UPS truck driver suspected in I-5 shootings in southern Oregon held on $1 million bail

The Roseburg man suspected of shooting cars along Interstate 5 in Oregon from his UPS tractor-trailer rig remained in jail Tuesday on £1 million bail.

Kenneth Ayers, 49, has pleaded not guilty to charges filed in Jackson County after his arrest last week 60 miles from where a woman was shot in her car heading north between Gold Hill and Central Point. The charges include counts of attempted murder, assault and unlawful use of a weapon.

A grand jury is expected to return an indictment this week, said Virginia Greer, deputy district attorney for Jackson County.

State police said investigators believe Ayers shot at least seven vehicles on I-5 while driving his UPS truck — in Josephine County on May 12, June 22 and July 9; Jackson County on June 2 and last Wednesday; and Douglas County on June 15 and July 7. Authorities haven’t released the specific locations.

State Police Capt.

Tim Fox last week said investigators also were looking into another shooting in Jackson County that wasn’t along the interstate but declined to provide more information.

The charges Ayers faces so far are in connection with one of the interstate shootings in Jackson County — the one last Wednesday — and a separate shooting July 9 in Jackson County that injured a man. The same .45-caliber gun was used in both shootings, police said.

No charges have been filed in Douglas or Josephine counties as of Tuesday morning.

State police and prosecutors have declined to comment on a possible motive.

Ayers booking photo

Kenneth Ayers, 49, was booked into Jackson County Jail on Thursday on suspicion of attempted murder, unlawful use of a weapon and other charges.

Police obtained a search warrant for Ayers’ truck and found a .45-caliber gun consistent with the gun used in the shootings, Fox said. They had been investigating a possible link between the shootings and a UPS truck when they found Ayers, according to state police.

The shootings began shortly after Ayers’ route changed and sent him from Roseburg south on I-5 and also along Oregon 140 and Oregon 62, police said.

Before that, Ayers traveled north from Roseburg toward Portland.

UPS declined to comment Tuesday on the investigation, Ayers’ route change or if he is still employed by the company.

Ayers was appointed a public defender.

A message left at a number listed for the attorney Tuesday wasn’t immediately returned.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

— K.

Rambo

krambo@oregonian.com

@k_rambo_

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