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Judge says he’s worried man who fired at Clay Twp. building and was shot by police may harm himself


A municipal court judge set the bond of a Brookville man at $150,000 and told the defendant that he was worried that he may harm himself after being arrested for firing at the Clay Twp. administration building and an officer and fleeing.

Aaron Mitchell, 40, appeared for his arraignment Thursday via video in Montgomery County Western Division Court in New Lebanon.

Judge James Piergies entered pleas of not guilty on five felony charges against Mitchell and set bond at $150,000 with electronic monitoring if Mitchell were able to get bail out of Montgomery County Jail.

RELATED: Clay Twp. shooting suspect in jail, third officer on leave

Pierges said the bypass case will go to the grand jury so there was no preliminary hearing to be scheduled. The judge also appointed Mitchell a public defender.

Mitchell, who has no felony convictions, asked for a low bond so he could stay at home with an ankle bracelet. He had a brace or cast on his left arm.

“I’m a little concerned that there’s been talk that the purpose of this was to commit suicide on your part, just to be blunt,” Piergies said. “And that you were trying to use the police officers to accomplish that.

“Now I don’t know if any of that is true but it does cause me concern about letting you out into the community when you might do harm to yourself or somebody else.”

RELATED: Clay Twp. shooting suspect’s case going to grand jury

Police and court documents say Mitchell was shot multiple times by officers following a pursuit from the area of the Clay Twp. administration building, which ended on North Diamond Mill Road last Friday.

Deputies served a search warrant Friday at Mitchell’s house on South Clay Street in Brookville — locating bullets and shell casings — which revealed he posted messages on Facebook alluding to death by police.

Mitchell posted that he was “going to break a bunch of laws and then chased by the cops lol,” and that if he wanted to die he could do death by cop, the affidavit said.

RELATED: Clay Twp. police shooting: Suspect made comments about ‘death by cop’, records show

All three police officers who were placed on administrative leave after the shooting have mostly positive personnel records and have received letters of appreciation, according to documents obtained by this news organization.

Brookville police Capt. Tom Simon, along with Clay Twp. Sgt. James Hawkins and officer Jim Corcoran, all are on leave per policy as the investigation continues.

Simon was hired part-time and then full-time in 2004, promoted to captain in 2012 and promoted to major in 2014. Simon got his associate’s degree in criminal justice in June 2017 and is a junior high wrestling coach, according to documents.

RELATED: Man pursued after shooting at building is shot, wounded by police

Hawkins was promoted from detective to sergeant in April 2016. Along with letters of appreciation was a Nov. 20, 2018 letter of caution from Chief John Van Gundy for violation of code of conduct and unsatisfactory performances.

Van Gundy wrote that Hawkins filed a complaint detailing another officer sleeping on duty but didn’t make any attempt to remedy the situation or see if the officer was in need of medical attention.

Corcoran — who was commended for his Nov. 1, 2016 actions in locating a suspect who shot at police officers — had discipline issued in December 2017 for lack of courtesy with residents and in 2015 for attendance and punctuality issues.

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