Hood River hotel owner killed in 'random crime'

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by By Kgw.com Staff

NWCN.com

Posted on September 11, 2009 at 9:25 AM

Updated Tuesday, Sep 29 at 11:35 AM

Murder in Hood River

HOOD RIVER, Ore. -- Neighbors along Westcliff Drive between the Columbia River and Interstate 84 awoke Friday to homicide detectives investigating the shooting death of a local who owned and operated the Vagabond Lodge.

Jerry Cranmer, a 54-year-old lifelong Hood River resident, was found dead in his motel office on Thursday night, according to Hood River Sheriff's Office.

A relative living nearby heard what sounded like a gunshot just before 9:30 p.m. and called 9-1-1. Three Oregon State Police troopers less than a block away responded to the call and found Cranmer.

Mary Gumm, a longtime friend to Cranmer, was distraught at the loss, calling him "a rock" in her life.

"You know, it is such a tragedy," Gumm said. "What can you say when someone who is a prince among men is confronted with evil?"

Cranmer was shot once with a small-caliber hand gun, police said.

Cranmer was described by friends and family as a generous man who often donated motel rooms to the needy. He loved gardening, hiking and photography, said Tina Bausch, a friend of the victim.

Several police officers told KGW they counted Cranmer as a friend and were "as puzzled as everyone else."

Homicides are extremely rare in Hood River and detectives believe Cranmer may have been the victim to a random act of violence.

"It appears that monies where in the front cash drawer; that doesn't say that there wasn't money somewhere else that was taken," said Sheriff's Chief Deputy Jerry Brown.

No motive in the homicide had been determined Friday evening but sheriff's deputies said the investigation was being coordinated with several agencies, including OSP, local police and Oregon State Crime Lab.

Anyone with information was urged to contact Hood River authorities.

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