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Suspect charged in shooting of police officer at Ferguson Walmart

Fhontez Mitchell faces several charges, including first-degree assault, armed criminal action and robbery

ST. LOUIS — A 20-year-old who had warrants out for his arrest has been charged after police said he shot an off-duty Calverton Park police officer three times, while the officer tried to stop him from shoplifting at a Ferguson Walmart.

St. Louis County prosecutors charged Fhontez Mitchell of St. Louis Wednesday after St. Louis County police said he shot the off-duty officer, who was working as a security guard at the store Sunday. 

Mitchell faces charges of first-degree assault, armed criminal action, robbery, tampering with evidence, resisting arrest and robbery. He is being held on a $1,000,000 bond.

A spokesman for St. Louis County Prosecutor Wesley Bell said prosecutors were originally going to seek no bond on Mitchell, but that "procedural issues" prevented them from doing so right now. They may later seek no bond in the case, according to the spokesman.  

Mitchell stole women's pajama pants and as he was trying to leave the store, the officer stopped him. Mitchell fired multiple shots at the officer, according to court documents.

The officer was wearing a bullet-resistant vest, which stopped two of the shots to his torso. One of the shots struck him in the arm, but he has since been released from the hospital and is at home recovering.

Mitchell later burned the clothing he was wearing Sunday night, according to court documents.

St. Louis County officers arrested Mitchell after spotting him near Canfield Drive in Ferguson Tuesday. Metro Air Support helped track the car until more officers could help with the arrest, but he sped away. A chase ended about five miles away, in the 8900 block of Jennings Station Road when police said Mitchell pulled onto a business parking lot, got out of the car and tried to run away. But officers caught up to him and arrested him.

Court records also show that was not the first time Mitchell has run from police.

In October 2016, Hazelwood police said he pried open the window to a woman’s house with a screwdriver. The victim ran to her bedroom and called police, who didn’t find anybody in the house when they arrived, but did find an Xbox console had been moved. Police matched fingerprints at the scene to Mitchell, who told police two other men “talked him into forcing open the window,” according to court documents.

He told police he got scared and didn’t go inside, according to the documents.

St. Louis County Circuit Judge Gloria Reno ordered Mitchell to serve five years probation.

Mitchell failed to appear for several probation violations, but posted bond at least once.

The most recent probation violation in that case was filed Dec. 20, 2019, and he had a warrant out for his arrest, according to court records.

But, he had another case, and another warrant, pending against him in St. Louis.

In October 2018, St. Louis police said Mitchell was speeding in a stolen car and ran through stop signs. He stopped the car when an officer tried to pull him over, but he ran away from officers and dropped a stolen gun along the way. Officers caught him, and he admitted knowing the car and the gun were stolen, according to court documents.

He pleaded guilty in July 2019, but St. Louis Circuit Judge Michael Mullen ordered a warrant for his arrest on a probation violation in that case Jan. 29.

The 35-year-old officer, who police said Mitchell shot, had two years of experience with the department. 

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. - Police have arrested and identified who they believe shot an off-duty Calverton Park police officer Sunday, and St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell is seeking arrest warrants against him. Bell's office is also asking that no bond be allowed against the man, said Tim Swope, Bell's spokesman.

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