Action sought in veteran's shooting in N.M.
Albuquerque Journal, N.M.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Six months after 23-year-old Iraq war veteran Jonathan Mitchell was shot in his Ventana Ranch neighborhood and died, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People wants the shooter, who claimed self-defense, to be charged with involuntary homicide and child abuse.
Mitchell was shot after a bizarre series of events, in which police said a neighbor saw a man brandishing a gun outside his home. The neighbor drove away and called somebody inside the home, who then called another neighbor, Donnie Pearson. Pearson told police he drove with his 15-year-old son to the neighbor’s house and Mitchell fired at them; Pearson then said he fired back once, and the shot was fatal.
Mitchell’s family members have disputed Pearson’s testimony from the beginning, and a video released by the Albuquerque Police Department supports some of their claims. Pearson did circle Mitchell’s block at least once before the fatal shooting.
An alliance of African-American groups “contends that the person who shot Mr. Mitchell could be the trigger that set off this deadly confrontation, because Mr. Mitchell’s home was circled by the shooter more than once,” said Harold Bailey, president of the Albuquerque NAACP. “The question remains the same: Did the shooter make an illegal decision to engage Mr. Mitchell and put all three of them in harm’s way?”
Mitchell’s father, Isaac Mitchell, remembered him as a caring soldier who helped install a water filtration system for an Iraqi village. Jonathan Mitchell survived active combat in Iraq, only to be killed in his hometown, he said.
“Every day across America young black men are subjected to this kind of abuse,” Isaac Mitchell said. “It’s time for that to stop, let’s stop here, it’s time for us to stand up for Jonathan. I won’t let this go, and I can tell the district attorney today that I will not go quietly in the night.”
Charles Becknell, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, said justice must be applied equally and fairly.
“This country just went through this situation with George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin, and we’re tired of vigilantes coming into our neighborhoods, so let’s press hard for justice in this particular situation,” he said.
Kayla Anderson, spokeswoman for the District Attorney’s Office, said she couldn’t comment on when the decision will be released because the investigation is ongoing.