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Wisconsin man injured in Ohio interstate rest stop shooting

Investigators say shooting was "random act"
Posted at 2:21 PM, Oct 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-04 13:40:44-04

A college freshman from Neenah, Wisconsin was injured in a shooting incident at a rest area near Columbus, Ohio Sunday.  

The Ohio State Patrol identified the victim as Alexander S. Melchert,  a 2016 Neenah High School graduate and a freshman at the College of Wooster. 

Police say a man named Shawn Johnson fired several shots at a vehicle, shooting Melchert several times before fleeing. Medics found Melchert in a parking lot and rushed him to a local hospital in critical condition.

Melchert, who has just started his first year at Wooster, was driving with a friend Sunday morning when he pulled over to use the restroom.

Witnesses at the rest stop along Interstate 71 say Melchert walked back to his car when a man on a park bench started shooting.
 
"And some... gentleman just shot.. about 6 shots into a car," says the 911 caller, "and.. I think they need some help."
Authorities say the 25-year-old shooting suspect died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after leading police on a high speed chase.
 
Investigators with the Ohio State Highway Patrol said they weren't aware of a relationship between the victim and the suspect, but believed it was a random act.
 
Melchert was joined at the Ohio hospital by his parents and siblings, according to Wooster officials.
 

Watch coverage from NBC4.com in Columbus, Ohio:

The Neenah Joint School District issued the following statement:

"We are saddened by the news of the senseless shooting of former Neenah High School student Alex Melchert on Sunday in Ohio. The thoughts of the entire Neenah Joint School District community are with Alex and his family as we wish him the best in recovery."
 
Friends of Melchert have also started using the hashtag #PrayForMelchert on Twitter in an outpouring of support.