A family of four was traveling south on Highway 281 near Parkdale at 8:43 p.m. Monday, “following behind an SUV that was driving erratically,” according to a statement from the Hood River County Sheriff’s Office.
When the SUV pulled over, the family “slowed to get a description of the suspect vehicle,” before a “male subject stepped out of the passenger side and fired multiple rounds from a handgun at the passing” car, according to the sheriff.
The alleged shooter was later identified as Dowen Jones, the 47-year-old mayor Rufus, a city with fewer that 270 residents about 100 miles east of downtown Portland, the sheriff said.
No one in the family car, two adults and two children, 5 and 8 years old, was wounded.
Jones was booked on suspicion of attempted murder and four counts of attempted assault.
He’s being held in lieu of $100,000 bail and made a brief court appearance Wednesday.
Jones did not immediately qualify for a public defender and will have to hire an attorney before his next court appearance, set for Nov. 10, officials said.
Rufus City Administrator Brenda Coleman declined comment Wednesday afternoon, and no one picked up a publicly listed phone number for Jones.
Jones, an electrician in his 9-to-5 life, won election in 2018, collecting 76 votes, far ahead of candidates who received four write-in votes.
Council President Scott Holliday said his fellow lawmakers have yet to meet to discuss what action could or should be taken against Jones.
The allegations are totally out of character for the well-liked mayor, according to Holliday.
“It’s terrible. He’s a good man. It’s crazy,” Holliday said Wednesday afternoon.
“Nobody understands what exactly happened, much less why. People think the world of him. He’s just a good guy. So it’s very, very grieving for something like this (to happen). Nobody wants to see somebody that they like, that they know and that they like a lot, in trouble.”
Donna Mendell contributed.