Sheriff: Man writing book on kindness shot in Mont.

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A West Virginia man who told authorities he was hitchhiking across the country and writing a memoir about kindness was injured in a random drive-by shooting near Montana’s booming Bakken oil patch.

Ray Dolin, 39, 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.

A 52-year-old Washington man, Lloyd Christopher Danielson III, was arrested about four hours later near Culbertson. Authorities say the suspect was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. They released no motive in the shooting.

“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 was headed to Williston, N.D., for work tied to the oil boom, although Meier said he offered few details.

The shooting follows another random attack earlier this year in which a popular 43-year-old teacher from the oil patch town of Sidney, Mont., was allegedly kidnapped and killed by two Colorado men on their way to the Bakken.

As the two Colorado men wait trial in that case for the alleged murder of teacher Sherry Arnold’s death, the case has stoked worries that a once-quiet corner of Montana has been irreversibly altered by the oil boom.

Crime rates across western North Dakota and eastern Montana have spiked as thousands of workers flock to a region that has become one of the top-oil producing areas of the country.

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 the changes.

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.

Dolin was being treated at Frances Mahon Deaconess Hospital in Glasgow. A nurse said Monday he was not taking calls or accepting messages.

Dolin told sheriff’s officials that he was writing a memoir titled “Kindness in America.” His father, Melvin Dolin, declined to speak about his son’s plans, saying he had been working on his photography.

“I’d rather you eventually get that story from him. He had some ideas about that,” he said.

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