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SUSPECT IN SHOOTING OF POLICE OFFICER SCHEDULED FOR COURT HEARING FRIDAY

A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for Friday morning in City Court for the man accused of shooting and critically wounding city police Officer David P. Mitchell.

Deputy Police Chief Lawrence Wallace said Wednesday that James E. Lewis Jr., 18, of Allen Street, is to appear before Judge John LaMancuso at 9 a.m. on two counts of first-degree attempted murder.

"There will be a preliminary hearing to determine if there is enough probable cause to hold Mr. Lewis over for grand jury action," said Wallace.

"We've been working hard to get our case together and get ready for that hearing.

Lewis faces two counts of attempted murder because he also allegedly shot at, and tried to kill Mitchell's partner.

The partner has not been identified because, he, like Mitchell, is an undercover officer assigned to the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force.

Lewis is in Chautauqua County Jail after being released Monday from the Erie County Medical Center following treatment of a gunshot wound to the abdomen sustained while exchanging gunfire with Mitchell's partner.

Sheriff Joseph Gerace said, "All of us are saddened by this incident and angered by it as well, but we will do our job as we're all sworn to do and hold him in our custody until there's further action from the courts."

Lewis will be represented by attorney Nathaniel Barone of the public defender's office. District Attorney James Subjack will handle the prosecution.

Lewis allegedly prearranged a meeting with Mitchell for 9 p.m. Sept. 15 on Wescott Street.

Authorities said he walked up to the unmarked police car and shot Mitchell in the face with a handgun after the officer had rolled down the window.

Arraignment had been reportedly postponed on at least one charge. According to Wallace, investigators are now focusing on events of that day leading up to the shooting.

They are also continuing to interview anyone who may have information on the case.

Authorities also said Wednesday that Mitchell remains in critical condition in a medically induced coma at ECMC.

The Jamestown-area community continued to rally around the officer, his family and the department Wednesday. Holy Family Catholic School included him in their prayers during morning Mass. Several city police officers attended.

School officials said one student's family made some 600 blue ribbons signifying emotional and prayer support, and passed them out to worshipers.

Students at the Chautauqua Lake Central School will hold a car wash Saturday at Fenner Elementary School. Proceeds will go to the fund established for the Mitchell family at the Jamestown Teachers Federal Credit Union.

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