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St. Paul Park man accused of shooting gun in neighborhood

A St. Paul Park man is accused of firing a shotgun in his neighborhood while drunk.

James P. Mitchem, 59, allegedly was intoxicated when he stepped out to his back porch and fired shotgun rounds into the sky, according to a criminal complaint filed in Washington County District Court. Mitchem was charged with reckless discharge of a firearm within a city, a felony.

According to the criminal complaint:

Police were called to 10th and Selby avenues shortly before 7 p.m. March 3. A nearby resident who described himself as an avid hunter reported hearing three gunshots in the area. Another woman told police she and her children heard the gunshots and that her daughter saw their neighbor, identified as Mitchem, shooting a gun from his rear deck.

Police went to Mitchem’s house in the 1000 block of Selby Avenue and heard loud music inside. Mitchem answered the door and appeared intoxicated. Mitchem said he was mourning the death of his mother and he went out to his deck and fired a 16-gauge shotgun pointed in the air. He said he fired a second shot a couple minutes later.

The house is in a residential neighborhood and one block from Abdella Park. Police noted that Mitchem did not seem to understand the seriousness of firing a gun in the air as he said he was on private property.

Mitchem’s blood-alcohol concentration was 0.169, which is twice the legal driving limit. Police found two live gun rounds in his pocket and numerous firearms in his home.

Mitchem was booked into the Washington County jail. He is scheduled to appear in court March 27.

Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

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