Photos Courtesy -- Oregon State Police
By Brad Smith
A suspect in the Interstate 5 shootings has been arrested.
Oregon State Police (OSP) troopers have been investigating the shootings that started last spring and spanned thee counties along the I-5 corridor -- evidence gathered after the last incident factored into the arrest.
During a press teleconference, OSP Capt. Tim Fox said Kenneth Ayers, 49, was arrested in Roseburg 11 p.m. Aug. 20. Ayers, a driver for UPS, was then transported to the Jackson County Jail and booked on several charges: Attempted murder, second-degree assault, seven counts of unlawful use of a weapon, seven counts of second-degree criminal mischief and 13 counts of recklessly endangering another person.
Ayers' bond is set at more that $350,000.
The shooting incidents that Ayers is allegedly connected to are:
- May 12, Josephine County
- June 2, Jackson County
- June 15, Douglas County
- June 22, Josephine County
- July 7, Douglas County
- July 9, Josephine County
- August 19, Jackson County.
Fox said OSP troopers have been diligently investigating these shootings since May 12 and recently believed that a UPS truck could be involved. Immediately following the Aug. 19 shooting, troopers were able to locate a UPS tractor trailer combination approximately 1 hour and 60 miles north of the shooting incident. Through the subsequent investigation the truck was seized -- UPS arranged for another truck to pick up the trailers -- and a search warrant was applied for and served. The search of the truck revealed a firearm consistent with the type used in the shootings
The arrest comes after the Aug. 19 incident. On Wednesday, at approximately 9:45 p.m., OSP troopers and emergency personnel responded to Interstate 5 northbound near milepost 37 in Jackson County for a report of a motorist that had been shot. Preliminary investigation revealed that a female motorist was northbound when she was struck with a bullet. She was transported to the hospital, treated for her injuries and released. OSP forensic scientists were on scene and gathered evidence.
The type of weapon Ayers allegedly used has not been released. The victim's identity is still being withheld by the OSP. Fox did say that Ayers was reportedly driving during the shootings.
"As for a motive, we don't know yet," Fox said.
Previous to May, Ayers' UPS route was north of Roseburg and beginning in May his route took him south of Roseburg. Ayers' route also took him on Hwy 140 and Hwy 62.
"Again, our investigation is still ongoing," Fox said during the teleconference. "(Ayers) is our sole suspect at the moment. If anyone has any further information, please contact us."
UPS has cooperated fully during the investigation.
"They sent a truck to pick up the trailer after the semi was seized," Fox said. "Their level of cooperation has been outstanding."
Fox stated that troopers from Central Point, Grants Pass and Roseburg worked the case. Jackson, Josephine and Douglas counties' DA's offices are working together.
"I know Jackson County has filed charges," he said. "I'm not sure if the others will."
Ayers does have a number of priors. According to court records, he had a number of traffic violations -- the latest in 2010. In 1988, a then 17-year-old Ayers was charged with second-degree burglary and unauthorized use of a vehicle and reckless driving. He had broken into a repair shop and stole a car. The case was later dismissed and a petition was filed in juvenile court.