Police: men tried to calm fugitive down before capture

MANASSAS, Va. (WUSA9) -- Manassas police have released new details about the capture of a man wanted in Pennsylvania on Thursday.

Earl Mitchell had been on the run. He was wanted in relation to a homicide investigation in Pennsylvania.

Thursday afternoon, a Manassas City Police officer saw a vehicle with Pennsylvania license plates in the area of Dumfries Rd and Winterset Dr. When the officer ran the plates for information, he discovered that the vehicle was connected to a homicide investigation in Johnstown, Pa. He then attempted to stop the vehicle, but the driver did not stop.

A pursuit continued into Prince William County, say police, where the driver lost control of the vehicle. The vehicle run up on a sidewalk in the area of the Prince William Parkway near Tattersall Dr. Police say a passenger stayed at the scene and was detained without incident but the driver, later identified as Mitchell, rand to a nearby residential and wooded area.

Officers determined that he was the wanted suspect and more police came in to help with an extensive search. For seven hours, officers and K-9s from Prince William County Police, Manassas City Police, and Virginia State Police and the U.S. Marshal's Fugitive Task Force with aerial support from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection helicopter, searched for Mitchell. Schools int he area were notified to take precautions.

Police say shortly after 8 p.m., officers were told that Mitchell may be in the basement of a home in the 8400 block of Mineral Springs Dr. after getting in through an unlocked rear door. Several officers and a police K-9 searched the home and found Mitchell in the storage are of the basement, say police. They say they found he had a loaded handgun with him during his arrest.

Police add that before his arrest, two residents of the home encountered Mitchell and attempted to calm him down for several hours. When Mitchell became distracted, the men were able to flee and officers were told to look in the house.

No one was injured, accordign to police.

Mitchell is being held at the Prince William-Manassas Regional Adult Detention Center in Manassas without bond. He was charged by Manassas City with fugitive from justice [reference PA homicide], possession of a stolen firearm, possession of a concealed weapon, reckless driving, and felony eluding. Police say he was also charged by Prince William County with burglary while armed, two counts of abduction, two counts of use of a firearm in commission of a felony.

Mitchell is set to appear in court March 25 and April 1.


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