The standoff that recently occurred at a Panera Bread restaurant in Princeton, New Jersey ended with the death of the lone gunman. According to a report from ABC Action News, 56-year-old Army veteran Scott Mielentz entered the establishment at around 10 a.m., Tuesday, and brandished a firearm in front of customers. Several heavily armed police officers, state troopers, and FBI agents swarmed the restaurant, which then led to a five-hour standoff.
During negotiations, the entire Princeton downtown area was shut down, which included the evacuation of two campus buildings. Officers with their weapons drawn surrounded the restaurant while negotiators were trying to convince the gunman to surrender.
A report from New Jersey 101.5 later revealed that Mielentz had actually been suffering from different mental health conditions, which included serious PTSD resulting from his time as an Army Ranger in Laos in the 1970s. Mielentz was reportedly using antipsychotic drugs such as Risperidone, Morphine, Oxycodone, and Gabapentin, to treat his PTSD, depression, degenerative disc disease, and his herniated discs. The Lawrenceville resident reportedly started treatment in 2010. Documents obtained by 101.5 also revealed that Mielentz actually confessed during a deposition to being confined to a psychiatric ward “for a bit of time.” It wasn’t exactly revealed how long he was admitted to the mental health facility.
Federal bankruptcy records also revealed that Mielentz actually owed the Federal Government thousands of dollars as a result of a lawsuit involving his Social Security benefits. His bankruptcy filings had also revealed that Mielentz was $122,500 in debt to credit card companies, hospitals, and doctors. The entire incident ended with the fatal shooting of the lone gunman with no other people injured. Negotiations reportedly failed at around 3 p.m. after Mielentz still refused to surrender to authorities.
Authorities have not yet revealed what Mielentz motives were for entering the establishment. The identity of the officer that shot and killed Mielentz has also not yet been announced. It is also still not clear what had led the officer to shoot the gunman and if Mielentz had even fired a shot. A full investigation into the shooting will be conducted by the State Attorney General’s office, which should reveal more details regarding the circumstances that led to the standoff and the fatal shooting of the gunman.