State police to investigate veteran's shooting death

Updated: 03/14/2014 11:15 AM | Created: 03/14/2014 11:14 AM
By: Elizabeth Reed,

ALBUQUERQUE -- New Mexico State Police have agreed to investigate the shooting death of an Iraq War veteran.

The announcement comes one week after the district attorney said charges may never be filed.

The incident started in Ventana Ranch about a year ago. Police said Jonathan Mitchell was spotted in his driveway holding a gun when a neighbor, Donnie Pearson, drove by. Pearson told police he heard about an armed man in the neighborhood and went to look for him.

Police said footage taken from their helicopter showed Mitchell fired first at Pearson and then Pearson shot back, killing him.

Pearson was never charged.

"Jonathan Mitchell fired the first shot and then Pearson returned fire," district attorney Kari Brandenburg told KOB last week. "Under the law, that is self-defense and that makes it justified. And the law doesn't support us bringing charges."

Mitchell's family and the NAACP have called it a case of "vigilante justice."

APD and the district attorney's office both asked state police to review the case.

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