The death of a Lancaster man after he fell from his bicycle Tuesday night, first thought an accident, is now being treated as a homicide.
When they first arrived at the scene shortly after 11 p.m., Lancaster Police say they found 51-year-old Steven Reid unconscious and bleeding from a wound to his head. Because there was no major damage to his bicycle, it didn’t look as if Reid had been hit by a car, leading officers to at first believe it had been an accidental crash. But after talking with several witnesses, detectives became suspicious.
“Information was obtained that indicated Mr. Reid was involved in a dispute with other individuals near his residence on West Wheeling Street, shortly before he was found,” police said in a release. “[Witnesses say] that at some point Mr. Reid got on his bicycle to leave the area and was chased by Travis Michael Burnett, age 22, of Lancaster. Information developed during the investigation indicated that Burnett ran after Reid and struck Reid in the face, knocking Reid and the bicycle over. When the bicycle fell, it appears Mr. Reid’s head struck the curb. Burnett then ran away from the scene and returned to his residence.”
"It's a renewed faith in the Lancaster Police Department that they've worked so fast and made an arrest," Reid’s brother-in-law, Douglas Hiles, told 10TV Thursday after several victim family members had been briefed by detectives.
Travis Michael Burnett
Reid lived at 407 West Wheeling Street, just two doors down and in the same apartment building from Burnett. Reid’s family says he had just moved there a few weeks before the attack. Hiles says he doesn’t know the nature of the argument that apparently led to his brother-in-law’s death. "He's a private person, so he probably hadn't talked to the guy many times, or at all."
The victim’s sister tells 10TV her brother was retired from the United States Air Force, a man possessed of good morals, and although he didn’t have much to give, he gave of himself generously.
"He served our country, and it's so senseless that had to suffer, pretty much die, on the streets that he was so familiar with," said Teyvia Reid. "And when [Travis Burnett is] sent to prison, his family might feel a portion of the pain that we feel, without our brother."
Whether Burnett goes to prison will be for a judge to eventually decide. He is charged with first-degree involuntary manslaughter, felonious assault, and reckless homicide. His arraignment is scheduled for Friday at Fairfield County Municipal Court.
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