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Oregon mayor charged with attempted murder in alleged road rage shooting

Nov. 3, 2022 Updated Thu., Nov. 3, 2022 at 9:46 p.m.

By Andrea Salcedo Washington Post

The mayor of a small Oregon town has been charged with attempted murder after he allegedly opened fire at a moving car with two children in it, police said.

The alleged road rage incident happened about 9 p.m. Monday when Dowen Jones, the mayor of Rufus, Oregon, abruptly pulled over along a highway, raising another driver’s concerns, the Hood River County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

When the driver, who had slowed down to get a description of Jones’s SUV, passed the pulled-over vehicle, a man stepped out of the passenger side and “fired multiple rounds from a handgun” at the other vehicle, police said.

Two adults and two children, ages 5 and 8, were inside the car, according to the news release. None of them suffered injuries.

The next day, police identified Jones as the driver of the SUV and the one who fired the shots. Jones, 47, was arrested and charged with one count of attempted murder and four counts of attempted assault.

He remains at the Northern Oregon Corrections facility on $100,000 bail as of Thursday, jail records show.

Rufus City Council President Scott Holliday expressed surprise about the incident.

“It’s terrible. He’s a good man. It’s crazy,” he told NBC News on Wednesday.

“Nobody understands what exactly happened, much less why. People think the world of him. He’s just a good guy. So it’s very, very grieving for something like this.”

Rufus has fewer than 300 residents, according to the most recent census. It is about 100 miles east of Portland, along the Columbia River .

Jones was elected mayor in 2018 with 76 votes. His term ends at the end of this year; it’s not immediately clear who succeeds him.

A spokesperson with the city of Rufus declined to comment. The sheriff’s office also declined to comment further because the investigation is ongoing.

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