NEWARK - A Marion man is dead after accidentally shooting himself in his car while going after a woman he is alleged to have abused.
Newark Police report that Phillip L. Parker, 29, of Marion, shot himself Monday morning on North 21st Street, got out of his car, fired multiple shots and then collapsed after crashing into other cars.
The target of Parker's attack, Sarah Bennett, of Newark, was struck by one of those shots and is being treated injuries at a Newark hospital. Police reported the injuries were not life-threatening.
Newark Police Chief Barry Connell said Parker was arrested for domestic violence against Bennett on June 28. On Sunday, Bennett called police to report that Parker had held her at gunpoint on Friday and threatened to kill her and her family.
Connell said Newark Police were actively looking for Parker to arrest him.
Parker was released from prison in January after serving nearly two years for drug trafficking offenses, according to Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction records.
It was not Parker's first stint behind bars. In 2006, when Parker was just 18, he was sentenced to eight years in prison after being convicted of rape, tampering with evidence, felonious assault and intimidation of a victim or witness, according to Marion County court records.
The records state that while trespassing at a Marion home in March 2006, Parker cut a 17-year-old female with a knife and threatened to kill her. He then forced the teen to have sex with him. After raping the woman, Parker threatened to kill her if he went to jail in an effort to intimidate her from going to police.
In 2014, Parker was sentenced to seven months in prison after entering a plea to a charge of aggravated assault. According to court documents, he struck a man in the head with what witnesses described as a pipe. The victim required staples to close the wound.
In 2015, Parker was sentenced to one year and 11 months in prison after being found guilty of multiple counts of trafficking in cocaine. It was on these charges that Parker was released from prison in January after completing his sentence. According to court documents, Parker sold crack cocaine to a confidential informant several times in Marion.
Because of his multiple felony convictions, Parker was not legally permitted to possess a firearm. How he came to be in possession of a firearm is one of the many points investigators are working to determine.
Parker was a registered sex offender and his last listed address was in Marion.
Shortly after 10:45 a.m. Monday, Newark police were notified of shots being fired in the area of Bob Evans on the 1200 block of North 21st Street.
Dana Jack, of Newark, said he was sitting at a red light at the intersection of Log Pond Drive and North 21st Street when he saw two vehicles, a silver Audi and a white vehicle, come "flying" down the street in the area of the 21st Street McDonald's.
"It looked like they were trying to run each other off the road," he said. "The tires were squealing and everything."
Jack said he thought it was just a couple drivers being unsafe but he heard the vehicles coming back his direction and then heard the sound of collisions.
He said a man got out of the silver Audi with a gun drawn and began chasing a woman who was running from the white vehicle down Log Pond Drive.
"She ran screaming 'Don't shoot me, don't shoot me,'" Jack said. "She was just screaming at the top of her lungs."
The man fired several shots from a "shooter stance," Jack said, while the woman ran into a Sprint store across the street from Bob Evans.
Jack said he turned around and did not see the man, got out of his vehicle and then saw the man on the ground with what appeared to be blood on his back.
He said he saw people doing CPR and the man had a tattoo on his chest that read "Love is Pain."
"I'm shaking," he said. "I was in the Army and I've never seen anything like that."
Six 911 calls were made from the scene at or around the time of the shooting.
The first call, made at 10:45 a.m., was by a woman who can be heard yelling "Leave me alone" and then "Help, This guy's going to shoot me."
On the call, the woman can be heard running and three gunshots are heard.
Within two minutes, five other 911 calls had been made with witnesses reporting shots fired and a multi-vehicle crash at the intersection.
Zack Lehman was in the McDonald's parking lot at the time of the shooting and said he saw two vehicles, the silver Audi and a white Chrysler, driving in reverse in the wrong direction on North 21st Street.
"You could hear the cars crunching," he said. "There was some speed involved. She was trying to get away from him while he was shoving her car."
Lehman said the white vehicle struck a Chevy Equinox, which attempted to get off the street and onto the curb. The Audi then "slammed his wheel hard left," turning the vehicle right because it was in reverse.
Lehman said the Audi hit the curb with his passenger wheel and the driver sat in the vehicle for seconds before exiting his vehicle with a firearm.
"Before anybody could react, he had dumped three or four shots between the three lanes of traffic," Lehman said. "The second he hit the concrete, we both watched him fall and hit the ground."
Marion Star reporter Sarah Volpenhein contributed to this report.
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