Pastor has close encounter with gunshot while on Sunday morning bike ride

It was early Sunday morning before church services when pastor Jeff Barclay of Christ Community Church decided to take a bicycle ride to ponder the sermon he would be giving in a short while on “grace and truth.”

As he biked on a trail in the Sandra J. Shaw Community Health Park, he was startled out of his reverie by a gunshot and the smell of gunpowder.

Not 10 feet from him was a man lying on the embankment of a pond holding a small revolver with the barrel pointed upward but not at him, Barclay said.

Barclay said he had stopped pedaling and was coasting, trying to decide what to do. Had he been shot? Should he ditch his bike?

“I didn’t know what I was going to do, run down the embankment, jump off my bike,” he said.

He made eye contact with the gunman and saw that he had not shot himself.

“I kept my eyes on his eyes,” Barclay said. “He didn’t say a word to me and I didn’t say a word to him.

“This was all happening very fast,” Barclay said. “I didn’t want to confront him. I didn’t think it would make any sense to challenge him, so I rode as fast as my legs would take me.”

Barclay had forgot his cellphone so he pedaled to Lawrence Memorial Hospital a couple of blocks away to call police.

“It was very impressive… Six police cars coming from all directions,” he said. “Within 15 minutes they had handcuffed and arrested him.”

Kim Murphree, Lawrence Police Department spokeswoman, said when police arrived at the park, they found a 29-year-old man and seized a gun from his backpack.

Officers took him to the hospital for screening, Murphree said. Alcohol is believed to be a contributing factor.

Barclay called his wife and seven children to report the early morning events, and then the family went to church and he gave his sermon.

Barclay said it was only afterward that he fully realized the danger.

“I know families who push strollers on the trail,” he said. “You just never know. I am so grateful it was a semi non-event.