Attempted murder charge dropped in cyclist shooting

A grand jury has dropped the charge of attempted first-degree murder against Charles Alexander Diez, the Asheville firefighter accused of shooting at a cyclist. Diez is now facing a felony assault charge that carries a much lower potential penalty.

Currently free on a $200,000 bond, Diez was served a warrant Aug. 6 on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill. Attempted first-degree murder, a Class B2 felony, carries a 125- to 157-month prison sentence for someone with no criminal record. The assault charge, a Class E felony, carries a 20- to 25-month sentence.

Diez has no prior criminal record and, according to police, was sober at the time of the incident.

Grand juries deliberate in secret, and District Attorney Ron Moore says he submitted both the assault and attempted-murder charges. He told Xpress that he doesn't know why the grand jury rejected the murder charge.

Asheville police had charged Diez, a firefighter since 1992, with attempted first-degree murder after he allegedly fired a .38-caliber handgun at cyclist Alan Simons July 26. The bullet ripped through the lining of Simons' helmet and, according to police, came within less than an inch of striking him in the head.

Simons was riding with his wife and 3-year-old child, and Diez had begun arguing with Simons, saying it was unsafe to have the boy in a child bike seat behind him. When Simons began to walk away, Diez allegedly opened fire.

Moore said he would "talk with the officer involved and see if there's any new evidence. If there is, we can re-submit the charge [to the grand jury]."

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13 thoughts on “Attempted murder charge dropped in cyclist shooting

  1. Barry Summers

    This guy tried to murder an unarmed man by shooting him in the head in front of his wife & child, and all he gets is an assault charge? Wow.

  2. Dean

    Unbelievable.

    Let me get this straight. I try to shoot an unarmed person in the head, in broad daylight, in front of witnesses and it’s not attempted murder?

    Amazing. Asheville truly is in the twilight zone…

  3. Barry Summers

    I’m sure that the fact that the shooter is an Asheville fireman and the shootee is a… (hippy) … had nothing to do with it.

  4. bearz

    It’s good that Grand juries deliberate in secret. Otherwise they’d be laughed, or hell maybe even run out of town?

  5. SkinnyPhatGuy

    Folks…the Grand jury would likely have LOVED to have given the guy the attempted murder charge, but to make it stick, there would have to have been “premeditation” on the part of the scumbag shooter. They would have to have proven that he set out beforehand with intent to find someone to kill or had a target in mind prior to the incident. It looks to me like it is appropriate as this is obviously a case of a stupid hot-head losing his temper and taking a shot on the spur of the moment and in the heat of the confrontation (not necessarily preplanned or premeditated). Stupid and senseless…Yes. Premeditated? Maybe not. The charge they came back with is the most serious that our current law will allow us to throw at the scumbag shooter.Don’t blame the Grand jury. I’m sure they wish they could do more, I assure you!

  6. Local Mom

    Thanks for explaining the law…but it’s just plain wrong for anyone, especially a public servant (who we are supposed to trust), to go around shooting people in the head! I am in shock that more isn’t being said about it in our community. And what kind of person shoots someone when they lose their temper? The shooter is obviously not healthy mentally and is a danger to society. I feel terrible that this family has experienced this and the guy is just going to be slapped on the wrist. Come on, when you shoot at someone’s head you aren’t trying to kill them?

  7. Dean

    I pray that some time of justice is done.

    The facts are the shooter put the gun in his car. He pulled it out and fired it someone’s head.

    Let’s just hope the shooter gets some time, some therapy, and comes to know what he did is dead wrong.

  8. Barry Summers

    Part of his sentence should be traveling around the state by bicycle, with a big sign on him that says “I tried to murder a cyclist”. Make him spend the next ten years raising awareness about the rights of cyclists and the hatred waged against them by some. While cycling, I have had things thrown at me, been run off the road, been heckled and cursed at, all by hateful jerks like this guy. I can only speculate why some people hate cyclists –

  9. nuvue

    What if?
    What if the bullet had been two inches higher?
    Nothing would have happened to the guy.
    What if the bullet had been two inches lower?
    Murder 1
    What if he wasn’t allowed to have the gun in the first place?
    he would have thrown a rock

    when you put a gun by your person and load it….isn’t that premeditation? Aren’t you thinkin at that point that your gonna shoot some Mo Fo? Not many deer on tunnel road, maybe a bear might wander by and need murdering.

  10. MDP

    THIS IS TRULY UNBELIEVABLE AND ABSURD.WHAT DOES THIS SAY ABOUT THE LEVEL OF TOLERANCE?I AM SORRY BUT IF THIS HAD BEEN A PERSON OF COLOR THEY WOULD THROW THE BOOK AT THEM.HIS WIFE AND CHILD WERE RIGHT THERE AND I DON’T CARE IF HE WAS CYCLING IN A BUSY PLACE OR NOT IT IS NOT THE JOB OF AN OFF DUTY FIRE FIGHTER TO DICTATE HIS IMAGINARY AUTHORITY.FIRING A LOADED GUN IN THE DIRECTION OF SOMEONE AND THEIR CHILD IS ATTEMPTED MURDER! THIS DUDE IS GUILTY…

  11. jett12

    SkinnyPhatGuy explained it well. Anyone who thinks this guy got off easy because of his job and that he was protected by some “good ole boy network” are sadly misinformed. People need to research how the justice system works. this guy had no prior record of anything- they had no choice but to lessen the charge.

  12. spokejunky

    Well if they’re going to cut him a break it’d only be fair to cut everyone else a break by not allowing him to carry a firearm for the rest of his life. Maybe put his money where his mouth is as well and be the southeast organizer for bicycle rodeos.

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