Horrific and senseless killings continue in America on top of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has caused the deaths of more than half a million people in this country.
A 38-year-old police officer in New Orleans was shot and killed over the weekend by a man who was apparently incensed at being asked to wear a mask while at a high school basketball game.
Martinus Mitchum, a Tulane University police officer, was killed on Friday night while working security at George Washington Carver High School, reports NOLA.com.
Charged with first-degree murder in Mitchum’s death is John Shallerhorn, a 35-year-old who police say pulled a gun and punched an employee in the face after he was refused entry into the school’s gym without a mask.
Mitchum, who worked at Carver games regularly, had come over to help the employee and get Shallerhorn out of the building. After they stepped outside, Shallerhorn pulled out the gun and shot Mitchum twice, police said.
Paramedics brought Mitchum, who was in uniform, to University Medical Center. Doctors pronounced him dead soon after.
Police said Shallerhorn placed his gun down on a nearby set of stairs immediately after shooting Mitchum and surrendered to Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies who were also at the school. A homicide detective later interviewed Shallerhorn at New Orleans police headquarters, and Shallerhorn admitted he shot Mitchum, police assert in court documents.
Shallerhorn, who reportedly also robbed a man of his chain before the shooting, could receive a life sentence or the death penalty if he is found guilty of killing the police officer. He’s being held without bail on the murder charge but asked the court to double the $100,000 bail set for his armed robbery charge, “So they don’t come get me for real,” according to NOLA.com.
It’s a strange statement, as is the act of ending a beloved community member’s life, ostensibly over what at this point is a predictable expectation during the time of COVID—wearing a mask.
“They killed somebody that helped so many African American students come out of there and become something. He always supported everything,” Lyn Clark, a former student of a high school where Mitchum once 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?”