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Old 11-04-2008, 02:25 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Steve Martz Shot In Baja

Sorry if this is a re-post but i haven't seen this or it might be old news.

Shooting Occurs During SCORE Baja 1000 Prerun Opening Weekend
Dirt Bike Moto Rider Steve Martz SHOT by a Mexican near Jamau, Baja California

Ensenada, Baja California — (November 2, 2008) 4:45PM UPDATE: The rider and shooting victim has been identified as Steve Martz, who finished the 2007 SCORE Baja 1000 in 5th position in Class 22, Open Pro Motorcycles. Martz was riding with teammate/driver of record, Dan Walsh along with Aaron Cooper near Mike's Sky Rancho on Sunday heading home from pre running in Northern Baja.

Sometime in the middle of the night, their chase crew driving a pickup truck left for Mexicali seemingly abandoning the three riders at Mikes Sky Rancho. Chris Haines Motorcycle Tours also spent the night at Mikes Sky Rancho and agreed to tote the riders gear bags to Ensenada while the three riders rode North to Ojos to catch the course up to RM120 and finally on home.

The riders ventured into the dirt at the turn off to Jamau and headed north and came across a fence line covered in brush where the shooting took place. As Steve road towards the gate, I (Aaron Cooper) was about 40 feet behind Steve when I saw him fall over as if he had went to put his foot down but the ground was not there. As I looked up and to the right I saw a man with a gun on the other side of the fence about 100 feet out behind a large bush. He was aiming a gun at in our direction. Before I could get to Steve I was off the bike running to get out of the man’s line of sight. I was screaming at Dan to stop as he was coming up behind me.

Martz was struck in the sternum by what was described to DIRTnewz as a small caliber bullet. With Martz on the ground, Cooper scrambled for cover. Dan Walsh arrived and thought that Martz and Cooper were joking around when in fact Martz had been shot in the chest. Walsh attempted to start Martz' moto kicking it some 10-15 times but it wouldn't start. Aaron ran over and pushed the bike out of the line of site and tried to start the bike with no luck. They abandoned Martz' bike and put Martz on the back of Walsh' motorcycle and headed for Highway 3. Enroute they discovered that the shooting victim Martz could not hold on the back of Walsh while riding. They stopped 1.5 miles from the shooting and began to make emergency calls. Aaron’s first call was to Binational Emergency were no one answered. Aaron’s second call was to his Dad. After getting the call for help out, we placed Steve on Walsh bike and let Martz ride solo to the highway. Once at the highway, Dan and Aaron waved any and every vehicle done for help.

Desert Assassin's Trophy Truck driver, Cameron Steele and his wife, Heidi Steele, were prerunning near Borrego when they decided to head to Ojos and prerun RM 40-120. While traveling through Valle Trinidad one of the Desert Assassin's crew members saw Dan Walsh in the back of a military Hummer and Cameron and his crew went to investigate what was going on.

Afterwards when approaching Mexicali in his chase vehicles, Cam Steele told DIRTnewz over the phone the story that unfolded.

"One of my guys said Dan was in the back of a military Hummer and I thought that was strange so we headed into Trinidad to see what was up. We found Walsh and Martz at the medical clinic in Trinidad and helped them with the process of a Med-A-Vac. The chopper finally arrived from Tijuana and it was so small I first thought this could not be the chopper. The pilot jumped out and began refueling the chopper with a 15 gallon gas container he brought with him inside the chopper. While he was syphoning the Jet A fuel, the medical paramedic was strapping in Martz on a backboard, but his legs from the knees down were hanging out the chopper. We wrapped up his legs with a blanket and heavy on the duct tape and they strapped him down with some straps similar to motorcycle straps and then the paramedic was kneeling above Martz as they flew away. It was truly incredible but it got the job done. Last I heard from Oscar Ramos, the SCORE Attorney, was that Martz was in surgery in Tijuana."

Walsh and Cooper were being transported individually by Cam Steele's chase crews, one to Tecate with the Desert Assassins scheduled to cross the border before 10pm Sunday evening.
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Old 11-04-2008, 02:26 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Wow man that is really shitty news.
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Old 11-04-2008, 02:35 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thats fawked up! I hope he makes it through ok!
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Old 11-04-2008, 02:41 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Not sure what's shittier news. Getting shot in Baja or getting operated on in Tijuana. Is there a policy or plan of action for incidents like this?
There's pretty much no way to nail the guy who did it but are we gonna start seeing armed drivers in case anything like this happens?
Are drivers already armed, and just don't discuss it?
Whole situation is fed up and hopefully this yr doesn't turn into the Dakar Rally
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Old 11-04-2008, 02:43 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I don't know where all of it will end up. My wife's new boss won his class last year in the 1000, but they aren't even gonna race this year.

John
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Old 11-04-2008, 02:44 PM   #6 (permalink)
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That is some messed up stuff.


Hope he has a speedy recovery.
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Old 11-04-2008, 02:50 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by WLD_OTZ View Post
I don't know where all of it will end up. My wife's new boss won his class last year in the 1000, but they aren't even gonna race this year.

