to get away shot him in the back. Theory :2. and someone may have seen the vechile would have been a two or four door two people who cut him off over taken him by surprise he turns around almost loses his turn his intention to get on the freeway to escape these scumbags seems he was followed him shot him the theory that he was shot from the front is relivant if your shot from the front and running away you are blocking someone off if your shooting from the back means he was already on his motorcycle, I speculate that he was on the way to this location at the point than cut off than shot robbery theory seems likely but they would have taken his motorcycle at that time of night no one is on that road and everyone during the week would have been home only people leaving are fisherman because sun went down a hour before, so would have put him before the entrance way before the merge to the Merina, they this car followed him over took the motorcycle by surprise and he knew he was about to get robbed turned around they shot twice at his front section hitting him in the knee first shot to scare him than shot him in the front he turns around to escape shots him again before they let him go on his way, these are younger killers they are impulsive smart but stupid they most likely were from this gang called North Side Oakland or on 13th if you look at where that atm he got his money from is what gangs around there are far and in between. Starting to know who was the killer. The killer is between 20-30s is a inexperienced childish like adult dumb immature impulsive and has a conscience his accomplice the driver was real brains behind this story both have criminal records. And are robbers not killers freaked out and killed based on having lack of impulse control any likely would rob again.

    Reply

  3. Justice

    Couple of questions and answers those gang related Asian gang did anyone keep there info PDs could have investigated.

    Second warrant for those suspect ion would have kept his wallet to keep someone’s wallet but leave the scene of the crime doesn’t make sense to me they would have killed him right than and there third at the ATM there was a car behind him caught my eye like he was super close to him maybe mike knew he was being watched after was followed later than robbed at the place later the guys wanted the bike only issue with that is they could have sideswiped him for the revenge from earlier date two situation he was being followed from when he left and finally the driver followed him I think he never reach that location but they followed him drove next to him and said what’s up man and shot at him and than fleed in that area and on that street and respect in the 90s went a long way gang related is possible look for motive and means and wants that car that was parked next to him was were weird he was very close to mike and mike turns around like two or three times they follow him and kill him these guys knew mike and the trail is there find the names find the evidence and possibly the connection robbery is possible but he would have finished his whiskey before being robbed thieves are opportunistic parasites who wait and want to see weaknese for others think he was halfway to his location got shot turned around and went to the station for help they’re should have asked who did this or something rIp dude

    Reply

  4. cc jackson

    Cant believe this happened lived right across the street on webster just spoken with mike asked him can he fix my spreed mope nice person so sad he said when he got off he’ll come look at so sad everyone was so sad rest in his glory

    Reply

  5. Charles

    I had a friend who was murdered in somewhat similar circumstances on November 3, 2016. He was homeless and was sleeping in a desolate cemetery. The next morning they found him shot to death and robbed. Unfortunately, due to no surrounding witnesses and a lack of cameras anywhere near by and no prints or dna… sadly, I do not think they will ever solve this case. Maybe one day the killers will run there mouth and it will get to the police. Maybe that can occur in Michaels case as well.

    Reply

  6. RK

    I use to work with Micheal at Honda Kawasaki of Oakland. I got the call from Beverley the next morning, informing us at the dealership of what happened. I’m pretty sure that this was payback from some guys who were in an Asian gang. A year or so prior to his murder Micheal was drinking and driving and had accidentally side swiped a few cars belonging to some gang members while leaving a party. A few days before his murder one of the gang members had come into the dealership to have a motorcycle serviced. He took notice that Micheal was one of the mechanics, he was surprised to see Micheal and said out loud, ” oh that’s the guy”. A few days later Micheal was dead. I told all of this to the Emeryville PD but I guess they couldn’t get anywhere with it.

    Reply

    • Rocky Wingwalker

      Please contact me on my Facebook. Rocky wingwalker. I cannot do anything without your full name. I know the incident you’re referring to. I don’t believe or recall any of the other cars being gang related. If you have more info please contact me.

      Reply

  7. thinkingoutloud

    I don;t think it could be a robbery. If someone really wanted his motorcycle, they could’ve easily taken it in that condition. Michael competed in a lot of races, maybe his murder had to do with a sore loser or something?

    Reply

  8. Johnny

    Hope they solve this case. 25 years now and no justice for Michael Hunter or closure for the family. I saw this episode in my later teen years. This looks like a real Cold Case but maybe they can recheck the bank ATM or Michael’s cycling competitors. Jealousy can be a real motive.

