Lyon County offers information on weapon, hopes for tips

Lyon County investigators have released a photo of a "unique" shotgun used in the murder of an Oregon trucker in the hope it will lead to a suspect in the case.

Roger Kelly, 50, a truck driver from Bend, Ore., was found shot to death Jan. 9 beside his Kenworth tractor in the truck parking lot of the Best Western Hotel in Fernley.

Investigators said a "poorly modified" single-shot Empire arms 12-gauge shotgun was recovered at the scene. "The weapon is a single-shot gun that opens to eject a spent shell," the Lyon County Sheriff's Office reported. "Another shell must be inserted manually. The hammer must be cocked each time to fire the weapon.

"This weapon is unique in that it has a metal pistol grip welded to it," according to investigators. "The trigger guard is also welded. The barrel is shortened so the length of the weapon is about 46 inches."

Deputies said the wooden stock is missing and black plastic electrical tape is wrapped around the area where the barrel joins the receiver/firing mechanism. The weapon has been spray painted flat black.

"The workmanship, brazing and welding of the stock and trigger guard is amateur and of poor quality," according to the report. Because of its unusual characteristics, the gun may be recognized by someone who can give investigators a lead on the crime.

Anyone with information is asked to call Lyon County sheriff's investigators at 775-577-5026, 775-577-5023, or (775) 463-6600.

According to investigators, there were no signs of a struggle on the dirt and graveled parking lot. The victim's wallet was found lying next to him, empty of cash.

Robbery is the suspected motive, although the truck cab did not appear to have been ransacked. The victim's personal items seemed to be undisturbed, investigators said.

The tractor-trailer rig was parked next to a fence in an unlit portion of the parking lot west of a swimming pool area. The victim was apparently adjusting the fan and water pump belts on the truck engine.

"His truck was parked so that a passerby probably would not have seen him working on the truck. He was working on the passenger side between the fence and the truck, and unless someone deliberately took the time to look he would not have been seen," investigators reported.

The hood was in the open position and the passenger's door was open, as well as the tool storage compartment behind the passenger door.

A combination wrench was found on the water pump adjusting bolt. An adjustable wrench and screwdriver were found on the fender close to his hand. A flashlight was still glowing strongly when responding Lyon County deputies arrived at 9:17 p.m. The victim had a small Leatherman tool clutched in his right hand with the knife blade out.

Anyone with information is asked to call Lyon County sheriff's investigators at 775-577-5026, 775-577-5023, or (775) 463-6600.


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