Planet Princeton

Panera shooting still under investigation by NJ attorney general’s office

No new information has been released about the police-involved shooting that took place at the Panera in downtown Princeton on March 20.

Scott Mielentz, 56,  brandished a gun in the Panera and was in a standoff with police for about five hours. He died after being shot by police.

The New Jersey Attorney General’s Shooting Response Team is still investigating the shooting, a spokesman said. There is no timeline for the conclusion of the investigation.

Information has not been released about the final minutes of the standoff, and officials have not confirmed whether the officer or officers involved in the shooting were local police officers or state troopers. Some media sources have reported that the police were state police, but law enforcement officials have not confirmed that reporting. There have been many rumors about what happened, with some Princeton personalities making claims on television about how the events unfolded. Yet so far, no details have been verified or released by law enforcement representatives that would support any of the conflicting narratives.

In New Jersey, all investigations into police deadly force incidents are governed by the New Jersey Attorney General’s independent prosecutor directive, which establishes procedures for conducting investigations and requires the attorney general to review all such investigations. The directive provides that unless the undisputed facts indicate that the use of force was justified under the law, the circumstances of the incident must be presented to a grand jury composed of 23 civilians for independent review.

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Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

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