Authorities say hitchhiker shot himself

2012-06-15T10:34:00Z 2014-08-25T07:07:19Z Authorities say hitchhiker shot himselfThe Associated Press The Associated Press
June 15, 2012 10:34 am  • 

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 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.”

Dolin runs a photography business called OneShot Impressions, which has as its logo the cross-hairs of a rifle scope.

He could not be reached for comment Friday. But Dolin said in an interview Thursday with The Associated Press — before his alleged confession — that he recently had taken a bus from West Virginia to Sidney, and then began traveling across the state working on his memoir about people’s kindness.

Asked about Danielson being cleared, Dolin said in the interview that he was reluctant to comment because of the ongoing investigation and quickly changed the subject.

He talked at length about his planned photographic memoir, offering several supposed instances in which strangers had gone out of their way to help him along his journey. And just hours before his alleged confession, he repeated the claim that he was shot as he was stopped on the side of the road preparing a meal.

Dolin said no words were exchanged with the supposed gunman and that he never got a good look at the perpetrator.

“He came up, pulls up at a normal speed, stops, points, shoots and drives off. It’s as simple as that,” Dolin said. “I did not get a good description.”

The woman who stopped to help Dolin said Friday that she had no suspicions at the time that he could have been responsible for his own wound. Sherry Alveson, of Malta, said she stopped after her daughter saw Dolin waving his jacket on the side of the road trying to flag down passing vehicles.

“He had blood down his arms, all over his clothes, and he was bleeding and shivering and shaky,” Alveson said of her initial encounter with Dolin. “I wasn’t going to leave him sitting there.”

Alveson said that even as she waited with the wounded Dolin for emergency personnel to arrive, he began talking about his memoir. She said he brought it up again when she visited him in a Glasgow hospital the next day.

She only became suspicious after reading in Friday’s paper that Danielson had been released. Alveson said that made her wonder if the shooter was still at large or if Dolin shot himself.

Still, she said it wouldn’t have changed her decision to stop along the highway last weekend.

“Whether it was self-inflicted or somebody else did it, he needed help,” Alveson said.

Authorities arrested Danielson — a Tumwater, Wash., man apparently in the region to work in the Bakken oil fields — based on a match between his vehicle and a description offered by Dolin. The arrest occurred near Culbertson, about 100 miles from where a passerby found Dolin wounded on the side of the road.

He was exonerated after his vehicle was examined under a search warrant, Meier said, declining to give further details. Federal agents from the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives assisted in the case.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(41) Comments

  1. Westernme
    Report Abuse
    Westernme - June 19, 2012 10:09 am
    Always was puzzled on the initial investigtion of this act. People whot my passing motorists rare smell of gunpowder. A shot at close range should have been noticed as the angle of the bullet. A little search of the so called victim should have been done to find a recently fired pistol...where's officer safety? Oh well///all good things that end well or lessons for the next time. Stay safe out there troops. Not everyone tell the truth.
  2. Tradition
    Report Abuse
    Tradition - June 18, 2012 10:11 am
    So is there even a book?
  3. linderlu
    Report Abuse
    linderlu - June 18, 2012 8:47 am
    timsky, thanks for the great example of what's wrong with many people. Everything boils down to taking something completely unrelated to politics in every way--and making it about the party they hate. Nice work.
  4. TheOriginalOutlaw
    Report Abuse
    TheOriginalOutlaw - June 17, 2012 8:24 pm
    Have you considered the Republican president who started a war that killed thousands of Americans and cost hundreds of billions of dollars to start the decline of the American economy? And those hundreds of billions of dollars went directly into his friends pockets? Who is the traitor here?

    Both parties need a cleansing.
  5. dammt
    Report Abuse
    dammt - June 17, 2012 2:44 pm
    The name of his website is OneShot Impressions and that's no camera viewfinder.
  6. dunce
    Report Abuse
    dunce - June 17, 2012 8:56 am
    When the going gets tough, the tough get going. This guy needed a job and set out to drive 1,000 miles to find one, instead he is arrested and is accused of a horrible crime. I hope some one gives the good man a job after all this grief for doing the right thing. Do not let this stay an obama world.
  7. MikeDrake123
    Report Abuse
    MikeDrake123 - June 17, 2012 8:40 am
    Check out his website - you'll see it is a rifle with cross-hairs. Investigating goes a long way.
  8. MikeDrake123
    Report Abuse
    MikeDrake123 - June 17, 2012 8:30 am
    Actually, if you go to his website, it is a rifle scope with cross-hairs. May want to check that out before you make an attempt at criticizing this publication. I'm sure Matt Drudge is proud of you for doing so, however.
  9. timsky969
    Report Abuse
    timsky969 - June 17, 2012 8:30 am
    Just another demwad trying to deceive this country
    Stop voting for Democrats
    They are traitors to this nation
  10. upshot13
    Report Abuse
    upshot13 - June 17, 2012 5:49 am
    the real question of the whole story is "Federal agents from the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives assisted in the case."

    why are 2 different agencies working on a obvious state crime? surely not over stepping their boundries.

