Rutland officer who shot, killed suspect mistook cell phone for gun

RUTLAND, Vt. (WFFF) — Vermont State Police are releasing more information about the officer-involved shooting that happened at a Mcdonald’s in Rutland.

Rutland City Police officer Christopher Rose followed hit-and-run suspect Johnathan Daniel Mansilla, 33, of Coral Gables, Florida into the McDonald’s bathroom. This after Mansilla allegedly was involved in a hit-and-run crash and multiple police pursuits.

The series of events that lead to the shooting began with a hit-and-run at 1:15 p.m. on August 25 in the parking lot of a Goodwill. Police in the area were advised to look for a black 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt. The victim of the hit-and-run later saw the vehicle in the town of Wallingford and alerted the Rutland County Sheriff’s Department.

Lt. Kevin Geno was at a nearby traffic stop and answered the call. Geno located the suspect’s vehicle and stopped the vehicle at 2:15 p.m. The suspect, later identified as Mansilla, fled the scene and the deputy initiated a pursuit, but lost the vehicle.

Sheriff’s Department Lt. James Bennick said he located the vehicle in a driveway on North Shrewsbury Road, where they say Mansilla again fled the scene. Deputies followed the vehicle to Cold River and Stratton Roads, where they determined the chase was becoming too dangerous and ended the pursuit.

Deputies say they saw the vehicle turn onto Allen Street and head west toward South Main Street in Rutland City, where Mansilla crashed into the back of a UPS truck across the street from the McDonald’s. He allegedly ran from the crash scene and into the Mcdonald’s with Rose on his tail.

Mansilla was in a stall when Cpl. Rose entered the bathroom. Police say Mansilla left the stall and ran toward Rose. Rose states he saw an object in Mansilla’s hand which he believed to be a weapon. That is when detectives say Rose fired three times from his handgun, hitting Mansilla twice in the chest. He died at the restaurant.

The object Mansilla was carrying was later determined to be a cellphone. His August 26 autopsy confirmed the cause of death was a gunshot wound to the chest.

Rose has served with the Rutland City Police Department for over five years.

Rutland City Police Department Cpl. Christopher A. Rose is seen in this official department photo released Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021, by the Vermont State Police.

Captain Scott Dunlap of the VSP said they have surveillance video from the police cruisers, the McDonalds, and some body cam video. “We also want to build a timeline to try to figure out what Mansilla’s—where he has been, and how long he has been in Vermont,” Dunlap said. “And why he was here in Vermont.”

Vermont State Police detectives say they expect to finish their investigation within the coming weeks. Soon, they will turn their findings over to the Attorney General’s Office and the Bennington County State Attorney’s Office for an independent review of Rose’s use of deadly force.

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