RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The 57-year-old cyclist who died after being assaulted on a Raleigh greenway on Thursday had recently become a grandfather.
Chauncey “Chip” Weinkoop Depew, Jr.was found badly hurt along the Walnut Creek Trail near the interchange of S. Saunders Street and Interstate-40 around noon on Thursday, police said.
Raleigh police said someone attacked Depew as he was riding his Kona Trail Bike.
He later died at the hospital.
Depew’s family released a statement Friday that said he was an avid sportsman and had recently become a grandfather.
“He found peace in solitude, keeping mostly to himself and his immediate family. In sum, he lived a quiet and uncomplicated life,” the statement said. “For these reasons, our family is unable to comprehend this random act of violence in the town we have called home for nearly 30 years.”
Depew’s family is asking for anyone with information on the assault to contact the Raleigh Police Department at (919) 834-4357.
“Please help us keep our city safe and assist in preventing this senseless violence from occurring again. We also ask that our privacy be respected as we grieve during this difficult time,” Depew’s family said.
Depew’s neighbors described him as a “super nice guy,” saying he’d frequently chat with them and recently shared the news of his new grandchild.
“He was ecstatic about it. He was so happy,” said Judd Price.
Price’s roommate William Domville says Depew talked about his rides along the Greenway, and went cycling almost everyday.
“I saw him yesterday morning actually pumping up his bike tires. It looked like he was getting ready to go for a ride,” Domville said.
Cody Stokes, president of Raleigh bike advocacy group Oaks & Spokes, says the attack is tragic.
“It’s not often we hear about someone being attacked on the greenway. I do hope that for the victim’s family that the person is discovered, and they are brought to justice,” Stokes said.
Stokes says the case is an important reminder about safety, especially when riding alone.
He suggested riders have a “safety net,” in case something goes wrong like a crash, or mechanical failure. He recommends using apps like Strava’s Beacon which lets cyclists or runners send texts with a GPS link to contacts during their run or ride.
“Let people know that you are out on a ride, where you’re going. If you can, ride with a friend,” said Stokes.
As a result of the attack, city crews inspected the lights in the S. Saunders Street tunnel. A city spokesperson said the lights were operational and are on constantly. Crews added supplemental lighting as well.
Raleigh police have not released any information pertaining to a suspect or a possible motive. Anyone with information asked to call Raleigh CrimeStoppers at (919) 834-HELP or visit raleighcrimestoppers.org for text and email reporting options.