  11. Smart Target
    Report Abuse
    Smart Target - June 16, 2012 11:41 pm
    "cross-hairs of a rifle scope"

    Cross hairs are used on a wide variety of instruments, they are not "rifle scope" specific. Nice attempt at sensationalism, Gazette.

    I have been doing a lot of research on cameras lately, and am left wondering if this "scope" that is supposed to be on the "shooter's" web site isn't actually a viewfinder?

    They look a lot alike and are a retro feature on the rangefinder type of classic style camera.

    Man, they didn't get the simplest detail correct...
  12. Jack Frost
    Report Abuse
    Jack Frost - June 16, 2012 9:02 pm
    The exonerated suspect was from Tumwater, Washington? Ahhh, Tumwater. Do they still make that great Olympia beer from Tumwater?
  13. Matt in Texas
    Report Abuse
    Matt in Texas - June 16, 2012 7:27 pm
    Let me get this straight. A guy writing a book on kindness sets up another guy and falsely portrays him as unkind, right? And the author shoots himself to drum up sales for people he wants to encourage to be kind with this book right? Seems to me he was unkind to the man he set up, unkind to his potential future readers, and really pretty unkind to himself, yathink? Three unkind strikes and YOU'RE OUT, ole boy! You are ONE OF A KIND~
  14. 2 More Cents
    Report Abuse
    2 More Cents - June 16, 2012 6:46 pm
    What do you think, peeps? Is Beach guilty or not??
  15. the Oracle
    Report Abuse
    the Oracle - June 16, 2012 6:46 pm
    How sad. Another loss, reminiscent of the late writer Richard Brautigan.
  16. Iambic PentaMaster
    Report Abuse
    Iambic PentaMaster - June 16, 2012 5:45 pm
    An author named Ray Dolin,
    Was shooting at his colon,
    He thought himself sly,
    But his aim was high,
    His ego? It's still swollen.
  17. WifeOFOilGuy
    Report Abuse
    WifeOFOilGuy - June 16, 2012 4:09 pm
    Evil Oil strikes again! Always blame the lonely oil guys for random shootings. Ray Dolin could have been Obama's son.
  18. Markle
    Report Abuse
    Markle - June 16, 2012 2:52 pm
    I've run across two army guys who impersonated a Captain and the other claimed to be Green Beret. The Captain was actually a buck private right out of boot camp. He was trying to impress my sister. She was impressed until the truth came out and then goodbye dope. The Green Beret guy was actually a Spec 4 truck driver in the army. He came to town in an old sailboat and tied to impress our church with his heroics and thus get assistance. I became supsicious when he invited be onto his boat which was a piece of crap inside and out. He also tried to tell me that the smallest mortar the Green Beret used was a 3.9mm mortar. I have a 9mm pistol so I called him on it and he confessed. I was Field Artillery and did an ok job. Some people (you know who) like to impress people with bs stories and that's the way it is.
  19. Rex Dart Eskimo Spy
    Report Abuse
    Rex Dart Eskimo Spy - June 16, 2012 2:43 pm
    I tried to write a book on kindness when I was in college. While researching, a group of rotary club members along with the local welcome wagon pelted me with rocks and garbage.
  20. Charles Austin Miller
    Report Abuse
    Charles Austin Miller - June 16, 2012 2:30 pm
    So, Ray Dolin, the would-be Liberal author, is nothing but a LIAR who must fabricate LIES that injure OTHER people in order to draw the spotlight upon himself.

    Hey, sounds like a perfect Democrat candidate for President. Put him on the ballot.
  21. vietvet2tours
    Report Abuse
    vietvet2tours - June 16, 2012 10:01 am
    deerslayer -
    I bet joe cool is a real piece of work, really another worthless vet, how about a thank you, many people lost their lives so you can say stupid things like that, so even if you do have something stupid to say at least thank the people that allow you to say things like that when your done. GOD BLESS AMERICA.

    Thanks my friend.