John
Why? Because someone was driving nowhere near the race course, in the middle of nowhere, and got shot?

Think if I buzzed around in the middle of the forest in Humbolt county I might get shot?

edit - and yes, it's a repost.
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Old 11-04-2008, 02:53 PM   #8 (permalink)
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You know you would get shot!
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Old 11-04-2008, 02:54 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Yet another reason why I have zero desire to ever go to Mexico.
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Old 11-04-2008, 02:58 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I'd go anywhere in Baja in the middle of the night before I'd get caught on any MLK BLVD throughout the US in the middle of the night.
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Old 11-04-2008, 02:58 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Yet another reason why I have zero desire to ever go to Mexico.
If you go once, you'll definetly go twice. Garranteed.
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Old 11-04-2008, 03:32 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Sometime in the middle of the night, their chase crew driving a pickup truck left for Mexicali seemingly abandoning the three riders at Mikes Sky Rancho.
why did their chase vehicle abandon them ?
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Old 11-04-2008, 03:45 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I'd go anywhere in Baja in the middle of the night before I'd get caught on any MLK BLVD throughout the US in the middle of the night.
you know you're in the ghetto if you see MLK Blvd.... anywhere.....




I hope this guys pulls thru OK.
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Old 11-04-2008, 03:48 PM   #14 (permalink)
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you know you're in the ghetto if you see MLK Blvd.... anywhere.....




I hope this guys pulls thru OK.
Yep, way to honor the man, right?
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Old 03-04-2016, 07:44 AM   #15 (permalink)
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(total thread resurrection)
I was scanning google in regards to my good bud Steve, and found this thread.

Not to make it another big deal, but...

Bunch of inaccurate info in this thread.
... so much so, it kinda' pisses me off. But that's regurgitated info, so it's far from accurate.

No military hummer...
Nobody abandoning anyone...
... I quit reading the BS.
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Old 03-04-2016, 07:48 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyAirtime View Post
(total thread resurrection)
I was scanning google in regards to my good bud Steve, and found this thread.

Not to make it another big deal, but...

Bunch of inaccurate info in this thread.
... so much so, it kinda' pisses me off. But that's regurgitated info, so it's far from accurate.

No military hummer...
Nobody abandoning anyone...
... I quit reading the BS.
This clears things up.
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Old 03-04-2016, 07:49 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyAirtime View Post
(total thread resurrection)
I was scanning google in regards to my good bud Steve, and found this thread.

Not to make it another big deal, but...

Bunch of inaccurate info in this thread.
... so much so, it kinda' pisses me off. But that's regurgitated info, so it's far from accurate.

No military hummer...
Nobody abandoning anyone...
... I quit reading the BS.
Neat. So you bumped an 8 year old thread just to say it's inaccurate but then didn't care to correct it. Cool story.
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Old 03-04-2016, 07:51 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyAirtime View Post
(total thread resurrection)
I was scanning google in regards to my good bud Steve, and found this thread.

Not to make it another big deal, but...

Bunch of inaccurate info in this thread.
... so much so, it kinda' pisses me off. But that's regurgitated info, so it's far from accurate.

No military hummer...
Nobody abandoning anyone...
... I quit reading the BS.
Do you feel better now?
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Old 03-04-2016, 08:44 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Do you feel better now?
Yup
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Old 03-04-2016, 09:18 AM   #20 (permalink)
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This clears things up.
Seriously.

The first post was so fucking scatter-brained and all over the place it was impossible to figure out any sort of linear story as to what happened.

Bumping an 8 year old post to add nothing =
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Old 03-04-2016, 09:25 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Okaaay... you asked for it, or better yet... Called me out on it.

Here ya go.
Written by, Dan Walsh.
First/second on the scene, and straight from the horses mouth;

Quote:
Since the events of Nov. 2nd, I've been praying for the timing to give a
statement regarding the facts, along with a story to give everyone a
better understanding of what happened. My main goal is to give awareness
to all and provide clarification of what actually happened, as well as
document for not only myself but for Steve, Aaron and our families.


Typing this will be one of the hardest things I've ever done.
Remembering exactly what happened, step-by-step, and writing down what
Aaron, Steve, and I witnessed and experienced is something that still
haunts us. Please accept my apology if this is too graphic or
disturbing, but the facts need to be addressed for us all. Ultimately,
we are all fortunate that this will be written as a testimonial of
events as opposed to an obituary. It is because of the grace of God and
overall support that Steve, Aaron and I are still here. I apologize in
advance for not mentioning everyone who helped Steve to safety or
orchestrated any of the supports.

I'm encouraging you to take the information as it is and please do not
alter it to fit what you would rather believe or be influenced to
believe. This is all true facts of what we experienced. I am by no means
a writer but I will do my best to keep things as simple as possible. I
was compelled to write this after reading all the posts online and
hearing local news reports state that this was an unfortunate hunting
accident. Steve, Aaron and I have no doubts in our minds that this was
no accident. Yet the three of us have no explanation for why someone
would fire a rifle at close range (less than 100 feet) and then point
the rifle again at another rider. We have many speculations of why this
happened but I will leave it at this: we simply came across an area
where we were not welcome and someone was willing to kill, even though
we were on what we know as public property.

