Police Officer Killed at New Orleans High School Basketball Game
- By Matt Jones
- March 01, 2021
A police officer was shot and killed following a confrontation at a high school basketball game on Friday, Feb. 26, in New Orleans, La.
Cpl. Martinus Mitchum, 38, was working security for the George Washington Carver High School basketball team’s playoff game. According to the Washington Post, 35-year-old John Shallerhorn attempted to make his way past a staffer checking temperatures and making sure attendees were wearing masks. When the staffer tried to block him for not wearing a mask, Shallerhorn punched the staffer, according to reports.
Mitchum saw the altercation and rushed to assist. Police say that Shallerhorn withdrew a gun and shot Mitchum in the chest. The officer died later that night at University Medical Center New Orleans.
Shallerhorn was arrested and charged with “multiple felonies,” according to the Washington Post, including murder of a police officer. Police say he has confessed to the murder and is being held without bail. According to a criminal complaint reviewed by nola.com, Shallerhorn also mugged an unidentified man in the parking lot before attempting to enter the game.
Mitchum served as a Tulane University police officer and as a reserve officer for the Second City Court of New Orleans, according to New Orleans Police Superintendent Shaun Ferguson. “Corporal Mitchum was a dedicated police professional who had a heart of service for the Tulane community,” said a joint statement released by Tulane University and the police department. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and with all the fellow officers with whom he served.”
Mitchum worked with several high schools in the area and made an impact wherever he stayed. At L.B. Landry High School, he became “something of a manager and mentor for the basketball team, booking hotels and food and traveling with the squad as it won a state championship.” Landry’s former athletic director Tarance Davis credits the school’s championships to Mitchum’s guidance and support.
Likewise, school officials at George Washington Carver High School called him a “fixture” at the team’s games.
“He always had a good spirit,” said Solomon Washington, a Carver basketball player. “He was fun to be around. It’s tragic that it happened to him.”