Suspect charged with robbery after allegedly attempting to hit witness with stolen beer

File photo of St. George Police vehicle, St. George, Utah, Jan. 29, 2020 | Photo by Chris Reed, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A St. George man was charged following an incident Monday involving an alleged theft of beer at a market off Dixie Drive that triggered a scuffle with bystanders and then with police.

Nolan Christopher Mills, 30, of St. George, booking photo taken in Washington County April 6, 2020 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

On Monday afternoon, officers responded to a convenience store on South Valley View Drive on a report of a retail theft involving a man, later identified as 30-year-old Nolan Christopher Mills, who was suspected of stealing two cans of beer from the store, according to witness statements in charging documents filed with the court.

Responding officers were also advised the suspect was involved in a physical altercation with another individual over the alleged theft. Shortly thereafter the suspect was seen running with a woman as both headed north on Dixie Drive on foot. Witnesses described the man as wearing all black, and the woman was dressed in jeans and a tank top.

Officers were pointed in the direction of the couple, who could be seen in the distance walking on the sidewalk. The officer pulled up behind the couple, flashing his lights before approaching the pair.

The officer noted in the report that both individuals looked back at him, “standing near my patrol vehicle with red and blue lights on” and then continued walking away from police, adding that they both stated “they weren’t going to stop.”

The officer said Mills stated he “had mental health issues that were more important than stopping to talk with me.” After ordering both people to stop multiple times, the officer returned to his patrol vehicle and followed the pair to Mathis Park just as backup arrived.

Officers approached the man and were stopped by the woman, who got in between the officers and told them not to touch the suspect. When the officer pulled on the woman’s arm to move her out of the way, Mills allegedly attempted to lunge at the officer.

A struggle ensued between Mills and multiple officers for several minutes before he was taken into custody by police. Once he was in the back of the patrol vehicle, he began hitting his head against the caged barrier and kicking the windows to the point that one of them became damaged and would no longer function properly.

According to investigating officers, witnesses at the convenience store state they were attempting to stop Mills from fleeing when the physical altercation in front of the store took place.

One witness told police that during the scuffle, the suspect raised a can of beer “as if he was going to strike” the witness with it. When Mills was interviewed later, he allegedly admitted that he had raised the can of beer in his hand. He went on to say that he was “about to fight and hurt the male that was trying to stop him.” He said he decided not to strike the man when his wife yelled at him to stop.

Mills’ wife grabbed the cans of beer and handed them back to the witness in front of the store, and the pair left on foot before they were stopped by officers minutes later.

Officers later viewed the surveillance footage, which they say verified the witness account of the incident.

Mills was transported to Purgatory Correctional Facility and charged the following day with second-degree felony robbery, third-degree felony damage jails and multiple misdemeanors, including failing to stop at command of law enforcement, interfering with arresting officer and propelling bodily substance to face/eyes/mouth, a charge that was filed after the suspect allegedly spit in one of the officer’s faces during the struggle.

The suspect made an initial appearance in 5th District Court via video and remains in custody on $20,430 bail.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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