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.

Please share your thoughts on this story.

4 comments
  • Same thing happened that happened in South Brunswick several years ago. The police have no idea how to deal with mental illness. They got tired of waiting for this guy and decided they had to storm in there so he wouldn’t hurt himself. Naturally when you charge a person who is holding a weapon, that person is going to react and give you an excuse to kill him. Everyone made it home in time for dinner.

  • It is irresponsible to suggest Police/Swat teams shoot a man because they lose patience. These are highly trained law enforcement professionals who would not act with out cause, and only in the name of public safety. No law enforcement professional would ever take having to pull the trigger in a situation like this lightly.

    Not sure what Stephen Manobianco means about “an old white guy”. Reports are that he was an ex Army Ranger who may have been suffering from PTSD. The Army Rangers are of the most disciplined, highly trained, and intelligent soldiers in the US Army.

    Regardless of his service history, race or age, this is a terrible tragedy for all involved. People should not be so quick to judge.

  • The victim was just an old white guy…do you really think anyone in Princeton or Governor Murphy’s administration cares?

  • Can’t help but shake the feeling I had on that day that they ran out of patience during a snow storm. He wasn’t holding any hostages. Someone in the know needs to make a statement explaining, plainly, what happened to dispel the rumors.

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