Springfield father, stepson charged with shooting couple at east Salem Fred Meyer

A Springfield man and his stepson are accused of shooting a couple Monday morning in the parking lot of the east Salem Fred Meyer days after the four were involved in an apparent methamphetamine deal gone bad.

One of the victims shot back at the younger suspect, wounding him, according to a Salem Police Department affidavit. She has not been charged for her role in the shootout.

Prosecutors charged Jamie E. Thomason, 30, of Springfield, on Wednesday in Marion County Circuit Court with two counts of attempted first-degree murder, two counts of first-degree assault and possessing a firearm as a felon, court records showed.

Salem police spokeswoman Angela Hedrick said Wednesday that Thomason remained hospitalized. The Marion County Jail’s roster did not show him in custody as of Thursday afternoon.

His stepfather, Robert E. Josh Jr., 62, was charged a day earlier with two counts of attempted first-degree murder, two counts of first-degree assault, possessing a firearm as a felon, unlawful use of a weapon and fourth-degree assault.

The Salem police affidavit provided the following account of the shootout.

Around 7:35 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 29, officers responded to several reports of a shooting in the parking lot of Fred Meyer, 3750 Market St. N.E. One of the callers was Thomason, who told police he had just been shot by a person who was next to him and also injured.

Officers arrived to find Thomason and 30-year-old Julia T. Dorfler of Eugene with gunshot wounds.

Police also found Chance T. Towlerton, 28, of Springfield, with a gunshot wound inside Elmer’s Restaurant east of the store’s parking lot.

Josh was taken to the Salem police station for an interview. He told detectives that two to three days earlier, he and his stepson traveled from their home in Springfield to a Safeway near downtown Salem to buy two pounds of meth from the same man and woman who they encountered during the Fred Meyer shooting. 

Josh said they paid the couple $2,800, while Towlerton told police they received $1,000 in exchange for the drugs.

After Thomason paid them, Josh said the man got out of his vehicle and walked away. The woman then switched from the front passenger seat to the driver’s seat and tried driving away. 

Josh said he and Thomason got in their vehicle, pursued the woman and tried to block her vehicle from the front when she stopped at a stop light. Thomason got out and used “sockets in a sock” to shatter windows of her vehicle, according to the affidavit. The woman then hit his driver side door and sped away.

The morning of the shooting around 6:30 a.m., Josh said Thomason woke him up and said he knew the location of the man and woman who had taken their money. The father and stepson went to Fred Meyer in east Salem with the intention of getting their money back. 

After they identified the couple’s car, Josh said Thomason knocked on their window and got in their front passenger seat.  

Towlerton told police he woke up to the men pointing guns at them.

Thomason and the woman then got into a standoff with both pointing handguns at each other, the affidavit said. 

Josh opened the door to the couple’s vehicle, reached inside and wrestled with the woman over control of her handgun. 

Towlerton said that Thomason shot him and Dorfler, who told police she shot back.

Towlerton was shot in his leg. He was treated at Salem Hospital and released. Dorfler suffered four gunshot wounds to her abdomen and leg.

Thomason was shot once in his side.

Josh then approached Dorfler, telling her something similar to, “You shot my son, I ought to kill you,” Dorfler said. She said Josh also kicked her in her face, injuring her eye.

A witness told police he saw an older man “body slam” a woman onto the ground.

Towlerton said he ran into Fred Meyer to look for a friend but couldn’t find him. He then told Julia they needed to leave, but she was unable to run. Towlerton ran to Elmer’s, where police detained him.

Josh told police he shot into the air and shouted, “Stop them, my son is shot.”

After the shooting, another witness told police she was sitting in the parking lot, waiting to go to work at a nearby business when a woman opened her passenger door, told her she had been abused by her boyfriend and asked for help. The witness agreed to drive the woman to her work and call for help. 

She started to drive off when the first witness blocked her car and told her not to leave because the woman had just shot someone. The woman then got out and walked away.

Court records show Josh and Thomason are both charged with shooting Dorfler and Towlerton.

Josh is also accused of helping Thomason possess a gun. Thomason is barred from doing so due to a previous felony conviction for drug possession

Marion County Circuit Court Pro Tem Judge Michael Wu on Wednesday ordered that Thomason be held in jail without bail once he is released from the hospital.

Josh was being held without bail as of Thursday afternoon, the jail’s roster showed.


Springfield man charged with shooting 2 at east Salem Fred Meyer

UPDATE: No arrests after 3 shot in east Salem Fred Meyer parking lot

Contact reporter Ardeshir Tabrizian: [email protected] or 503-929-3053.

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Ardeshir Tabrizian has covered criminal justice and housing for Salem Reporter since September 2021. As an Oregon native, his award-winning watchdog journalism has traversed the state. He has done reporting for The Oregonian, Eugene Weekly and Malheur Enterprise.