Portland police chief: Man shot by officer used car 'as a dangerous weapon'

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Jonathan Mitchell in custody at Maine Medical Center

PORTLAND — A car chase through East Deering early Sunday morning ended with a burglary suspect being shot by police.

Police Chief James Craig, in a press conference on Monday, said Officer Robert Miller fired two bullets at Jonathan Mitchell, a 29-year-old Bangor man. He said Mitchell allegedly “used his vehicle as a dangerous weapon” to escape officers, and the shooting is under investigation by the Police Department and the Maine attorney general.

Craig said Miller and Officer David Schertz approached Mitchell on foot on Fairfield Street and attempted to arrest him after the chase. Mitchell, he said, refused and tried to escape in his black Volkswagen Jetta. At that point, Craig said, Miller shot Mitchell in the neck and shoulder.

Neither officer was hurt and Mitchell managed to get away. He was found at about 6:20 a.m. at 150 Washington Ave., in the apartment of a woman. Craig said officers found him after spotting his vehicle near the home.

Mitchell was arrested and taken by ambulance to Maine Medical Center, where he was listed in stable condition Monday afternoon.

The incident began at about 4:40 a.m. Sunday when Mitchell’s estranged wife called police to report that he had unlawfully entered her Allen Avenue home while she was asleep and was refusing to leave. Mitchell reportedly left while the woman was on the phone with police, but she was able to give them a description of his car.

Miller spotted Mitchell on Washington Avenue a short time later and tried to pull him over, but Mitchell did not stop. Schertz joined the pursuit and the two officers followed Mitchell onto Presumpscot Street, to Sherwood Street and onto Veranda Street. Mitchell then reportedly turned onto the short dead-end, Fairfield Street.

Craig said Miller, a three-year veteran of the Police Department, was placed on paid administrative leave, which is routine in officer-involved shootings. Schertz, who has been with the department one year, did not fire his weapon.

He said the officers followed the correct protocol in reporting the chase and pursuing Mitchell, who was charged with criminal trespass, operating after revocation for being a habitual offender, eluding police and reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon.

He also was charged with probation revocation because he was on probation for aggravated assault.

The case has been submitted to the district attorney, Craig said.

Kate Bucklin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or kbucklin@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @katebucklin.