Louisiana police officer fatally shot over alleged mask dispute at high school basketball game

A Louisiana police officer providing security at a high school basketball game in New Orleans was shot and killed following a mask-related dispute, authorities said, and a suspect was immediately taken into custody.

Tulane University Police Officer Martinus Mitchum was shot Friday while working at George Washington Carver High School in the 3000 block of Higgins Boulevard, the New Orleans Police Department said.

John Shallerhorn, 35, was booked early Saturday for armed robbery and first-degree murder of a policeman, Fox 8 reported, citing Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office jail records.

After arriving at the high school Friday, Shallerhorn allegedly robbed a 39-year-old man sitting in a vehicle in the parking lot, raising his shirt to brandish a firearm and demanding the victim's medallion chain, police said.

The victim handed the chain to Shallerhorn, who then attempted to enter the school but was stopped for not wearing a mask.

Tulane University Police Department Corporal Martinus Mitchum was fatally shot on Feb. 26 while working security for a high school basketball game in New Orleans. (Tulane University)

A physical altercation ensued with a school employee, police said, before Mitchum intervened and escorted Shallerhorn out.

Shallerhorn, as he was leaving, allegedly shot the officer twice. He then placed the firearm on the ground and was taken into custody, police said.

Before Mitchum's name was released, New Orleans Police Superintendent Shaun Ferguson said the slaying victim was also a reserve officer for the 2nd City Court Constable.

John Shallerhorn, 35, is charged with armed robbery and first-degree murder of a policeman. (Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office)

"We are deeply saddened by the senseless and tragic death of TUPD Corporal Martinus Mitchum," Tulane Police Chief Kirk Bouyelas said in a later statement issued Saturday morning. "Corporal Mitchum was a dedicated police professional who had a heart of service for the Tulane community. We have reached out to his family and are providing support to his fellow officers during this difficult time. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and with all the fellow officers with whom he served."

Records show that Shallerhorn was previously arrested in August 2019 for alleged indecent behavior with a juvenile, but the Orleans Parish District Attorney's Office refused that charge in November 2019.

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