Toolmaker Paul Morningstar Found Dead in Booby-Trapped California Home

Gear News

This photo of toolmaker Paul Morningstar is from his website. Morningstar was found dead in his Bodfish, Calif. home on Saturday.

‏‏The Bakersfield Californian newspaper is reporting that bicycle toolmaker Paul Morningstar was found dead Saturday in his Bodfish, Calif. home that had been booby trapped with several bombs. Acting on a concerned neighbor’s tip about Morningstar’s wellbeing–and that his property might be booby trapped–police approached the situation with caution sending bomb squad robots into the home after getting no response on attempts to make contact. Officials have found at least four explosive devices on the property and continue to search for more.

‏Morningstar, whose tools like the Freehub Buddy–a tool for injecting grease in freehub bodies–and the Rim ‘Rench–a tool for straightening bent rim beads, enjoy a cult-like following of professional and home mechanics alike, and are still widely available in bike shops and online. A well-known tool and die maker in the area, Morningstar is presumed to have built the explosive devices.

‏The Kern County Sheriff’s Police have not yet released a cause of death in the incident, and Morningstar’s exact age is unknown. According to the website, he was originally from Chicago and studied electrical systems and tool and die making in college.

‏A message of sympathy from Morningstar’s webmaster Martin Simard, a contractor from Quebec City, Canada now appears on the company’s homepage.

‏Bodfish is a town of 1,956 people located 32 miles east-northeast of Bakersfield. It sits in the Lake Isabella basin not far from the mountain bike destination of Kernville at the southern end of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range.

About the author: Don Palermini

Chicago-born editorial director Don Palermini became a cycling-based life-form in the sixth grade after completing a family road bike tour of his home state. Three years later he bought his first mountain bike to help mitigate the city's pothole-strewn streets, and began exploring the region's unpaved roads and trails. Those rides sparked a much larger journey which includes all manner of bike racing, commuting, on- and off-road bike advocacy, and a 20-plus-year marketing career in the cycling industry. Now residing in the San Francisco Bay Area and pedaling for Mtbr, his four favorite words in the English language are "breakfast served all day," together in that order.

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