A confrontation over a mask policy at a high school basketball game in New Orleans turned violent Saturday.
John Shallerhorn, 35, attempted to enter a playoff game where the George Washington Carver High School basketball team held a sizable lead. Shallerhorn was stopped by a staffer because he wasn’t wearing a mask.
Shallerhorn punched the staffer and Tulane University police officer, Martinus Mitchum, who was working security at the event intervened. That’s when Shallerhorn pulled a gun and fatally shot Mitchum, 38, in the chest.
Police quickly arrest Shallerhorn and charged him with multiple felonies, including murder of a police officer. Shallerhorn had also robbed someone outside the game before entering. He would later confess and is now being held without bail.
The killing shocked the Carver High and Tulane communities.
“I feel like Mitch saved lives last night because we don’t know what that gentleman really was coming in there to do,” Jason Bertrand, a friend, told WJTV. “There was kids in there, families in there. What could you be going into a high basketball with a gun?”
Carver was hosting Warren Easton High School in the first round of the playoffs.
Shallerhorn had flashed a gun while robbing an unidentified man in the parking lot. He then attempted to enter the building where a staffer was checking fans’ temperatures at the door and making sure they had masks. He punched the staffer after refusing to put on a mask and then shot Mitchum.
Tulane University called Mitchum a “a dedicated police professional who had a heart for service.”
“They killed somebody that helped so many African American students come out of there and become something,” Lyn Clark, a former high school football player at a school where Mitchum worked, told nola.com. “How do you take the life of someone who helped the lives of so many people who they said weren’t going to be anything?”