Community in shock after minister killed during bike ride

[anvplayer video=”5185091″ station=”998122″]

SILVER CITY, N.M. — New Mexico State Police say Stephen Timmons of Silver City was murdered last month while riding his mountain bike near Silver City.

62-year-old Timmons was a father, grandfather, and a minister at Western New Mexico University, according to his obituary and friends.

State police said Timmons went for a bike ride on the popular Dragonfly bike trail in the Gila National Forest on June 26.

When Timmons didn’t return home, state police officers were dispatched to the trailhead to search for him. It was hours later that they found him dead from several gunshot wounds.

Police have charged 29-year-old Joseph Costello with the murder after matching the gun casings from the scene to Costello’s firearm, after an arrest for an outstanding trespassing warrant.

“He would go out to these trails and ride his mountain bike and pray, and so I can only hope that that’s what he was doing when he met his end,” said Dave Baker, one of Timmons’ friends.

Baker owns a bike shop in Silver City and says he knew Timmons for years. Baker said this not only shocked the town but shocked bikers from the area.

“I would send people out to this trail system daily, and suddenly it was like, oh, man, don’t send anyone out there, don’t go out there,” Baker said. “It spooked us really heavily.”

Baker said there is some sort of relief after the recent arrest, but the importance now is to make sure Timmons is remembered for who he was.

“He was such a great, peaceful force on this planet,” Baker said.

Costello is currently in jail at the Grant County Detention Center.