Police identify man who shot ex-partner in Salem home, died by suicide after 50-mile chase

Salem police have identified a man who drove his truck into a south Salem home Tuesday morning, shot his former romantic partner who was inside and then led police on a 50-mile pursuit into the Santiam Canyon before fatally shooting himself.

The agency said a deputy found Phillip W. Johnson, 37 of Salem, driving east on Highway 22 about a half-hour after the morning shooting. Police have not identified the victim, a 31-year-old woman, who was critically injured and remained hospitalized as of Wednesday afternoon, according to a news release.

“Johnson and the victim were known to one another from a past relationship,” the statement said.

Police used a tire deflation device to stop Johnson’s truck. Deputies found him dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The incident shut down a portion of Highway 22 outside the city of Detroit for around seven hours while police investigated.

The Salem Police Department said in its statement Wednesday afternoon that it would not release any additional information about the investigation.

The agency said Tuesday that officers responded around 10:40 a.m. that morning to reports that a man had driven his truck into a home in the 1300 block of Southeast Vista Avenue then shot a woman inside the home. The man then fled.

“Officers learned of a possible threat to the victim’s children who attend Morningside Elementary School near the residence,” according to the original police statement.

The school was put on lockdown around 10:45 a.m. and Salem police sent officers to the school as a precaution. All students and staff remained safe, and the lockdown was lifted at 12:24 p.m. 

Deputies stopped Johnson on Oregon Highway 22 at about milepost 47, just west of Detroit State Recreation Area and near Tumble Creek.


UPDATE: Man shoots woman in Salem home, dies by suicide after 50-mile chase

Contact reporter Ardeshir Tabrizian: [email protected] or 503-929-3053.

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Ardeshir Tabrizian has covered criminal justice and housing for Salem Reporter since September 2021. As an Oregon native, his award-winning watchdog journalism has traversed the state. He has done reporting for The Oregonian, Eugene Weekly and Malheur Enterprise.