Rare coroner's inquest probes fatal shooting of 21-year-old - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Rare coroner's inquest probes fatal shooting of 21-year-old

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Ajani Mitchell (Source: Bostick-Tompkins Funeral Home) Ajani Mitchell (Source: Bostick-Tompkins Funeral Home)
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

A rare coroner's inquest is underway into the fatal shooting of a Columbia man that happened in late May on Conveyor Street.

The six-member jury is looking into the officer-involved fatal shooting of 21-year-old Ajani Mitchell. Columbia Police say they confronted Mitchell after reports that he had a gun and was acting strangely.

Police say they saw Mitchell with a gun and pursued him. The CPD says they believe the circumstances support a clean shooting.

Richland County Coroner Gary Watts wanted a second look at the case.

"Because of the circumstances, numerous phone calls that I have received from different community members, questions that have been sort of circulating and rumors that have been circulating about what happened ... [I] just felt like it was better that we go ahead and do something in a formal setting and allow all of the information, all of the facts to come out," Watts said in a previous statement.

In this case, the jury has heard testimony from officers who say they had to use deadly force to eliminate the threat posed by Mitchell, who they knew had guns and had threatened to shoot them.

When three officers confronted Mitchell near his home, there was a brief foot chase and then they say, Mitchell turned as he was jumping a fence and pointed a .40 caliber weapon at them.

Officer Matthew Fields and Officer Adam Anderson, who both testified at the inquest, unholstered their weapons and opened fire.

Mitchell was hit about 11 times. The gun he was carrying was not fired, but the magazine in it contained seven rounds.

"He was running away from us with the gun. Grabbed the gun with his left hand. His right foot went up and over and that's when he had the stability to turn around and point the gun at us. He was bringing his left leg up. He wanted to get over that fence, so he was still moving and bring his left leg over the fence and that's when we began firing because he had the gun pointed at us and we feared for our life," said Anderson.

One of the officers testifying said Mitchell's mother told him she regretted what happened, but said she understood why police had to fire on her son.

The jury can ask questions and any decisions made by them could lead to a Grand Jury action.

The inquest is expected to last until Wednesday.

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