College of Wooster student shot at rest stop on I-71

The Delaware County Sheriff’s Office first responded to a report of a shooting just after 11 a.m. Sunday at the rest area near mile marker 129

Alexander Melchert, College of Wooster.
Alexander Melchert


DELAWARE CO., Ohio (WCMH) — The suspect and a victim of a shooting at a rest area along Interstate 71 in Delaware County have been identified.

According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, 25-year-old Shawn A. Johnson, of Westerville, fired several shots at a vehicle, striking the victim, Alexander S. Melchert, a student at the College of Wooster. Melchert is in critical condition Monday night.

Police said Johnson died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The Delaware County Sheriff’s Office first responded to a report of a shooting just after 11 a.m. Sunday at the rest area near mile marker 129 on I-71 northbound.

Highway Patrol said a man and woman stopped at the rest stop. The man, now identified Melchert, went inside the building and when he came back out, witnesses saw him get shot by an unknown suspect who was sitting on a park bench.

State police said that Johnson fired several shots at a vehicle, shooting Melchert several times before fleeing. Medics found Melchert in the parking lot and rushed him to Grant Medical Center in critical condition.

According to the College of Wooster, Melchert is a first-year student from Wisconsin.

The College of Wooster released the following statement in regards to Melchert:

Dean of Students Scott Brown is in Columbus. Alexander’s parents are on their way to Ohio. College staff have reached out to his roommate, faculty, and others who live on his hall, and counselors and faith professionals are on hand for support.

The Highway Patrol and Delaware County Sheriff’s Deputies later located Johnson’s vehicle and began chasing him. The pursuit came to an end after the suspect’s vehicle drove over road spikes and crashed into a guardrail on I-71 northbound in Richland County.

Troopers surrounded the vehicle and once they made contact with the suspect, they discovered Johnson was deceased from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

No officers were injured as a result of the incident.

This story is corrected to show that Alexander Melchert is in critical condition.

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