AUSTIN (KXAN) — On June 7, when 42-year-old Alonso Solis was bicycling down the 6300 block of East Riverside Drive, he was hit by a random shotgun blast that has caused irreparable damage.
When he was rushed to the hospital, medical staff said pellets entered his brain stem, which could have killed him. But after one surgery and one more coming up, Solis survived, but the road to recovery will be a long one.
“Yeah, I’m pretty down right now, I feel pretty sad, I didn’t do anything to deserve this,” Solis said.
Solis said he was biking to the store just before midnight when he felt as though he was having a heart attack. He woke up in the hospital nearly two days later, and doesn’t remember anything about how he got the pellet wounds to his head, neck, and back.
But an affidavit shows the police account of the story, Solis was found by a security guard who began performing CPR. When officers arrived, they found a small puddle of the victim’s blood and a “shotgun wad,” part of the shell.
On June 8, detectives working a family violence case informed the officers working the shooting case that their cases might be related. A witness had informed police that he was driving around with Merrick Isaacks, 19, who needed to “blow off steam” after assaulting and threatening to shoot his girlfriend with a shotgun.
The witness also told investigators that Isaacks fired a shotgun out the window of the vehicle they were in on East Riverside Drive around the same time the cyclist was hit.
During a police interview, the driver said Isaacks first directed him to stop at a red light at the intersection of Montopolis Drive and East Riverside because he “wanted to shoot or kill someone standing at the bus stop.” The witness told police there were several homeless people at the stop so he continued driving through the intersection, telling Isaacks that the light had turned green and they couldn’t stop.
According to the affidavit, the driver passed a Shell station 250 feet down the road from the intersection when they saw a bicycle traveling in the same direction. The driver told police Isaacks didn’t say anything and fired the shotgun one time out the passenger side window.
The driver said that after they left the area. Isaacks, who he had only known for about four months, forced him to drive around most of the night as he fired the shotgun several times in different locations.
Isaacks is currently in the Travis County Jail on an aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charge and is being held on a combined $250,000 bond.
“I feel this is not right, how can someone else pay for what someone else is going through?” Solis told KXAN with the help of a translator.
His bike is now missing, he can’t sleep because of the pain, and he has trouble eating because of injuries to his mouth.
Medical staff have told him that he can’t lift more than 2 pounds, which prevents him from doing his job as a carpet layer. He has four children and a wife back in Mexico; he worries about how he will provide for them
Solis says he is trying to move forward, but his physical and emotional pain are impossible to hide.
Veneza Bremner, an APD Senior Police Officer explained that cases of random shooting don’t happen often in Austin. “Unfortunately this victim was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Bremner said.
She explained that the most concerning part of this case to police was that there were probably people who witnessed this shooting, and no one came forward initially. She said that if the security guard hadn’t found Solis and called 911, he may not have survived. Bremner said this case is a reminder of why it’s important to contact authorities anytime you witness a crime.