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UPS Driver Charged in a Series of Shootings on an Oregon Highway

2020-08-22 20:41:27
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A UPS driver was arrested Thursday in connection with a series of shootings along a freeway in southwest Oregon that injured one person and left drivers nervous, officials said.

Oregon State Police identified the shooter as Kenneth Ayers, 49, of Roseburg, Oregon, a town about 70 miles south of Eugene. Police said he shot cars seven times from a UPS trailer as of May.

The shootings, which spread across three counties, came to an end on Thursday, a day after a woman was shot on Interstate 5. She was treated in a hospital and released, police said.

Officials said they immediately found the tractor trailer about 60 miles north of the shooting. They didn't say what led them to the tractor trailer.

"A search of the truck revealed a firearm corresponding to the type used," police said.

Police did not reveal a motive for the shootings or identify the type of firearm used in the attacks, which took place in Douglas, Jackson and Josephine counties.

Mr. Ayers, who was charged with attempted murder, sexual assault and multiple counts of unlawful use of a weapon, pleaded not guilty in a Jackson County courthouse on charges related to the August 19 shooting and was sentenced to $ 1 million bail.

Mr. Ayers, wearing glasses and a black face mask, asked for a lawyer when he appeared in court via a live video feed.

& # 39; All I could talk to was my wife, & # 39; said Mr. Ayers during the short performance.

A message left on a phone number for Mr. Ayers' family on Saturday was not answered.

In a statement, UPS said it was cooperating with authorities.

"We are very concerned about these allegations," he said. “Firearms are prohibited in UPS facilities and in our vehicles. All further information on this matter should come from the investigating authorities. "

UPS declined to say how long Mr. Ayers had worked for the company or whether he had been fired as a result of the charges.

The first shooting took place on May 12 in Josephine County and was followed by shootings on June 2, June 15, June 22, July 7, July 9 and August 19. Police accused Mr. Ayers of endangering 13 people. They said several vehicles had been hit.

Police said the shootings took place at different times of the day and there didn't seem to be a pattern for when they took place.

Prior to May, Mr. Ayers had a UPS route north of Roseburg in Douglas County. He was then assigned a route south of the city, around the time the shootings started, police said.

"That's incredibly scary," said Ashley Hicks, who runs a construction company in Roseburg with her husband, in an interview on Saturday.

"It's a terrifying thought," said Mrs. Hicks. "I am so grateful that the police were able to arrest him."

Bob Cotterell, the city council president and a retired Roseburg police officer, said the shootings largely took place about an hour south of Roseburg.

Still, he said, residents paid more attention to motorists while driving Interstate 5.

& # 39; They became more vigilant, & # 39; Mr. Cotterell said.

Roseburg, a city of about 24,000 inhabitants, has been hit by gun violence in the past.

President Barack Obama visited the city in 2015 after a gunman shot nine people during a writing class at Umpqua Community College.

Once known for its timber industry, Roseburg is located near the scenic waterfalls of the Umpqua National Forest and is known for its summer concerts near the South Umpqua River.

"It's just a beautiful little town," said Ms. Hicks.

She added, "I've lived here all my life and I've made the decision to stay here and raise my daughter. It's like paradise here."

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