Man shot in head by Ludlow cop was talking suicide

Shot after officer shouted ‘gun’ – unfired semiauto handgun recovered

The Vermont State Police investigation is continuing into a police shooting that occurred late Monday by a member of the Ludlow Police Department on South Hill Road.

The man who was shot is identified as Michael Mills, 35, of Cavendish. He is hospitalized in critical condition Tuesday afternoon at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire.

2018 photo of Michael Mills of Cavendish

VSP’s initial investigation shows that the incident started at about 6:45 p.m. Monday when Mills began making a series of what would eventually become more than two dozen 911 calls during which he made various complaints, threats and suicidal statements. Police in the area began seeking Mills, and a brief encounter led to a short pursuit with Ludlow police, whom Mills was able to elude. Later, Mills was reported to be driving erratically in Ludlow, including in the parking lot of the police department.

According to a review of evidence including video from body-worn cameras, two officers in a single cruiser attempted to stop Mills at about 9:30 p.m., but he drove off, and the officers followed. During the ensuing chase, Mills stopped his vehicle multiple times and at one point reversed his car and rammed the police cruiser before driving away. The pursuit ended at about 9:36 p.m. in the area of 451 South Hill Road when Mills drove off the road and into a tree.

Officers attempted to speak to and calm Mills. When he failed to step out of the car, one of the officers approached the vehicle and opened the front passenger door, at which point the officer yelled “Gun!” several times. The second officer then fired a single round from his department-issued sidearm, striking Mills in the head. Police recovered a semiautomatic handgun from Mills’s vehicle. Mills did not appear to have fired a round during the encounter, but a subsequent examination of the gun indicated that it might have malfunctioned.

Mills received first aid on scene and was brought by ambulance to Springfield Hospital before being airlifted to Dartmouth-Hitchcock.

Neither of the officers was injured during the incident. Per Ludlow Police Department policy, the two officers have been placed on paid administrative leave. The Vermont State Police will release their identities as the investigation continues.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call VSP’s Westminster Barracks at 802-722-4600 or leave an anonymous tip online at

Once the Vermont State Police investigation is complete, the case will be turned over to the Vermont Attorney General’s Office and the relevant State’s Attorney’s Office for independent reviews of the police use of force.

No additional information is available at this time. Further details of the investigation will be released as the case continues.

In 2018, Mills was accused of domestic assault in Vermont and of making ‘terroristic threats’ by NY police. According to a news report in the Chester Telegraph, Mills told NY corrections workers “I’m going to shoot up everybody, truth, justice and the American way, I guess that doesn’t apply anymore.”

Monday’s incident was the second shooting of three days by Vermont police of men expressing suicidal thoughts. David Johnson, 20, of Burlington suffered injuries Saturday afternoon after rushing Burlington police with a knife after talking about suicide.

Categories: Crime

3 replies »

  1. This article leaves a very important question. Was a gun present or was it actively pointed at an officer?

    Might have malfunctioned? How could you determine that? Short of a dimple on the primer but that wouldn’t be a malfunctioning gun that would be a malfunctioning round.

  2. One of the reasons that anti-gun groups dislike guns is that when chosen as a means of suicide, they are typically lethal, with no backing out. That makes a firearm a good choice for someone who legitimately wants to do themself in, and let’s face it, we live in a state that has a legal avenue for taking ones own life. For all the rest who are on the fence about it, or maybe just want to get some help with their mental problems, we have a special phone number now. So, what is up with the people who feel the need to involve police in their suicide attempt and/or cry for help? For those who need help, PLEASE call 988. For those who legitimately want to take their own life, please do it in some way that does not cause a public safety professional to have to participate and live with the aftermath. (responses accusing me of insensitivity go in the space below)…

  3. If a police officer or innocent bystander’s life appears to be endangered, NO ONE at the scene has the time to inquire: “Are you pointing a weapon at me because you are having a mental breakdown or because you are violent & bent upon potential murder or harm”? A “social worker” cannot discern such either.

    The above poster is correct: Go to the E.R. or contact 988. There is no good reason for any of this to be taking place where anyone can become injured or worse. As an aside? The enabling of drug use & abuse in VT is a MAJOR part of this from Fentanyl pouring in through illegal border crossers AND retail pot shops soon to be opened.

    Sorry, but no one has an imperative “need” to be intoxicated. Medicated? Yes. Intoxicated or “high”? NO.