  22. Regular Guy
    Report Abuse
    Regular Guy - June 16, 2012 8:14 am
    Dolin sure wasn't very kind to himself.
  23. Howard Wilkinson
    Report Abuse
    Howard Wilkinson - June 16, 2012 7:20 am
    The real issue here is that the police destroyed as man's reputation, giving out his photo, hometown and name in connection with a shooting with ZERO EVIDENCE. Did they find a recently fired weapon? powder residue on his hands? Have a clear description? victim's identification out of a lineup? It appears that he was stopped for driving a maroon pickup with out of state license plates, and presumed guilty on this basis with enough certainty that his name was released to the news media as the probable perpetrator! All based on the words of some wacko who shot himself for attention. The first crime was pretending to have been shot in a drive by.... beyond that point everything points to police incompetence! There is something terribly wrong with this picture!!
  24. vack
    Report Abuse
    vack - June 16, 2012 7:18 am
    The police had no valid reason (probable cause) to stop the falsely accused. Does that mean he can't be charged with DUI or whatever??
  25. rainbowed
    Report Abuse
    rainbowed - June 16, 2012 5:56 am
    I'm not sure he can do much blessing when he's so weak and puny that he has been kicked out of our schools.
  26. ne-mt
    Report Abuse
    ne-mt - June 16, 2012 4:57 am
    Kind of scary being accused of a crime and not even knowing anything about it. I thought it was kind of strange that someone would drive from Washington and then shoot someone by the road in eastern Montana. If you were going to do something that stupid why drive that far but then again this is Montana the home of the uni-bomber and the freemen.
  27. jumpmaster18
    Report Abuse
    jumpmaster18 - June 16, 2012 3:15 am
    That Bakken scum is behind it! The aliens landed and abducted some of the Bakken scum people accused, and its all one big conspiracy! How does crow taste? Foul Holmes....foul!
  28. SlackJaw
    Report Abuse
    SlackJaw - June 16, 2012 2:16 am
    "cross-hairs of a rifle scope"

    Cross hairs are used on a wide variety of instruments, they are not "rifle scope" specific. Nice attempt at sensationalism, Gazette.
  29. deerslayer
    Report Abuse
    deerslayer - June 16, 2012 1:21 am
    I bet joe cool is a real piece of work, really another worthless vet, how about a thank you, many people lost their lives so you can say stupid things like that, so even if you do have something stupid to say at least thank the people that allow you to say things like that when your done. GOD BLESS AMERICA.
  30. joe cool
    Report Abuse
    joe cool - June 15, 2012 11:00 pm
    what a dump another worthless veteran
  31. Montana Teapublican
    Report Abuse
    Montana Teapublican - June 15, 2012 9:03 pm
    I'm sure those people still believe it is related to the Bakken.
  32. WileE2
    Report Abuse
    WileE2 - June 15, 2012 2:29 pm
    But..... but... I thought this shooting was a direct result of the Bakken "oil field trash".... what happened there?
  33. D Lo
    Report Abuse
    D Lo - June 15, 2012 2:14 pm
    he should work for Bakken....
  34. Hope4Ever
    Report Abuse
    Hope4Ever - June 15, 2012 2:08 pm
    The follow up story is on MSM.
  35. CDinWY
    Report Abuse
    CDinWY - June 15, 2012 12:32 pm
    This story originally made national news. So what will be remembered is some guy writing about kindness in America was shot in Montana. Will the national MSM follow up and tell the rest of the story? We shall see.

    In any case, a few commenters in these threads jumped to conclusions and made fools of themselves - again. Heh, heh.

  36. Cowboy Fred
    Report Abuse
    Cowboy Fred - June 15, 2012 12:15 pm
    Exactly, lmao.
  37. curious872
    Report Abuse
    curious872 - June 15, 2012 11:55 am
    Think about the Senario. The guy is writing a book about kindness in America. He shoots himself to see if anybody will stop and help. He then thinks to himself, How dumb will people think I am for shooting myself? I better make up a quick story. Oops wrong color pickup. How do i cover this up?
  38. from Saul to Paul
    Report Abuse
    from Saul to Paul - June 15, 2012 11:30 am
    my opinion is this guy should be charged with giving a false report then be run out of the state.
  39. curious872
    Report Abuse
    curious872 - June 15, 2012 11:24 am
    This story gets stranger by the minute.
  40. Hope4Ever
    Report Abuse
    Hope4Ever - June 15, 2012 11:02 am
    Sick! A person who would shoot themselves then accuse a random person of doing it...that is just plain sick. I certainly hope charges are brought against him for the panic he caused the public not to mention the cost of an investigation and medical care.
  41. neocon4hire
    Report Abuse
    neocon4hire - June 15, 2012 10:59 am
    ohhhhhhhh......bakken oil workers: 1, montana public: 0

Comment policy

We provide this forum for readers to exchange ideas and opinions on the day's news. Passionate views, pointed criticism and critical thinking are welcome. Name-calling, crude language and abuse are not. You must be logged into a personal account on Facebook to comment (FAQ). Readers are responsible for their comments and abuse of this privilege will not be tolerated. We reserve the right, without warning or notification, to remove comments and block users we determine violate our Terms of Service. Comments reflect the opinions of the author - not those of The Billings Gazette or its parent company.

Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick

More from the Gazette

State Senate — again — rejects bill allowing sales of raw milk

State Senate — again — rejects bill allowing sales of raw milk

12 hours ago(0)

House revives bill allowing Lockwood to form new high school district

12 hours ago(2)

Patrol identifies victim of ATV crash

22 hours ago(0)

Follow The Billings Gazette

Popular Stories

Get weekly ads via e-mail

Deals & Offers

Featured Businesses