Our weekend started off by Aaron, Steve and I departing for Mexico
leaving from Campo and crossing through the Tecate area. We left our
vehicle at one of Aaron's contacts in Campo and rode our bikes across
the border. We spent an entire day pre running the upcoming Baja 1000
course leaving from the grade of La Rumorosa and ultimately ending up at
our evening destination, Mike's Sky Rancho. During the day we completely
exhausted ourselves riding a very rough but incredibly fun course.
Having some carburetor problems with the KLX loaned to me by Alba, it
made my trip a bit more difficult. Aaron had his body beat to heck by
the roughest track he's been on. Needless to say, by the time we got to
Mike's Sky Rancho, Aaron was sick from a major migraine and I was
miserable and grumpy from being worn out from the ride and frustrated
with a bike which I hadn't had the time to properly tune prior to the
trip. Then of course, there is Steve, who doesn't get tired or grumpy,
and encourages us by reminding us he loves us...with a grin. In other
words, it's Steve's way of saying, "You pussies ride and quit
whining."

During the night our chase guys, who didn't skip a beat during the day,
ended up having a little too much fun and come morning, they were no
where to be found. As luck would have it, Chris Haines Tours was staying
at Mike's and one of their chase drivers offered to carry our bags
across the border for us so we didn't have to carry them on our bikes.
Wondering if we would have enough gas to get back to Valle De Trinidad
(VDT), we noticed that our bikes were mysteriously topped off with fuel.
Our chase guys, who had originally planned to head home the next
morning, probably realized we needed fuel, went off to have their fun,
and simply forgot about a couple of bags. No big deal so we made some
jokes and were on our way.

With our bikes full of fuel and our bags taken care of, we departed
Mike's after breakfast, around 8:30 Sunday morning. We rode out of
Mike's and picked up the course, following it towards VDT. On the way,
Aaron, unfortunately influenced by me, pulled a wheelie on his xr650r
Honda, looping it out. Laughing and slightly embarrassed, he picked up
his bike and continued on without a rear fender. Once we hit VDT, we
fueled up, topped off our water packs and were ready to head for home.
Our plan was to ride up Hwy 3 to Ojos and catch the remaining part of
the Baja 1000 course back into La Rumorosa to finish out our weekend of
pre-running. With no desire to ride the course any longer we started
pounding pavement. With a couple of veteran racers and an impatient
young adult, that only lasted about 7-9 miles. Over the radio we all
agreed that the Hwy sucked and we should ride some trails to at least
have some fun heading home.

We turned off at Jamau and headed north, parallel to the highway. We
knew the area rather well as it had been used in recent race events. It
is also a well-traveled area by many Baja riders. We rode more or less
at a slow rate of speed, admiring the scenery and doing the usual
picking on each other over the race radios. Aaron led for a while, then
Steve, then Aaron, and back and forth while I cruised in the back
staying just slightly out of the dust. At this point we were
approximately 15-17 Km from the initial turnoff. Heading north, we
picked up sections of old Baja 500 and 1000 race courses, which were
familiar to Steve and I. We stopped for a quick break near a small pond
and continued on.

Shortly after we had stopped I rounded a corner still riding in the back
and noticed that Steve's bike was lying on the ground in front of a
fence, which caught me off guard. It wasn't a high-speed area or
directly in a corner so my first reaction was Steve dropped his bike to
pretend he had fallen. Not buying it since I saw no skid mark or any
reason he would have crashed, I then saw Aaron drop his bike and start
crawling very fast in a few strides and then he leaped over a bush. He
was screaming at me, "get down!! He's shooting at us; he's got a
gun!
He's got a gun...get down!!" It took me a couple of seconds to realize
that this was not a joke. Steve appeared to be in a state of shock and
was holding his chest. I immediately dropped the Kawasaki and ran to
Steve. I never looked beyond the fence, which was blocked and barricaded
off with brush and sticks. Steve said, "He shot me." I stood over
Steve
with my back to the shooter and Aaron kept yelling, "get down get
down."
I thought, if I don't look back and make eye contact maybe he will not
shoot. Steve was lying in broad day light with nowhere to hide and I was
damned if I was going to let him get shot again while on the ground. Not
knowing if the gunman was 10 feet or 200 yards behind me, I told Aaron
we needed to get Steve out of there and get help. I didn't know how bad
he was shot but just seeing a hole in his black EVS body armor was
enough to know it was serious.

