The New Mexico State Police will investigate the shooting death of a black Iraq War veteran by his Albuquerque neighbor after complaints by civil rights groups, the Associated Press reports. The agency said it would conduct a thorough review into the March 2013 death of Jonathan Mitchell. Authorities said Mitchell, 24, was fatally shot by neighbor Donnie Pearson during what Pearson described as an exchange of gunfire. Albuquerque chapters of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference have disputed Pearson’s version and said he instigated the confrontation. They suggested race may have been a factor and have compared it to the shooting death of Florida teenager, Trayvon Martin.
Mitchell’s family contends that Pearson drove up to Mitchell’s garage and shot him in his front yard. “There are a lot of similarities with the Trayvon Martin,” Albuquerque NAACP president Harold Bailey said. “Pearson shouldn’t have been there in the first place, like Zimmerman.” Video taken from an Albuquerque police helicopter showed Mitchell firing first in an exchange of gunfire with Pearson but also revealed that Pearson’s SUV drove up to Mitchell’s garage. Albuquerque police said investigators didn’t have probable cause to charge Pearson.