Hitchhiker writing 'Kindness' book shot in Montana
BILLINGS, Mont. – A man hitchhiking across the country and writing a memoir called "The Kindness of America" was injured in a random drive-by shooting along a rural highway near northeastern Montana's booming Bakken oil patch, authorities said Monday.
Ray Dolin, 39, of West Virginia, was shot in the arm as he approached a pickup Saturday evening thinking the driver was offering him a ride, said Valley County Sheriff Glen Meier.
The shooting took place just west of the town of Glasgow along U.S. Highway 2.
A 52-year-old Washington man, Lloyd Christopher Danielson III, was arrested about four hours later near Culbertson. Authorities say he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol and apparently headed to Williston, N.D., for work tied to the oil boom.
The shooting follows another random attack earlier this year in which a 43-year-old teacher from nearby Sidney, Mont., was allegedly kidnapped and killed by two Colorado men on their way to the Bakken.
As the men await trial on charges stemming from Sherry Arnold's death, the case has stoked fears that a once-quiet corner of Montana has been irreversibly altered by the oil boom.
But Meier said Danielson's quick arrest by deputies in Roosevelt County 100 miles away from the shooting shows law enforcement is keeping up with any changes.
"We're still the wonderful people in Montana we've always been, and we'll get through this," Meier said. "Things are going to happen whether there's the Bakken or not."
Dolin was expected to recover and was being treated at Frances Mahon Deaconess Hospital in Glasgow. A nurse said Monday he was not taking calls or accepting messages.
Danielson was jailed in Roosevelt County on suspicion of felony assault with a weapon and driving under the influence. He was due to make an initial court appearance Monday.
It was unclear if he had an attorney representing him prior to his appearance.
Meier did not know if any words were exchanged between the alleged shooter and victim before Dolin was shot. He said they did not know one another.
"He was sitting down to have a little lunch and this guy drives up. He thought he was going to give him a ride and as he approached the vehicle, the guy pulls out his weapon and shoots him. It's as simple as that," Meier said.
Danielson's criminal history in Washington state includes intimidation and assault, Meier said.
Details were not immediately available.