Police Act After 5 Hour Standoff With Gunman in Panera Restaurant
A man who barricaded himself in a Panera restaurant in Princeton, New Jersey, was shot and killed by police after a five-hour standoff.
No one is certain what set off Scott Mielentz, 56, of Lawrenceville, New Jersey, when he entered the Panera on Nassau Street around 10 a.m. on March 20. 6ABC reported that the Mielentz entered the restaurant and began waving a gun in the air.
Everyone who could flee ran, while police and sheriff’s deputies began arriving outside.
Police tried to negotiate with the armed man for five hours but could not convince him to surrender.
At some point, the decision was made to end the standoff, and an officer shot the gunman through one of the restaurant windows. No one else was injured.
The attorney general’s shooting response team will investigate the shooting, according to a press release from their office.
The restaurant is across the street from Princeton University. Two university buildings were also evacuated at the time of the incident.
The university is on spring break, so fortunately there were not many students in the area.
BucksLocalNews.com reported that the gunman, Scott Mielentz, identified himself as an information technologies specialist on an online job site. He had recently relocated from Newtown, Pennsylvania.
According to court records, BucksLocalNews reported that Mielentz had applied for social security disability in 2014 while still working a job and was investigated for unemployment fraud.
Mielentz owed the social security administration $30,000 for benefits received under false pretenses.
Records show Mielaentz filed for bankruptcy in 2016 and in December 2017, he settled with the government. Under the terms of the settlement, he had to repay $25,000 of the money that he had obtained fraudulently in $100-per-month instalments.