UPDATE, 12:28 P.M. SUNDAY: A California man has been identified as the suspect in the killing of a Callahan’s lodge employee Saturday morning. Neal Brian Norman, 50, of Pacific Grove, is believed to have run out of gas near the lodge and gone inside to use the phone before returning to his vehicle to get a rifle and returning to the lodge where he fatally shot the cook, Ryan Paul Bagley, 40, of Ashland, according to a release from the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.
Norman took the keys to Bagley’s Subaru and drove it south on Interstate 5, investigators say, where he stopped in the middle of the road and fired at oncoming vehicles, including a 2015 Ram Crew Cab pickup driven by Thomas Bradley Moxon, 49, of Eagle Point, who initially stopped when he came up on the Subaru. Norman then appeared and shot at Moxon’s vehicle, hitting it at least three times, the release says, and Moxon drove forward and struck Norman with his vehicle, causing fatal injuries. A juvenile was also present in the pickup and witnessed the incident.
Norman’s family members were surprised by the incident, according to detectives who spoke with them, but added that Norman had undiagnosed mental health issues.
The lodge, which was closed Saturday after the shooting, has reopened today, according to a post on one of its social media feeds.
ORIGINAL STORY: At the fringe of the Oregon border, the sole suspect in a restaurant homicide died next to the old Subaru for which a worker was killed.
An early morning homicide and apparent robbery at Callahan's lodge sparked simultaneous crime scenes Saturday, after the man believed to have killed an employee reportedly opened fire on traffic driving on southbound Interstate 5 near the California border. The chaos ended when a motorist whose pickup was apparently struck by bullets ran over the shooter, according to Oregon State Police and Jackson County Sheriff's Office reports.
There's no sign that the restaurant employee at Callahan's lodge knew the shooter, according to a release from Sheriff's Sgt. Julie Denney. Names of the man shot to death at Callahan's and his killer were withheld Saturday while investigators sought to reach next-of-kin.
The investigation began with two 911 calls about 10 minutes apart before and after 7 a.m., according to Denney.
At 6:54 a.m., a man called dispatchers telling them he had run over a man who'd been firing a gun at his pickup while standing on I-5. Upon arrival, Oregon State Police troopers found a firearm next to the body, which was lying next to the car he had been driving, a 1980s model Subaru Legacy wagon that belonged to the dead Callahan's employee.
A Callahan's lodge employee called dispatchers about 7:05 a.m., according to Denney, starting the second investigation.
Police didn't release where on the body the victim was shot, but according to a scanner traffic recording accessed through the Broadcastify service, a Callahan's employee told dispatchers he found the victim in the kitchen collapsed face-down and bleeding from the head.
As of Saturday afternoon, the crime scene had cleared at the restaurant and lodge. Callahan's owners declined comment and refused media access inside, but posted two statements on social media, one asking that people not come to the lodge and noting that the restaurant was closed Saturday, the other with a statement about the tragic loss of their employee:
"We are saddened today by the senseless and tragic and random series of events that resulted in so much loss to our community. We lost a respected, hardworking and wonderful young man who was simply doing what he does every day — getting ready for another day. A family lost their son. Here ... everything is over. The police have gone. It will be a hard day on the Mt. and we appreciate your support and your understanding."
After the Callahan's homicide, the alleged shooter drove the Subaru about five miles on southbound Interstate 5 toward the California border, abruptly stopped the vehicle and parked it diagonally inside the freeway lane, got out of his car and opened fire at traffic, according to Oregon State Police and Jackson County Sheriff's Office reports.
A motorist driving a newer full-size Ram pickup, who apparently came under fire, ran over the shooter, killing him.
At the crime scene Saturday morning, the gray pickup that was parked several hundred yards past the Subaru had sustained apparent gunfire damage. The front driver-side tire was flat and from a distance it appeared engine fluids were dripping onto the ground. The stolen Subaru undergoing investigation was faced in the opposite direction of traffic.
As of midday Saturday, investigators entered and left the lodge's main entrance before towing away as evidence a white 1990s-model Honda Accord with California plates that had been parked outside the main entrance.
Southbound I-5 was closed at Exit 6 until 4:15 p.m., according to Oregon Department of Transportation and Oregon State Police reports, while investigators utilized the new FARO 3-D digital imaging device. The Jackson County Major Assault and Death Investigation Unit also used the device Saturday morning at the lodge.
— Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MTCrimeBeat.