BILLINGS, Mont. — A West Virginia man who claimed to be a 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.
Ray Dolin of Julian, W. Va., 39, made the acknowledgement Thursday night, said Valley County Sheriff Glen Meier.
The case remains under investigation and charges are possible, though none have been filed.
Dolin claimed he was hitchhiking along U.S. Highway 2 west of Glasgow on Saturday when the driver of a maroon pickup pulled over and shot him in the arm.
Authorities later arrested Lloyd Christopher Danielson III, 52, and charged him felony assault. That charge was dropped Thursday.
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 he said in a Thursday interview prior to his alleged confession that he had recently taken a bus from West Virginia to Sidney and then began traveling across the state working on his memoir about people’s kindness.
He spoke from a hospital in Miles City, where he said he was undergoing therapy for his wounded arm. Asked about the release of Danielson, Dolin said he was reluctant to comment because of the ongoing investigation.
Dolin told authorities he was shot after he stopped for a meal. He later told The Associated Press 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. ... I did not get a good description,” Dolin said.
Authorities arrested Danielson — a Tumwater, Wash., man apparently in the region to work in the Bakken oil fields — about 100 miles from the scene of the shooting based on a match between his vehicle and the description offered by Dolin. He was freed after his vehicle was examined under a search warrant, Meier said, although no further details have been offered.