If this shooter was going to shoot again he probably would have already
done it. I made it a point to say loudly, "we are leaving, we are
leaving!!! Don't shoot, we are leaving." I told Steve to get on the
back
of my bike but he said he couldn't and would try to ride. He was gasping
for air and groaning like I've never heard before. I picked up his
Yamaha 450 with my back still turned away from the fence and tried
kicking it over. I didn't count the kicks but when I was about to puke
from the adrenaline and kicking faster than normal... I think about
15-20 kicks, I yelled to Aaron who was scared to death to move to come
kick it and help me. Aaron had seen the shooter aim the rifle directly
at him and watched Steve buckle over and fall off of his bike hitting
the ground. Even though he was shocked and had made eye contact with
the shooter, Aaron still worked up the courage to run toward the fence
and help me with the Yamaha. After Aaron tried unsuccessfully to kick
several times he threw the bike down. I started the Kawasaki and coaxed
Steve to get on the back and get out of there. Aaron jumped on his bike
and we rode away slowly with Steve on the back still not looking back or
giving any impression we were any threat. We later found out from
Aaron's GPS that from the time Aaron dropped his bike and dove for cover
to the time we rode away from the fence was approx. 6 minutes.

We managed to make it approx 1.5 miles riding slow and by then we
started looking over our backs to make sure we were not being followed.
Steve was yelling at me, "stop, stop, stop I can't go another foot
stop
and let me down." I later found out from Steve that since I was still
wearing my backpack and hydration system it was pushing on Steve's chest
making it even more unbearable. We stopped, still not knowing if we were
being followed or why we were even a target. I looked at Steve's wound
and rolled him over to see if the bullet had exited his body. The wound
was a small caliber size hole but I was just as worried knowing what a
low caliber round will do bouncing around inside a body. Aaron used his
phone to call Bi National Insurance. After a couple of failed attempts
(they were not answering the phone), he called his dad, who was
initially in disbelief, thinking we were kidding. Within seconds and
after some reassuring choices of vocabulary, Mr. Cornicelli was all over
it and remained calm, telling Aaron to provide the GPS coordinates and
he would make the calls to Bi National Insurance and dispatch a
helicopter.

At this point I insisted that Aaron head to the highway (an 8 mile trip)
to get help. He said, "no, we need to stick together." I told him I
would go and he could stay with Steve and again, he said no. He was
worried the shooter could be coming for us. Aaron made it pretty clear
without busting my face that we were sticking together. Realizing we
were in a situation out of our control with no way to help Steve's
condition, we began to pray over Steve. We asked for guidance and
ultimately for the Lord to step in and take control. Steve, in complete
agony and with no way to explain in words his pain, said, "Get me on the
bike and I'll ride." We started the Kawasaki and helped him on,
leaving
some of his riding apparel still on the trail. Steve managed to get
rolling on his own strength while I jumped on the back of Aaron's Honda.
Not only was Aaron's bike missing the rear fender, but Aaron was also
wearing a large backpack, which left me with about 4" of seat. But that
didn't matter as I was so focused on encouraging Steve every foot of the
way. I still wonder how I didn't slip off and get tangled in the rear
wheel which looked like a saw blade calling me out!

Steve continued on, hiding the pain and convincing us that he was going
to make it to the highway. About half way to the highway, Steve lifted
his helmet and vomited twice. This was the second scariest part as I was
not sure if Steve was truly going to make it to the highway. Without
stopping we rode directly beside him ready to catch him if he fell. We
could only pray while riding and watch his eyes closing and him groaning
over the sound of the bike. Aaron and I were basically coaches, almost
as if beside a woman in labor, coaching him to breathe and hang in
there. It was clear he had either a punctured lung or some major
internal injuries because he could barely breathe. He continued to vomit
throughout the 10 miles of dirt roads. We realized the vomit was deep
brown to almost purple in color. Knowing he was bleeding internally made
the 10 miles feel like 100 miles. We knew if we kept encouraging him to
continue riding a few more feet we would hit the highway, get help, and
a chopper would fly him to a hospital.

Steve made it to the highway and literally collapsed from exhaustion and
pain. Aaron and I helped Steve get into some shade, and then we ran onto
the highway to flag down a car. The first car came into range within 4
or5 minutes, but it seemed like 45 minutes. The first 3 or 4 cars we
stopped (because we were not moving off the highway) wanted no part of
what was happening. They were most likely locals, had small kids and
sped off. The 4th or 5th car that stopped was a lifted truck with a
racing number of 500 on the rear window. They helped us by heading back
into VDT to find police or an ambulance. Keep in mind that the first
stop we made was to call a Medi-Vac through Bi National Insurance.
Unsure if they ever received the GPS coordinates from Joe, we were
afraid to move Steve in case a chopper was already en route. My fear was
that we'd move him too far and miss his opportunity to be flown out.

A few minutes passed when a police truck pulled up to assist. Shortly
after, a large group of military soldiers were passing by and they
quickly surrounded the area. They stood around for some time while we
explained where the shooting took place. We showed them the exact
location on the GPS and explained that we left a bike on the scene. They
had no comments, just kind of stood around. Aaron needed confirmation if
the chopper was in route but had poor phone range. So, while I was
trying like crazy to fill Steve with encouragement that he would make it
through this, Aaron jumped in the truck with the gentlemen who went and
flagged down the police. They headed north two miles where Aaron made
another call to his dad to confirm where we were. Around this time even
our chase guys who disappeared the night before showed up and were there
to help. For them to show up at this time would have never happened had
they been chasing from the time we initially headed off the highway.
They helped translate for us and later went back and retrieved the bike
with a police escort.

