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.
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 http://vsp.vermont.gov/tipsubmit.
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.