New Orleans, LA – Tulane University Police Department (TUPD) Corporal Martinus Mitchum was murdered in the line of duty while working security at a high school basketball game on Friday night.
The incident began at approximately 6 p.m. on Feb. 26, when 35-year-old John Shallerhorn allegedly robbed a 39-year-old male who was sitting in a vehicle in the parking lot outside George Washington Carver High School, WAGA reported.
According to police, Shallerhorn raised his shirt to brandish the firearm he was carrying, then ordered the victim to hand over his medallion chain.
The victim handed the chain over, at which point the armed suspect tried to make his way inside the school, WAGA reported.
A school employee noticed Shallerhorn was not wearing a mask and stopped him from entering the building, so Shallerhorn allegedly punched the employee in the face, The Times-Picayune reported.
Cpl. Mitchum, 38, ultimately broke up the fight and was leading Shallerhorn out of the building when the suspect allegedly pulled out his gun and shot the corporal twice, according to WAGA.
He then set the gun on the ground and was taken into custody, police said.
Cpl. Mitchum, who had been shot in the chest, was rushed to the hospital, were he succumbed to his wounds, according to WDSU.
Shallerhorn has been charged with first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer and armed robbery, WVUE reported.
He was previously arrested for indecent behavior with a juvenile in August of 2019, but the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office refused to pursue that case three months later.
“We are deeply saddened by the senseless and tragic death of TUPD Corporal Martinus Mitchum,” Tulane Police Chief Kirk Bouyelas said in a statement on Saturday morning, according to WAGA.
“Corporal Mitchum was a dedicated police professional who had a heart of service for the Tulane community.”
Chief Bouyelas said the TUPD is focused on providing support to the slain corporal’s family and fellow officers.
“We have reached out to his family and are providing support to his fellow officers during this difficult time,” he said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and with all the fellow officers with whom he served.”
In addition to his service with the TUPD, Cpl. Mitchum also worked as a reserve deputy for the Second City Court of New Orleans Constable Office, WAGA reported.
He previously served with the Loyola University Police Department, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
Cpl. Mitchum was an active member of local high school basketball and enjoyed serving as a mentor and coach for student athletes, his friends told WJHL.
“Mitch would keep kids that needed him around him and I always wondered why kids would gravitate to him, and that’s because he was always there for them,” Wanto Joseph told the news outlet. “Anyone who could put their life to do something like that is a hero to me.”
The fallen corporal’s longtime friend, Jason Bertrand, said he believes Cpl. Mitchum saved people’s lives on Friday night.
“There was kids in there, families in there,” Bertrand said of the crowd at the game. “What could you be going into a high [school] basketball [game] with a gun for?”
Cpl. Mitchum always knew he wanted to serve his community, Bertrand told WJHL.
“He would always say, ‘I want to be an officer; I want to be an officer,’” Bertrand recalled. “That was his calling, to protect and serve…He’s a hero to me. Kind of like a guardian, until the end.”
Honoring Second City Court of New Orleans, Louisiana, Constable's Office Reserve Deputy Constable Martinus Mitchum, died February 26, 2021, after he was shot while escorting a subject off property during a high school basketball playoff game. Honor him so he is not forgotten. pic.twitter.com/DcWxhAbzUr
— Steve Wightman (@stevewightman1) February 28, 2021
The Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office mourns the loss of the the deputy constable killed tonight in the line of duty. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and the 2nd City Court Constable at this difficult time.
— Sheriff Gusman (@SheriffGusman) February 27, 2021
I would like to send my love, prayers and deepest condolences to the family and friends of Cpl. Martinus Mitchum. Cpl. Martinus Mitchum was a Tulane University police officer and a reserve officer for the Second City Court. He was dedicated to protecting and serving his community pic.twitter.com/XKXVOSFSdQ
— Mayor LaToya Cantrell (@mayorcantrell) February 28, 2021
Another police officer killed in a senseless act of violence. @TulanePolice Cpl. Martinus Mitchum was providing security for a high school basketball game when an attendee got in a dispute with staff. When Mitchum stepped in, the man pulled out a gun and shot him in the chest. pic.twitter.com/3Uux89DYaJ
— Mike Chitwood (@SheriffChitwood) February 28, 2021
#HERO DOWN – Sadly @PoliceTulane Officer Martinus Mitchum, 38, was intervening in a dispute with a disorderly subject at a basketball playoff game when the subject shot & killed him.
Story: https://t.co/TbEk0oaM6b#OfficerDown #LODD #LawEnforcement #BackTheBlue #DefendThePolice pic.twitter.com/GTFYM5pLCx
— 💙#BackTheBlueLEOs🇺🇸 (@BackTheLEOs) February 27, 2021
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Tulane University Police Department Corporal Martinus Mitchum, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Corporal Martinus Mitchum, your life mattered.