Suspect Fhontez Mitchell Charged in Police Officer Shooting


Fhontez Mitchell faces multiple felonies, including assault. - COURTESY ST. LOUIS COUNTY POLICE
  • Fhontez Mitchell faces multiple felonies, including assault.

A north St. Louis County man was arrested after a high-speed chase and charged with assault in the shooting of a police officer.

Fhontez Mitchell, twenty, was shoplifting women's clothing on Sunday evening at a Walmart in Ferguson when the off-duty officer and a store security guard confronted him near the entrance, authorities say.

Mitchell pulled out a .45-caliber handgun and shot the 35-year-old officer three times — once in the arm and twice in the body, police say. Mitchell then ran into the parking lot, hopped in a black Mercedes-Benz and fled, police say.

Police searched for him for nearly two days until 12:26 p.m. yesterday, when a county cop spotted the Benz on Canfield Drive in Ferguson and called in backup. As a police helicopter hovered overhead, county police in patrol cars began chasing the sedan. Mitchell eventually pulled into a parking lot off of Jennings Station Road, got out and tried to escape on foot, police say. He was soon taken into custody.

Today, St. Louis County prosecutors filed charges of first-degree assault, robbery, armed criminal action, resisting arrest and tampering with evidence. Police say Mitchell, who has convictions for burglary and stealing a car, had burned the clothes he was wearing at the time of the shooting, but he was still driving the same car.

He was jailed on $1 million cash bond.

The officer, who was was in his Calverton Park uniform while working security at the store, was treated at a hospital for non-life-threatening injuries. Police say he was wearing a bulletproof vest when he was shot, which stopped two of the bullets.

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