    Reply

  9. Anonymous

    Hi Unsolved Mysteries,

    Do you know if the Emeryville PD receives any more tips? Do you ever get any? I still have hopes that they’ll find a way to solve this.

    Reply

  10. Guru

    I wonder where the gas station and ATM were located. Emeryville is very small, maybe 2 square miles. The city has had a lot of new development since this tragedy though so these places may not exist anymore.

    Reply

  11. Chanita

    Ok When Michael Had Went On That Isolated Road That Might Have Cost Him His Life! Boy Michael went To The The Gas Station But He Had Never Made It God Bless U Michael An RIP My Young Freind!

    Reply

  12. Emily

    @Bryan not that I know of 🙁

    Reply

  13. Bryan

    Any updates to this sad story?

    Reply

  14. Johnny

    The Michael Hunter story sure resonated with many Unsolved Mysteries watchers. He was only 30 and was robbed of his wallet and tried to outrun the bullets. Nearly 25 years have passed. I think this murder/robbery can be solved through ballistics and some solid police work. Maybe, a $50,000 reward or higher can shake something loose.

    Reply

  15. Beccaboo

    I’m trying to find out where Michael Hunter was laid to rest. If anyone is able to help me I’d be ever so grateful. Research purposes. Thanks

    Reply

  16. James

    I don’t know if that atm footage is real but that vehicle in the image would’ve been the first place I looked into. Looked similar to the 1992 Mercedes amg rims. Could be something there.

    Reply

    • OH

      @ James it looked real to me. As you see in the re-enactment, the helmet worn is red and blue. In the footage, the helmet is predominantly white.

      Reply

    • Rocky Wingwalker

      The footage was real. We were unable to connect the vehicle to the death. Thank you. VFRachel

      Reply

  17. m moore

    Random robbery; or someone wanted his bike. He probably was shot 3 times with a Taurus
    .17 cal revolver.

    Reply

  18. Monty Johnson

    Love and miss you Mike!!!

    Reply

  19. Johnny

    I remember the Michael Hunter story as a teenager. It was a sad story when Michael crashed his motorcycle at the end trying to get help from the station. He had been shot three times. My theory is a group of individuals in a vehicle staked out the ATM. They probably then followed Michael a few places and waited for the opportunity to strike. The isolated area made sense. Michael probably surprised them when he floored the motorcycle and then the gunman fired. It’s possible that the car could not chase Michael down to others arriving. Probably the criminals rode back to their place and counted their take and learned the man died later.

    Reply

    • A

      Johnny… I have spent MONTHS trying to figure out what may have happened. I believe the theory of the police. He was no doubt robbed of his wallet.. Then he tried to get away. But why would someone kill him if he handed his wallet? I just wish someone knew something. No one reportedly saw him that night. I still pray the perpetrators will confess.

      Reply

  20. AH

    Does anyone have any updated information on this? I recently came across this story and it breaks my heart that an innocent person like Mr. Hunter was killed for seemingly no reason.

    From what I’ve seen, it looks like it’s incredibly difficult to ever track down a suspect. I would just like to know if anyone has developments.

    Reply

    • Rocky Wingwalker

      We have no new evidence and the case remains unsolved. I am always watching and looking for new info. Rachel Wilken

      Reply

  21. Debra Banta friend of Beverlys

    I am sad and disappointed that this is still yet another Unsolved crime. I pray it may yet still be solved, maybe a person with a conscience or a death bed confession, something anything to give resolve to the Hunter family.
    Beverly I Love and Miss You My Friend.

    Reply

  22. Renee Pettigrew

    I believe the police should test guns and bullets they take from criminals to the ones taken from his body

    Reply

    • Jase

      They do. They have to find something to match it to. There’s millions of registered/unregistered firearms in America, it’s a needle in a haystack. That’s why they rely on witnesses so they have a starting point. It could be mob related, botched robbery, drug related, revenge, or someone on probatuon for another crime (Unsolved Mysteries has a lot of these cases)etc. Based on what the episode shows, it looks like someone wanted his bike and he refused to give it up and was shot. If no one has come forward by 2017, it may not be solved. It sucks

      Reply

  23. renee pettigrew

    RIP Michael

    Reply

  24. John caon

    Michael hunter was great I think he was murder by drug dealer looking for bike

    Reply