At this point I began arguing with the police when they said we need to
get Steve to a clinic in VDT as there was no ambulance that could come.
I told him forget it, a chopper was coming and I would not move him
again until the chopper landed and he was on his way to a hospital. At
this point the police man grabbed Steve's hand and felt his pulse and
vitals. He then put Steve's hand in mine and said, "Feel how cold
amigo?
He will not make it if we don't go now!" Without a further word or
thought I picked Steve up and we carried him to the back of the police
pickup truck. We rushed south to VDT. I was praying someone would see us
or find Aaron and let him know we were going to the clinic. At this
point Steve was really gasping for air and I was pleading with him to
take short breaths. I figured he had multiple broken ribs and maybe a
punctured lung. As we entered VDT I saw directly across the street some
Americans and a lifted truck with Team SRD on the window. I knew that
truck belonged to a friend, Justin, and started calling his name. The
sirens were blasting over my shouts and I was on my knees holding
Steve's head, keeping him from getting a concussion while the police
truck hit every possible pothole! I yelled a few times for Justin but
never saw him. Just some racers and chase crews looking and trying to
figure out what was happening.

Fortunately, I caught the attention of probably the best people to have
around in a situation like this. Cameron Steele's wife, Heidi, along
with one of their Desert Assassin (DA) crew guys, Cody. They saw my name
on my jersey and sent someone to see what was going on. DA's guy,
Poncho, arrived at the small clinic in VDT and immediately learned that
this was a life or death situation for Steve. Within minutes, Steve was
hooked up to an IV and oxygen and the doctor was checking his vitals.
Steve was in bad shape as his blood pressure was dropping and things
were way more than could be taken care of in this small clinic.

Cameron and his entire crew of friends and racers were there almost
immediately after Poncho radioed them, like an army of soldiers ready to
come and fight for us. Cameron immediately contacted Oscar Ramos,
Score's attorney. Oscar began searching for the quickest source of air
support. Steve was in horrible pain and was asking me over and over
"where the fuck is the helicopter." I told him over an over it was on
the way and he was going to make it. Poncho and I took turns holding the
oxygen mask on him and encouraging him to fight. Cameron and his guys
were all outside contacting everyone they could and getting the word out
about what had happened.

I remember Cameron coming into the small room and telling Steve,
"You're
going to make it Steve, a chopper is coming." Without looking up, Steve
knew who was there speaking and it gave him that much more comfort
knowing the word was out, support was there, and help was coming.

Aaron made it to the clinic by simply following the commotion and
expressed that he had contacted several sources for air support. At one
point I know a small plane from S.D. was ready to depart, and the No
Fear helicopter was ready to go, just waiting for a location or a medic.
It seemed like anyone who knew someone with a plane or helicopter was
contacted and getting ready to come for the rescue. Steve continued
fighting while we finally got confirmation that a police chopper was en
route from Ensenada and would be here in 40 minutes. This would be the
quickest form of transportation. I kept telling Steve, "5 more
minutes"
and was pissing him off so he would fight minute by minute. The clinic
was unable to give Steve anything for pain other than hooking up an IV
and providing oxygen. Once the chopper was close to arriving an
ambulance finally showed up, which I believe came from up North by Ojos
Negros. Once the medics had prepared Steve for flight, Cameron and crew
gave Aaron and I a change of clothes, and insisted that we get out of
our riding gear and prepare for a long night.

The police chopper finally arrived, close to 2 hours from the time we
made it to the clinic. This was a very small police chopper, primarily
used for patrolling locally in Ensenada, and wasn't prepared for longer
flights. When it arrived they had to pull fuel cans from inside the back
seat area of the chopper and refuel. One of the DA guys was helping by
the old school way of sucking through a tube to expedite the process.
After a face and mouth full of fuel he definitely got things going.
These guys are absolutely on top of things and would take any risks
necessary to get Steve up in the air. The chopper had barely enough
room for a pilot, co-pilot and medic, let alone Steve. Steve was
strapped to a board with a blanket over him and duct-taped, almost
resembling a mummy. Once loaded, he was literally sticking out both
sides of the chopper. It was more than I could stomach and I couldn't
watch as he flew away. I knew his pain was intense and the amount of
blood he had lost would play a huge factor in whether he made the
flight. Once up in the air we all cheered with joy knowing he was at
least heading for the best hospital available in Baja, the Angelos
Hospital in T.J.

At this point Aaron and I were still in shock from the events. Our bikes
and gear were loaded up on the DA's caravan, but they needed to drive
south to pick up a truck / trailer before heading up towards Mexicali.
Aaron's dad was planning to pick us up from Mexicali and take us back to
my truck and then I would drive to T.J.

