Restaurant Worker Killed; Suspect Dies in Interstate Crash
ASHLAND – The multi-agency Major Assault and Death Investigation Unit (MADIU) is investigating two deaths that occurred approximately six miles apart – a homicide at Callahan's Lodge, and a fatal vehicle-pedestrian crash near mile marker 1 of Interstate 5. Detectives say the two events are linked; they are hoping witnesses will come forward to help provide more information.
At 6:54 am, dispatch received a 911 call from a motorist on Interstate 5. The caller said he ran over a man who had been shooting at the caller’s vehicle. Deputies and Oregon State Police troopers responded to the area. They found a man deceased near a vehicle that was parked in the middle of the southbound lanes. A firearm was found on the ground nearby.
At 7:05 am, dispatch received a 911 call from Callahan’s Lodge (7100 Old Highway 99 South) reporting a male employee was found deceased in the kitchen. Investigators learned he had died of a gunshot wound. The employee’s vehicle was missing. It was later identified as the vehicle parked in Interstate 5 and associated with the shooting suspect.
Preliminary evidence suggests the suspect shot the Callahan’s employee and stole his vehicle, then headed south on Interstate 5. The suspect apparently stopped in the middle of the roadway and fired shots toward vehicles in the southbound lanes, before being struck by one of the vehicles. Oregon State Police, with assistance from the Serious Traffic Accident Reconstruction (STAR) team closed the southbound lanes to investigate the scene.
Detectives say there is currently no known threat to the public. They believe the suspect and victim were not known to each other. Detectives continue to follow up on leads.
Investigators with the Jackson County Medical Examiner’s Office have positively identified both deceased men. They are working to ensure next-of-kin notifications. Detectives expect to release the identities of the involved parties on Sunday. The information will be provided in a subsequent media release.
Investigators want to hear from motorists who may have seen the suspect on Interstate 5. Witnesses reported seeing vehicles driving around the suspect in the roadway before he was struck. Anyone with information can call Detective Ben Weaver at (541) 774-6800. Refer to case 17-20750.