What we know about the Princeton gunman who died in standoff
PRINCETON — A lot of questions remain about the shooting of a 56-year-old gunman that held police at bay for several hours on Tuesday before he was shot dead by police.
The man was identified Wednesday Scott Mielentz, 56, a resident of Lawrenceville. Authorities say he previously lived in Newtown, Pennsylvania.
Authorities have not said what motivated Mielentz to enter the store.
Customers and employees fled the Panera around 10 a.m Tuesday after the man entered with a weapon, according to Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, whose agency is investigating the incident.
After an hours-long standoff in which police negotiators tried to get the man to surrender, police shot the man about 3 p.m.
Officials also have not explained what happened in the moments that led to police shooting the man, how many police officers fired their weapons, which agency those officers were with or how many times the man was shot.
The restaurant, located near the Princeton University campus and busy Palmer Square, was closed Wednesday morning as no one answered the phone and the Panera website said the location was unavailable to take orders. Panera Bread's corporate office did not returned a message seeking comment Wednesday.
Witness Susanna Troy told New Jersey 101.5 on Tuesday that she was walking near the eatery when she noticed a parking enforcement officer and a female police officer crouched with her gun outside.
Princeton police were quickly joined by State Police, the FBI and tactical teams as Nassau Street closed off in front of the restaurant.
Who was the man?
- Police told PlanetPrinceton.com that a Ford Focus with Pennsylvania license plates belonging to the man was found near Panera. Law enforcement sources that the news site did not identify by name also said that he was a military veteran.
Were there any hostages?
- Police have not said what happened once the customers and employees left and only said he was "armed." A witness told New Jersey 101.5 that she saw an older man being taken from the restaurant who appeared to be shaken up.
Why did police shoot him?
- Negotiations went on for several hours in hopes of a peaceful resolution. It's not clear why he entered the restaurant or if he had any demands.
What agency fired the shot?
- Grewal did not disclose which law enforcement agency fired the fatal shot or what prompted the shot. The man was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Grewal, whose office took over the investigation because police used deadly force. The Attorney General's Office will determine if the use of force was justified under the law.