The death of 69-year-old Francis Patrick Gregory has many asking questions. Gregory was hiking the Iron Canyon Trail with his friend when they both were shot. Gregory died and his friend who remains anonymous due to his own safety is in stable but critical condition.
The Bureau Of Land Management’s Field Manager Jennifer Mata said their trails are safe.
“There's always a ranger presence, it just depends on kinda where they are at from day to day but usually in our heavy use areas there’s always a ranger presence," said Mata.
But while we were on the trail for a couple of hours Friday afternoon we say neither rangers or other hikers. But Mata said it all depends on weather conditions.
“The bend recreational area in general is pretty popular with hikers but it just depends on the time of day,” said Mata. "Typically as we get hotter and more into the summer season you see people in the mornings and evenings once it cools off."
Deputies said the victims were found 100 yards into the trail. The area had some bushes and trees but was mostly open space, making it hard for anyone to hide.
Mata said rangers do keep an eye out for suspicious activity. They don't have a set schedule which is why they patrol different areas on different days. Mata said keeping people safe is their main concern and the incident that happened on May 16 has never happened before.
“I would say they are safe as far as I’m concerned this is an isolated incident and we remain dedicated to public safety on our trail systems,” Mata said.
BLM officials said that it’s important that any time you go on a trail you let someone know. They also recommend to always use a buddy system.