Cousin speaks out after Danville doctor shot and killed while off-roading in Sierra County

DANVILLE, Calif. (KGO) -- The cousin of a Danville doctor who was shot and killed while off-roading in Sierra County is speaking out to thank the community for its support and to set the record straight about what could have possibly happened.

Marlo Meyers-Barer says the family has seen chatter on social media that is full of false information.

RELATED: Danville doctor shot, killed while off-roading with son in Northern California

She wants people to know that it appears that 45-year-old Ari Gershman and his 15-year-old son Jack were in the wrong place at the wrong time and that Ari was the victim of a random shooting rampage.

"There was no confrontation with my cousin. There was no trespassing, there was no 'anything'. It was completely random and senseless. They were in the Tahoe National Forest in Poker Flats. That's the first place he wanted to go with that Jeep," Meyers-Barer said.

She said Ari bought the Jeep Thursday. He planned to use it to share his love of the outdoors with his three kids. He took it out on Friday. She says he was shot when he stopped at a fork in the road.

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"He was able to pull over and put that thing in park so Jack could run. Jack ran uphill for three miles in the forest," she said.

Jack's phone was about to die but he was able to call 911 and then call his mom, Paige.

"Jack's phone went dead after he made these gut wrenching videos for Paige about what he saw and how he's so sorry," she said.

It took rescuers 30 hours to find Jack, who was scared and hiding, knowing there was a shooter on the loose. Authorities later said they believe the man shot two other people in the forest. Those victims survived.

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Meyers-Barer said it was technology from AT&T that eventually led rescuers to Jack. She says the company can still trace a phone's location after the battery dies, as long as the phone hasn't been turned off.

"He looked like he had just come off of "Survivor," covered in scratches head to toe, bug bites. We were just so happy to see him. And now we just have to figure out how we get through this as a family," she said.

The family is rallying around Paige, who was diagnosed with cancer about 6 weeks ago. Meyers-Barer says Paige just went through her third round of chemo on Monday.

"She is in the thick of the chemo, fighting for her life, and then here we are," she said

Neighbors have put together a GoFundMe page for the family. Meyers-Barer says this would not make Ari happy, but she says it is necessary.

"He is very anti GoFundMe. He is very private. He's a giver, he's not a taker. He would hate it. He's not happy with us right now. But at the same time they have no source of income right now and they have 3 beautiful kids and Paige is going through cancer. We need help. And it's weird because we are not used to asking for it. And we are not asking for it-people are offering it. It's been really amazing," Meyers-Barer said.

Authorities say they have made an arrest in the shootings. They have not released any information about the suspect or a possible motive.
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