A US author who claimed to be the victim of a drive-by shooting while working on a memoir called "Kindness in America" has confessed to shooting himself, police say.
West Virginia man Ray Dolin admitted last night to shooting himself in the arm earlier this week and making up the story about being shot by a stranger, ABC News reports.
The aspiring author was travelling across the US allegedly doing research for his book.
Police believe Dolin, who is recovering in hospital, shot himself in a desperate act of self-promotion but have offered no further details.
Dolin claimed he was hitchhiking along a rural Montana highway on Saturday when the driver of a ute randomly pulled over and shot him in the upper arm.
After a major manhunt, authorities arrested a 52-year-old man, Lloyd Christopher Danielson III, over the shooting and charged him with felony assault.
The charges were later dropped and the investigation turned towards Dolin who may now face charges himself.
Valley County Sheriff Glen Meier told ABC News the hoax stretched the police force's limited resources.
“I have no idea how much it cost us, but, it’s going to come to a lot of money,” he said.
The sheriff said there were many other serious crimes, such as sexual assault cases, that his officers could have been working on.
“My guys work their tails off and we really didn’t need something like this to happen,” he said.
Dolin is yet to give a public explanation for his actions.
The writer persisted in his version of the story right up until he gave his confession to police yesterday evening.
Recounting the supposed drive-by to the Associated Press from his hospital bedside earlier in the day he said: "He came up, pulls up at a normal speed, stops, points, shoots and drives off. … I did not get a good description."