I realized it would take several additional hours to see Steve again if
I went with the DA guys, even though I had promised him and Jody that I
would not let him die or leave his side. Close to 40 minutes after the
chopper left Trinidad I was riding with Cameron, his dad (Big Daddy),
Heidi, and their family dog - Booger. I'm sure Booger sensed my concern
because he rested his head on my lap giving me a sense of ease. I heard
Cam mention it sounded like the chopper had made it and landed. I was
relieved but still a mess not knowing Steve's condition, so I tried my
best to relax and just pray to myself. Close to 20 minutes later, still
heading south towards San Felipe, Cameron talked to Oscar and confirmed
the chopper hit a storm going into TJ and had not landed yet, but was
circling around until things cleared. At this point I was pretty much
jumping out of the truck and was determined to find a way to travel to
TJ by hitch hiking. Cameron calmed me down and arranged for another
chase truck heading to Ensenada to give me a ride. I jumped out and
Cameron stopped me to give me some extra cash in case of emergency. I
hopped in a passing truck and said, "take me to the truck waiting to
take me to Ensenada." Unfortunately for Cameron and his crew I jumped in
the wrong truck. But fortunately for me I got in a truck with great
people who were horrified to hear my story, and they took me toward
Ensenada. I wouldn't find out until later that night that I jumped in
the wrong truck and gave Cameron and his crew a scare that I had
disappeared!

Aaron stayed with Cam's group and encouraged them to continue on, as he
was sure I would make my way to Steve and his family. Fortunately Aaron
was riding in another vehicle, otherwise he would have knocked me out
and kept me safe with Cameron and the DA guys. Aaron thinks things
through and knew the best thing was to stick with safety and get across
the border and then come back later since family was at the hospital and
Steve was in good hands. I had other thoughts...since I heard over the
radio that Steve was still floating around in the air with his face
literally getting beat by a storm; I pretty much acted on impulse.


To sum it up, some incredible dudes from Callaway racing managed to get
me to one of their friends in Ensenada, who goes by Baja Dan. Once in
Ensenada he called the hospital for me and even got Steve's wife on the
phone. Jody let me know that not only did Steve make it to the hospital
alive but that he had already undergone surgery and all went extremely
well. Steve's family was at the Hospital before the helicopter even
arrived. Finally, Steve was in good hands.

Steve had an exploded spleen (which was removed), a tear in his liver
and damage to his intestine and colon, but his major organs were OK. He
lost more than 50% of his blood and doctors said if he had taken an
ambulance from VDT to even Ensenada, he would have died half way through
the trip. The TJ hospital was incredible and the surgeon that performed
the surgery was top notch. Talk about a ton of weight lifted off my
heart. The amount of joy was unexplainable.

The Callaway race team guys planned to stay in Ensenada that night, but
promised to get me to a taxi or bus, or drive me to TJ themselves.
Before even seeing a taxi, I noticed a truck full of bikes pulling out
and immediately jumped out and asked where they were heading. They said
Rosarito and I said awesome, I'm coming with you guys. Without any
issues, these complete strangers who live in Rosarito agreed to help me
get to Rosarito. I explained the situation to the guy sitting next to me
in the back seat and he couldn't believe what he had heard. To my
amazement he scrolled his 2-way to Oscar Ramos who was already at the
hospital and let him know he was bringing me to the hospital. It was
crazy that I ran into someone who not only agreed to take me directly to
the TJ hospital, but he had contacted the very same Oscar who had pulled
the right strings to get the chopper down to VDT. It turns out I was in
great hands since the guy I was sitting next to is a race promoter in
Mexico and runs a Motocross track in Rosarito. We were pulled over by
the Policia a mile or so out of Ensenada and I thought, "great.. what
are the odds." However the police just talked to the driver for a minute
about a license plate issue and then let him go. I actually thought
things could get ugly, and yep, I started praying to myself again. A
quick stop in Rosarito to unload the bikes and the gentlemen then drove
like Mario Andretti on the back roads to TJ and literally took me
straight up to the waiting room.

With all that said, I made it to the hospital and met up with the Martz
family in the waiting room. Seeing the looks on the faces of Steve's
parents and Jody, I knew that Steve was doing much better than when I
had last seen him. Completely spent with exhaustion but overwhelmed with
joy, I made it to see Steve not only alive but drugged up and out of
pain. He then told me more details about the shooting. He actually saw
the shooter very clearly, and remembered everything and every second of
agony. He said he was in so much pain on the one-hour helicopter ride
that he was cursing God and asking to end this misery. I assured him God
had other plans and ultimately even controlled his thoughts. I truly
think the Lord just allowed Steve to seek and recognize God even being
involved and ultimately the one calling the shots.

After a quick visit with Steve I stayed the evening in the waiting room
eager to see his progress the next morning. Jody and I talked for hours,
until the sun rose, about how strong Steve was and how Aaron and I
managed to find ways to keep him encouraged as we knew he was going to
still be a damn good father and husband and hard-headed pain in the
rear!

