A kayaker who told authorities a harrowing story about how he was shot on a Maryland creek in April and spent the night struggling to return to shore apparently made it up, police said. They now think he shot himself.
The bizarre story got even stranger last week when David Seafolk-Kopp, 56, of Reston shot himself again just before authorities served a search warrant on his home, police said. He is being investigated for giving police a false statement about the widely reported shooting on Main Creek in Pasadena.
Seafolk-Kopp met officers at the door of his home on Friday, suffering from the gunshot wound, and was taken to the hospital where he remains in critical but stable condition, said Sgt. Brian Albert of the Maryland Natural Resources Police.
A search warrant filed in Fairfax County Circuit Court says investigators have found inconsistencies in his account of the April shooting. “We have no reason to believe anyone is out there shooting people in kayaks,” Albert said.
Seafolk-Kopp told police he launched his kayak to do some stargazing on the evening of April 12, navigating on the tributary off Bodkin Creek. He said he saw a bonfire on the shore and heard sounds of a party, but then suddenly felt pain in his abdomen about 11 p.m. and realized he had been shot.
Seafolk-Kopp told authorities he gingerly paddled toward shore all night, as he passed in and out of consciousness, finally reaching land about 10:30 the next morning. He was found by an area resident, who alerted authorities.
Police said suspicions were raised immediately, although they were not made public as authorities wanted to investigate the claims fully to ensure there was not a public threat.
A paramedic who responded to the scene found it odd that Seafolk-Kopp had no blood on his shorts, according to the search warrant. She also told authorities Seafolk-Kopp was not cold to the touch, as she would have expected for someone who spent the night outside in shorts and a sleeveless shirt. He also did not seem upset that he had been shot.
Seafolk-Kopp also told the paramedic that he had not taken a cellphone out on the water, but the paramedic noticed he was clutching one while he was being evaluated by paramedics.
In addition, the paramedic told authorities Seafolk-Kopp became “awkward” after she asked him whether the wound was self-inflicted. The paramedic said Seafolk-Kopp also told her not to contact his family to tell them he had been shot.
The inconsistencies led the paramedic and an Anne Arundel County police officer to suspect Seafolk-Kopp shot himself, according to the search warrant.
Authorities also noted the angle and direction of his wound were consistent with a shot from his left hand. Seafolk-Kopp is left-handed.
A Maryland crime lab found that the bullet probably came from a .357-caliber Smith & Wesson pistol. State records indicate that Seafolk-Kopp owns several firearms of that caliber among the 31 guns registered in his name.
Seafolk-Kopp also told investigators he had not fired a weapon for several months, but he tested positive for gunpowder residue in three out of four tests administered, according to the search warrant. Police said in the warrant that he has been uncooperative with authorities since shortly after the incident.
Seafolk-Kopp’s report prompted a broad investigation. Authorities combed the shore and creek looking for clues and received numerous tips from the public. At the time, police said his wounds were not consistent with someone who had shot himself.
Authorities initially thought Seafolk-Kopp had been shot from a distance because the bullet lodged in his body, said Candy Thomson, a police spokeswoman. She said authorities thought a shot fired at close range would have caused a more serious injury.
Albert said police do not know why Seafolk-Kopp may have invented the story and want to question him about it when he is able.