On his way into a high school basketball game in New Orleans Friday night, before he allegedly killed a police officer following a dispute over a mask, John Shallerhorn saw a man sitting in a car and robbed him, according to police.
He then walked into George Washington Carver High School. A school staffer wouldn’t let him into the gym because Shallerhorn refused put on a mask.
An argument ensued, then a fight. And then Martinus Mitchum, a Tulane University police officer and reserve deputy 2nd City Court constable, came over to intervene. Mitchum, 38, was working a security detail and tried to escort Shallerhorn out of the building. According to police, that’s when Shallerhorn pulled out his gun and shot Mitchum in the chest, killing him.
The account of Mitchum’s killing, a tragedy that resounded throughout the New Orleans education and law-enforcement communities, is spelled out in Criminal District Court documents that investigators filed Saturday. Shallerhorn, 35, was arrested on counts of first-degree murder of a police officer and armed robbery. He would face life imprisonment or the death penalty if convicted of murdering a police officer.
News of Mitchum’s slaying prompted an outpouring from people who knew him when he worked in local high schools.
Charles Carmouche, a local high school basketball standout who went on to play at the University of New Orleans, LSU and University of Memphis, wrote that he had known Mitchum for years. And Mitchum believed in him “when nobody did” and also checked in on him regularly, Carmouche said.
“We really lost a great dude,” Carmouche said.
Citing eyewitness accounts and surveillance video footage, police say Shallerhorn went to Carver’s campus in the 3000 block of Higgins Boulevard about 6:05 p.m. Friday. The Carver boys’ basketball team was hosting Warren Easton High School in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs.
The game drew a crowd to the school and in the parking lot, a man, 39, was sitting in a car. Shallerhorn allegedly approached and raised his shirt to show a handgun in his waistband, then demanded the man’s medallion chain. Police said that the mugging victim complied, and Shallerhorn went on his way.
The game was already underway when a school employee stopped Shallerhorn at the entrance to the gym because he was not wearing a mask. Carver has been known among high school basketball fans for a strict adherence to coronavirus rules — and without a mask to help prevent the spread of the virus, the staffer wasn’t going to let Shallerhorn in. Shallerhorn then allegedly hit the employee in the face.
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SOURCE: NOLA.com, Ramon Antonio Vargas