Tulane University Police Officer Shot and Killed at Youth Basketball Game in New Orleans

February 28, 2021Joshua Skovlund
Corporal Martinus Mitchum Tulane University

Corporal Martinus Mitchum. Photo courtesy of Tulane University.

A Tulane University Police Department officer, also a reserve New Orleans 2nd City Court constable, was shot in the chest Saturday night and later died from his wounds, according to a New Orleans Police Department press release

The officer, later identified via an NOPD tweet as TUPD Cpl. Martinus Mitchum, was working security for a basketball game at George Washington Carver High School at the time of the shooting. A suspect identified via the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office and TUPD Chief Kirk Bouyelas as John Shallerhorn, 35, entered the school, where he engaged in a dispute with a school employee. 

Mitchum “tried to escort him out of the building,” and Shallerhorn opened fire, inflicting at least one gunshot wound to Mitchum’s chest, according to the NOPD. NOPD 5th District officers responded to a call for an “officer in danger” at approximately 6:15 p.m. local time and located Mitchum. Shallerhorn was immediately taken into custody without any further problems.

Emergency medical workers transported the wounded officer to a nearby hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. 

Shallerhorn was booked into the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office system Saturday at 5:14 a.m. local time for 1st-degree murder of a policeman and armed robbery.   

Bouyelas and Patrick Norton, the senior vice president, chief operating officer, and treasurer for Tulane University, issued a joint statement Saturday morning expressing their condolences. 

“We are deeply saddened by the senseless and tragic death of TUPD Corporal Martinus Mitchum. 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.”

Bouyelas responded to Coffee or Die Magazine via email and said that Mitchum had been with the TUPD for four years at the time of his death. Mitchum, originally from Detroit, Michigan, was 38 years old and had earned the rank of corporal and a field training position at the TUPD. The chief said that Mitchum had briefly worked as a police officer for the Loyola University Police Department before joining TUPD.

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Joshua Skovlund
Joshua Skovlund

Joshua Skovlund is a former staff writer for Coffee or Die. He covered the 75th anniversary of D-Day in France, multinational military exercises in Germany, and civil unrest during the 2020 riots in Minneapolis. Born and raised in small-town South Dakota, he grew up playing football and soccer before serving as a forward observer in the US Army. After leaving the service, he worked as a personal trainer while earning his paramedic license. After five years as in paramedicine, he transitioned to a career in multimedia journalism. Joshua is married with two children.

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