Hitchhiker shot himself, Montana authorities say
Washington man accused of felony assault
BILLINGS – A West Virginia man who claimed to be the victim of a drive-by shooting along a rural Montana highway while working on a memoir called “Kindness in America” has confessed to shooting himself, authorities said Friday.
Valley County sheriff’s officials said they believe 39-year-old Ray Dolin shot himself as a desperate act of self-promotion, but they offered no further details.
Dolin, of Julian, W.Va., acknowledged he concocted the tale about the random shooting after he was confronted by investigators at a Veterans Affairs hospital in Miles City where he is recovering, said Sheriff Glen Meier.
Charges were pending, and the case remains under investigation. Dolin has not been arrested, but the weapon he allegedly used to carry out the scheme has been recovered, the sheriff said.
Dolin had claimed he was hitchhiking along U.S. Highway 2 west of Glasgow on Saturday when the driver of a maroon pickup pulled to a stop and shot him in the upper arm with no provocation.
Authorities later arrested Lloyd Christopher Danielson III, 52, and charged him with felony assault. That charge was dropped Thursday, although Danielson remained in custody, accused of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol when he was arrested.
Meier indicated that Danielson denied any role in the shooting after he was put into custody.
“I had the worst feeling he was telling me the absolute truth,” Meier said. “I kept telling him that we are seekers of the truth and we are going to work very hard to find out the truth of this incident. … It was a great moment when I sent someone up to the jail to tell him he had nothing to do with it.”
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