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Sep 10, 2019 4:43 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Riverhead Woman Faces Two Felony Counts After Police Said She Shot Boyfriend In Flanders

Sep 10, 2019 4:43 PM

A Riverhead mother faces two felony charges after police said she shot her estranged boyfriend three times during a domestic dispute last Thursday night, September 5, in Flanders and fled the area with her 3-year-old child.

Police said Patchita Tennant, 42, who works at the CVS on Pantigo Road in East Hampton, got into a dispute with her boyfriend, Andrew Mitchell, 46, of Flanders, at his home on Pleasure Drive on Thursday night, resulting in Mr. Mitchell being shot three times.

According to her attorney, Austin Manghan of Riverhead, Ms. Tennant had suffered years of abuse from Mr. Mitchell and acted in self-defense the night of the shooting after being threatened by her boyfriend with the gun, which belonged to him, according to Mr. Manghan.

Police became aware of the incident at approximately 8:22 p.m., and when emergency crews arrived, they found Mr. Mitchell conscious and alert. He was taken by Suffolk County medevac helicopter to Stony Brook University Hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.

Mr. Mitchell was able to tell the responding officers that Ms. Tennant, the mother of their child, had shot him, police said.

Ms. Tennant fled with their daughter, and a search began for both. Authorities issued an Amber Alert for the missing girl the following day.

Lieutenant Susan Ralph of the Southampton Town Police Department said during a press conference on Friday that the department waited nearly 11 hours after the incident to issue the Amber Alert to allow officers to canvass every place Ms. Tennant and her daughter might be.

The Amber Alert was canceled two and a half hours after it was issued, when the child was found. Lt. Ralph said the girl was dropped off with a relative of Ms. Tennant sometime during the night.

“This just proves that Amber Alerts are very beneficial, and through the use of social media, the police department, as well as putting it out through the media, this has been a successful conclusion, and we did find the child safe,” she said.

Lt. Ralph also said the gray Hyundai Santa Fe Ms. Tennant was driving had been located, but Ms. Tennant had not been found. She turned herself in to police before 1 p.m. on Friday.

Mr. Manghan said on Tuesday that he spoke with his client for nearly two hours before she turned herself in. During that time, he said, Ms. Tennant recounted the events from that night.

According to Mr. Manghan, Ms. Tennant went to a house owned by her and Mr. Mitchell to get clothes for her daughter, who was staying at a relative’s house.

Mr. Mitchell was shaving as the two argued, Mr. Manghan said, when Mr. Mitchell walked over to a walk-in closet and grabbed a .38-caliber handgun and threatened her with it. Ms. Tennant wrestled with Mr. Mitchell over the gun, and when she got control of it, she shot Mr. Mitchell, according to Mr. Manghan.

He added that his understanding is that Ms. Tennant dropped the gun and tried to get away as quickly as she could, when Mr. Mitchell got hold of the gun and tried to fire it at her — but the chamber was empty.

“Ultimately, what it looks like to me … is that this is a self-defense situation,” Mr. Manghan said. “This is a woman who has been subjected to domestic violence for quite a long time. I don’t think she was contemplating a reason for doing this. She was in a fight for her life, essentially.”

Mr. Manghan did not offer specifics about the domestic abuse, noting that he had only just met Ms. Tennant. When they spoke, his mission was to prepare Ms. Tennant for the arraignment process, because up until this incident, he said, she had never been in trouble with the law.

“She has a very clean background and really good resume in terms of work, so this is monumental,” Mr. Manghan said. “The whole thing is just a shock for her. I was trying to get her prepared as best as I could for that.”

People in East Hampton who encountered Ms. Tennant at the CVS Pharmacy she worked at, Mr. Mangan added, were shocked to find out that she shot her boyfriend, based on who they knew her to be. Ms. Tennant has worked at the CVS for nearly 15 years, both as a store clerk and a manager.

Ms. Tennant was charged with first-degree assault and criminal use of a firearm, both felonies. She was arraigned in Southampton Town Justice Court on Saturday morning in front of Justice Barbara Wilson, and pleaded not guilty.

During the arraignment, Mr. Manghan said, two orders of protection were issued to Ms. Tennant: one to stay away from Mr. Mitchell, and the other to stay away from their daughter.

She was remanded to the Suffolk County Jail in Riverside and held in lieu of $125,000 cash bail for each count — a total of $250,000 — or $250,000 bond for each count, totaling $500,000.

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