Former professional cyclist and current professional triathlete/duathlete, Andrea Ratkovic, was shot on Monday October 10 while riding her bike. Ratkovic, who rode for The Bicycle Store team in this year's Redlands Classic was on a bike path when a car in the road lane closest to her opened fire with a small calibre (lead pellet) gun, firing several shots but only hitting her once in the lower back. "All I heard was TAT, TAT, TAT, TAT, and I knew what was coming. I was hoping I wouldn't get hit, but then I felt the fire and sting, and I knew that I'd been hit," said Ratkovic.
From that point on she tried to monitor her bodily functions. "Afterwards I felt like I was going to be okay and not pass out or something; I prayed for a red light up ahead, and I got it." Ratkovic then jumped off the bike path and rode up to the passenger side of the car which was stopped at the red light. "I was afraid I might get shot in the face, but at the same time I felt that I had to be able to identify the shooter." She said she yelled at the boys inside who were around 16 or 17 years of age. "I asked them why they shot me, and they said they didn't know. They apologised. I told them I was going to report them to the police."
Ratkovic got the car's registration number and filed a police report before being transported to the Norman Regional ER where she was treated and released. "Everyone there was so wonderful because my roommate told everyone what had happened. She works in radiology there, and so do I. We're like a big family up there, so when something like this happens it's pretty traumatic."
Ratkovic was told that her clothing helped to keep the bullet from entering her body. "I have a hole in my back over my left kidney, but the bullet itself I think glanced off of my jersey, plus I also had another shirt under that. If the bullet had hit an inch lower then it would have been a straight on shot - and there could have been problems as it may have penetrated me pretty good," said Ratkovic. "I'm just glad they didn't hit my neck or my eye!"
Ratkovic is expected to make a full recovery, and although she rides hard, she says, "It's funny because everyone was so surprised that I didn't yank those kids out of the car. I might race aggressively, but I'm not that way in my every day life."