She went to work like she did nearly every day, and it started out somewhat normal. She worked for a company called Open Arms that serves adults with special needs in the Mansfield area. It wasn’t a normal day for her, or her clients, as they planned to go to Columbus to visit the Marvel exhibit at COSI. It was a day that her clients had been looking forward to for a long time. As you can imagine, the group set out in a large company van on I-71 south to make their way to Columbus. But their day became terrifying and a day that she and her clients will never forget. Her name is Michelle, and she and her clients were shot at multiple times by the I-71 shooter, Jonathon Myers, on March 11, 2022. Luckily, Michelle and her clients were blanketed in protection and no one was physically harmed despite a bullet hitting the van inches below where passengers were sitting.
He was traveling for work on I-70 when he witnessed a Ford Fusion barrel into a smaller Prius car — totaling the Prius. He then saw the Ford Fusion not stop for the crash and take off — a classic hit skip. He drove after the Fusion hoping to get the license plate to report it to police when he almost lost his life. His name is Kyle, and he was shot at twice by the I-71 shooter, Jonathon Myers. Kyle was blanketed in protection, too, and was not physically harmed despite hearing and feeling the bullets whiz by his head.
He was driving on I-71 southbound too that day. His school van was occupied by another wrestling coach and a few students. They were going to the state wrestling tournament that day when Jonathon Myers shot at him and his van also. His name is Bryan, and he and his passengers were blanketed in protection that day as well, despite a bullet ricocheting off the windshield of his van directly where the passenger was sitting.
He showed up to work that day as he had for many years. He donned his vest, put on his gun belt, and responded to calls for help from citizens. Many years ago, he took an oath to protect and serve, and on March 11, 2021, he and several other Columbus police officers ran toward gunfire to protect everyone on I-71 that day. His name is Officer Valiski. Jonathon Myers first opened fire on CPD officers while on the left berm of I-71 northbound. Next, Myers ran across I-71 northbound and fired at officers again. Then Myers stopped on the right berm of I-71 northbound, pointed his gun directly at Officer Valiski, and fired. Officer Valiski and the CPD officers were also blanketed in protection that day despite Myers shooting at least four times trying to end their lives — one bullet coming to rest just inches below where Officer Valiski was driving.
March 11, 2022, is a day that Michelle, Bryan, Kyle, and Officer Valiski will not forget, having each encountered an active shooter in Delaware County. I’ll never forget that day as we waited for more information at the prosecutor’s office. Is anyone hurt? Is the area secure? Is the suspect in custody? Is the elementary school just a stone’s throw away okay and secure? Who is Jonathon Myers, and why is he shooting up my highway in my county? I prayed that day, and I thanked God that day no one was killed. Then once officers and agents could investigate, I got to work as your Delaware County prosecutor.
And nine months later, on Dec. 5 of 2022, Jonathon Myers was convicted of multiple counts of attempted murder and attempted aggravated murder, along with other serious felonies. Myers was sentenced to 25 to 31.5 years in prison by Judge Gormley. As your Delaware County prosecutor, I did my job — nothing more, nothing less — to prosecute Myers fairly and to protect our public. But, Mr. Myers’ saga doesn’t end in Delaware, as it’s now time for Myers to face the Franklin County justice system.
At the time of the highway shooting, Myers was facing six serious multi-count felony indictments for drug trafficking, illegal manufacturing of drugs, drug possession, spitting on an officer, fleeing and eluding (running from cops — go figure), and charges for misdemeanor domestic violence. All of these charges and indictments were for alleged conduct in 2020 that was then later indicted in 2021. Now that his case is over in Delaware County, Franklin County will be able to move forward with all of their indictments and charges against him. May justice be served again to hold him accountable for his multiple-year crime spree and continue to protect our communities for many years to come.
Melissa A. Schiffel is Delaware County prosecutor.