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Police: Armed Suspect Held Residents Hostage During Manhunt

Men escaped after hours-long search for Pennsylvania homicide suspect Earl Patrick Mitchell in Manassas area.

Earl Patrick MITCHELL, 20, of 1438 N 56th St in Philadelphia, PA. Prince William County Police.
Earl Patrick MITCHELL, 20, of 1438 N 56th St in Philadelphia, PA. Prince William County Police.
The break in a desperate manhunt Thursday for a homicide suspect came after two men held hostage for hours were able to escape and alert officers, according to Prince William County Police. 

Law enforcement released details Friday of a 7-hour manhunt through a Manassas suburb Thursday evening that included the lockdown of area schools and some residents needing police escorts to reach their homes.

Apprehended Thursday night, Earl Patrick Mitchell, 20, of Philadelphia, was wanted in a homicide investigation in his home state.

He now faces local charges, including burglary while armed, 2 counts of abduction, and 2 counts of use of a firearm in commission of a felony, according to Prince William County Police. Mitchell also faces charges in the City of Manassas, including fugitive from justice, possession of a stolen firearm, possession of a concealed weapon, reckless driving and felony eluding.

Manassas Police officers identified Mitchell's vehicle at 1:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon. After checking the plates, the vehicle was identified in connection with the homicide investigation in Johnstown, Penn.

Mitchell allegedly sped away when the officer attempted to initiate a traffic stop, according to Prince William County Police spokesperson Officer Jonathan Perok.

"The driver did not stop and a pursuit was initiated which continued into Prince William County where the driver lost control of the vehicle and it ran up on a sidewalk in the area of the Prince William Pkwy near Tattersall Dr.," Perok noted in a statement. 

A passenger in the vehicle remained at the scene and was detained and eventually released. Mitchell allegedly fled on foot into a nearby community. Due to the charges in Pennsylvania, local law enforcement initiated the extensive search of the area.

Agencies involved included Prince William County Police, Manassas City Police and Virginia State Police, with help from the U.S. Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force and aerial support from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection helicopter, according to Perok.

Shortly after 8 p.m., police learned Mitchell was hiding in the basement of a home on Mineral Springs Dr. 

The suspect allegedly accessed the home through an unsecured rear door. He'd allegedly held two residents for several hours. The men tried to calm the suspect down and, finally, were able to escape the home and notify the police.

"The suspect was apprehended without incident and was found to be in possession of a loaded handgun," Perok stated. 

No injuries were reported. Mitchell's first court date is March 25.

Gary Howe February 10, 2014 at 10:02 AM
Old sparky will do well for this individual!

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