Man to stand trial in officer's shooting
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A man who opened fire on a Pittsburgh police officer, striking him in the bullet-proof vest he was wearing, may have been trying to commit suicide by police.
Tiant Mitchell, 25, of Stanton Heights told his wife as they walked along Schenley Manor Drive in the early morning of Oct. 12 and he fired three shots up in to the air, that he planned to commit suicide by police.
Then, after a gun battle that left Mitchell wounded, he told the officer involved, "just put a bullet in my head."
Mitchell is charged with attempted homicide, endangering the welfare of children and assault of a law enforcement officer for the incident involving police Officer Andrew Baker.
Mitchell was held for court Tuesday after a preliminary hearing before District Judge Randy C. Martini.
According to testimony by Mitchell's wife, Shawnece Moore, she and her husband had been at their home early that morning when he became unruly and belligerent.
He had a gun and pointed it at Ms. Moore and at their 1-year-old daughter.
Ms. Moore persuaded Mitchell to walk with her to a neighborhood convenience store, and as they did, he fired three shots up into the air.
A neighbor called 911 and Officer Baker responded to the call.
Officer Baker testified that he was told to look for a black man in a white sweatshirt, and when he turned onto the road, Mitchell was about 20 feet in front of his patrol car.
"He pulled a gun out of his waistband and started firing," the officer said.
Officer Baker returned fire, and rolled toward the rear of his car, continuing to shoot. He had to reload the gun and he said Mitchell was running away from him toward a wooded area, still shooting. But, then, he continued, Mitchell went down.
"He held his hands up and said, 'I'm done, I'm done. I'm shot,'" the officer said. "I just held him at gunpoint until the other units showed up."
Mitchell was shot multiple times in the gun battle and sat in a wheelchair for his hearing Tuesday. Ms. Moore, who wore a cast on her hand, also was shot, she said, by Officer Baker. She told the judge that her husband had talked about suicide before.
Officer Baker testified that he didn't realize until after the shooting had ended that he'd been hit.
"There was a bullet hole in the center mass of my vest," he said.
The round did not penetrate the vest or injure him. He found the bullet in his shirt.
After the hearing, Officer Baker's sister, Sgt. Cristyn Zett, who is also with the city police, said her brother has returned to work.
"We're all looking forward to the holidays together," she said. "Everybody is grateful this situation turned out so well."
First Published November 21, 2012 12:00 am