Aaron was traumatized by the day's events and once I spoke with his
family and knew he made it back across the border safe it was just
another big sigh of relief. He ranted on and on about how the DA guys
hooked him up and took extra care of him. From clothes to dinner and
even offering to pay the tolls, the DA's refused to let him pay for
anything.

Monday was a blur after a sleepless night. We had a few visits and
meetings with the District Attorney's from TJ & Ensenada, but we simply
just wanted Steve back home in the U.S. We prayed around lunch time for
an open door to get Steve back to the U.S. Just before dark the answer
came that he was stable enough to be transported. Within minutes Sharp
Health Care dispatched Mercy Air to land on the roof of the Angelos
Hospital. I snuck in to let Steve know the chopper was on its way to
take him across the border to Sharp... I think I said "just 5 minutes
buddy" and if he could have gotten up I think he would have beat me to
death! But not Steve, he smirked and said, "Ya, right...heard that
before!" After some insurance drama and billing, the Martz family came
to an agreement with the hospital's payment requirements, squared up,
and we all went outside to watch the chopper light up and take Steve to
the U.S.

Once the chopper fired up shortly after nightfall it was as if we all
held our breath and as it flew away and disappeared behind the building
we all let out a big sigh of overwhelming joy. At that point I fell
apart and finally realized Steve was going to be OK. Jody was falling
apart with joy and I couldn't even look at her through the tears.
Steve's mom and dad, and several of his friends and I were all more than
ready to jump in the vehicles and head for the border. Steve made it
back to a S.D. hospital and was in great hands once again. His recovery
has been going extremely well and he is expected to be home within 6-8
days if he continues at the rate he's going.

Steve's a fighter and is already eager to get home and tell his story.
The Martz family has requested minimal, family-only visiting to give
Steve the rest he needs. He wants so much to see everyone, entertain,
and tell the stories, but it is just too much for now. We are planning a
welcome home celebration and will keep everyone informed.

On behalf of the Martz family, Aaron and myself, we really want to
encourage everyone to understand what Steve went through and how he
suffered while simply enjoying what he loves the most. He has told me
more than once throughout our friendship and racing career that if he
died he would want to be doing what he loves, which is racing or having
the time of his life racing anything with a motor for that fact. Steve
was clinging to his life over something as random as a gunshot wound, in
a familiar area we have traveled before. And for an unknown man, wearing
hunting camo's and directly shooting one of the nicest guys in the
world, over what? That's our confusion and this wasn't Steve's time
to
go. We are fortunate the gun was only fired once and that we all made it
out without another shot fired. We are thankful we are alive, but we
also want to make all of our friends in the off road industry aware of
the fact that we had no doubt in our minds that we were not going to be
effected by any violence in Mexico, only to be caught off guard with
this life changing experience. I pray for anyone still going down to
Mexico to understand what happened and to seriously think about what
they could get themselves into.

(Aaron's Take) After leading for sometime, Steve passed me. I came
around a corner and saw a gate up ahead and recall saying to myself,
"That gate looks odd, oh well we will have a look when we all get
there." As I continued on toward the gate, I noticed Steve had stopped
about 20 feet from the gate and was straddling his bike. Still riding
toward Steve, I saw him start to fall over as if he went to put his foot
down but the ground was not there. At first I was like, what is he
doing, until I heard him say, "He shot me!" That was when I looked up
and to the right of the gate and I saw a rather large bush and a man
dressed in camouflage gear turning to aim a rifle at me. I must have
been 10 feet from Steve, still rolling, when I saw this and all I could
do was jump off my bike screaming, "No, no, no...what are you
doing?....Don't shoot." All the while trying to delete the shooters
line
of sight from me. As I jumped behind a bush, I saw Dan coming around the
corner and I was extremely concerned that he would be shot next. Unable
to warn him via the radios, I began yelling, "he's got a gun, get
down."
I remember being baffled by Dan as he rode right up to Steve as if no
shooter was going to stop him. Then all of a sudden, it seemed to sink
in that Steve had been shot and I was terrified.

All of a sudden Dan stood up (never looking towards the shooter) saying,
"We are leaving!" At that point, Dan turned his bike around and got
it
started. He picked up Steve's Yamaha and began trying to kick start it.
I remember being so terrified that I was extremely hesitant to go over
and get my bike. With great encouragement from Dan, I ran over and
grabbed my XR and began kicking it until it started. Once my bike was
started, Dan yelled at me to come over and try to get Steve's bike
started. After about 20 kicks from me, I looked at Dan and he said,
"Leave it!" I dropped it and hopped on my bike riding side by side
with
Dan and Steve. We rode 1.5 miles away from the scene and Steve yelled to
pull over. I told Dan to get my phone. The first number I dialed was
Bi-National Emergency....Ring...Ring....Ring....no one answered. My next
call was to my dad to have him start making arrangements. I gave him the
GPS points and told him to hurry. After getting off the phone, Dan told
me to head to the highway for help. I told him NO as I was not coming
back to find them both dead. He said he would go and I could stay but I
refused. At this point I was concerned for all of us and we really did
not know who shot and why. I told Dan that we were all leaving together
as a team. We gave Steve the option to ride by himself or with one of
us. He decided to ride by himself. From here on, Dan's report explains
the rest and I agree 100% with everything he has written as I was there
and witnessed this entire thing. November 2, 2008, was a horrible day
and it is simply because of the grace of God that Steve, Dan and I are
alive. It is clear to me that God has other plans for us and that is why
we are so blessed to be home, safe and sound, with only a wounded friend
and a story to tell.

