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Authorities search area where kayaker was shot and wounded on Saturday night

Authorities on Monday searched an area along an Anne Arundel creek where a kayaker who had paddled out to watch the stars was shot and wounded late Saturday, possibly by a stray bullet, officials said.

David E. Seafolk-Kopp, 56, of Reston, was boating Saturday night on Main Creek when he felt a sharp pain. A bullet clipped the kayaker in the abdomen sometime between 10:30 and 11:30 p.m., state officials said.

Authorities said Monday that the trajectory of the bullet suggested it was fired from a long distance, possibly more than 100 yards. They said it is possible that the shooter did not intend to strike Seafolk-Kopp.

“We’ll find the shooter. It’s just going to be a matter of time, and it’s going to take some good investigative work,” said Sgt. Brian Albert of the Maryland Natural Resources Police.

Seafolk-Kopp was in a well-lighted area of Main Creek off Bodkin Creek near several marinas when he was shot, authorities said. The boater, who had no cellphone and no light on his kayak, told investigators he “paddled gingerly” toward shore and lost consciousness a few times during the night. He made it to land about 10:30 a.m. Sunday — about 12 hours after he was wounded, authorities said.

They said Seafolk-Kopp was discovered by a homeowner, who called police.

Albert said Seafolk-Kopp suffered a wound from a possible pistol round — likely from a .357-caliber or 9mm handgun. Seafolk-Kopp, who could not be reached Monday, has been released from the hospital, authorities said.

Seafolk-Kopp had launched his kayak from the Park Lane area of Pasadena at about dusk Saturday. He was in a part of the creek he knew well.

“He went out on the creek in the afternoon and watched the sun set on the water,” said Candy Thomson, a Department of Natural Resources spokeswoman. “He stayed out to gaze up at the stars.”

Seafolk-Kopp had told authorities that he saw a bonfire on shore and heard what sounded like a party. Investigators said Monday that any campfires or parties the victim may have heard were too far from where he was hit to have been the source of the gunshot.

Authorities initially had said that just before he was struck, Seafolk-Kopp saw a red dot from a laser site on his chest. On Monday, they said that the kayaker did think he saw a red light from a telescopic device used for aiming but that it did not appear on his chest.

During a Monday afternoon news conference, authorities said investigators and dogs were searching an area along the creek. Officials said they also were checking whether the shot may have come from the vicinity of a vacant house near the site of the shooting.

(Richard Johnson/The Washington Post)

Authorities said they don’t think anyone else is in danger.

“We in no way think that anyone is in jeopardy in the community or it’s unsafe to be in the water in Bodkin Creek or Main Creek in that area,” Albert said. “This is an isolated incident.”

There was no active hunting season in Maryland except a youth turkey hunt day for hunters under 16, according to the state.

Thomson said the bullet that struck Seafolk-Kopp has been sent for ballistics analysis.

Jennifer Jenkins contributed to this report.

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Arelis Hernández covers Prince George’s County as part of The Washington Post's local staff.

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