I hope Score can redirect their attention to this matter and simply warn
competitors, letting them know that this was no hunting accident and
could have been much, much worse. We were extremely lucky for the most
part. After reading just some of the events, ask your self if it is
worth it? As of this past weekend we were not scheduled to compete in
this 1000, but our sole intention was to pre-run sections of the course
and make ourselves available to compete if another team needed a last
minute rider. We were not on the course and were several miles from the
course on our way back home, but ultimately were riding in a very common
area where we would have never questioned our safety; until now. Sal
Fish spoke with me in the TJ hospital and both Sal and Oscar Ramos were
very accommodating and heartfelt about the situation and expressed their
deepest concerns. However, as of this weekend, about a week after Steve
was shot, I have not heard of any attempts from Score to check on
Steve's condition. I'm bothered by that, knowing not only was Steve a
licensed top Baja racer for many years, but also competed in several
classes including 7S, Class 22 pro motorcycles, and premier class 1
cars. Our team finished last year's season with a 3rd place in points
championship followed by a 4th place finish (class 22) in last year's
40th anniversary Baja 1000.

In my humble opinion I am disappointed by the conduct and overall
attitude of Score, primarily for two reasons: the fact that I feel the
organization has not yet released facts or made efforts to speak with
the Martz family, or publicly announced that this was not an accident.
We were not scheduled for this race but we left the opportunity
available. I hope to see something even as brief as a warning for the
racers and general race fans to be extremely careful since this past
week's incident could happen again and could be more than a "hunting
accident."

Steve, Aaron and I absolutely loved riding and competing in Baja, along
with coordinating several hosted tour rides, and are saddened to step
back from a once such rewarding and fulfilling lifestyle. We truly will
miss it and hope things can change soon. As recognized (I hope) Score
professional racers, I can only hope this story can build awareness for
all racers' safety in the next Baja 1000 and future races. I personally
won't be back since I was directly affected in many ways. I think
competitors will always compete knowing the danger is there, but being
honest with the facts does go a long way with a community of racers.

Moral of the story: Several heroes worked on saving the life of a fellow
racer and he was ultimately saved by the grace of God and His
involvement the entire time. This story will be closure to us and our
families, knowing that we have set the facts straight and will no longer
need to explain the same story over an over. Again, none of us are
angry with Score knowing that this was out of their hands and ultimately
not race course related, but we feel the public needs to know the truth
and if it can happen in the area of VDT, it could happen anywhere. Be
careful and race safe! The off road community is a brotherhood and
watching racers go out of their way to do anything for us is just
another reason the sport is what it is. Currently, as of 10 days from
the incident, Steve is still in excruciating pain following another
emergency surgery on Monday evening. Doctors discovered another hole in
the stomach interior which was causing infection and severe pain. Steve
is still in ICU and struggling with the recovery process.

Steve told me he is at peace and has forgiven the unidentified
individual for shooting him. He made it clear from the day after the
shooting he was not going to pursue or press charges and is comfortable
with his decision.

God Bless,
Dan
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Old 03-04-2016, 09:38 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyAirtime View Post
(total thread resurrection)
I was scanning google in regards to my good bud Steve, and found this thread.

Not to make it another big deal, but...

Bunch of inaccurate info in this thread.
... so much so, it kinda' pisses me off. But that's regurgitated info, so it's far from accurate.

No military hummer...
Nobody abandoning anyone...
... I quit reading the BS.
What... A total... Waste of... Airtime, Johnny.
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Old 03-04-2016, 09:38 AM   #23 (permalink)
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wow. crazy story. even if it is old as hell. Glad everybody made it alright.
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Old 03-04-2016, 09:50 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tribal4krawler View Post
wow. crazy story. even if it is old as hell. Glad everybody made it alright.
Yup...

And I don't care 'how old' it is. Still pretty fresh in my memory banks.

And to all those being dicks about my 'bringing it back up' or not providing further info. Can suck it. I could care less if it's a bothersome thread, or bringing back up an old posting. If you don't like it... or the information in the thread, move along.

Seems some of you just HAVE to post your opinion, when... some of the rest of us don't give a fark to hear it.

Enjoy the read... it's real, and accurate.
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Last edited by JohnnyAirtime; 03-04-2016 at 09:52 AM.
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Old 03-04-2016, 10:10 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Crazy story
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