Officer down: Suspect identified in fatal shooting of cop who was moonlighting as a security guard

NEW ORLEANS, LA – The suspect who is allegedly behind the fatal shooting of a Tulane University Police officer moonlighting as a security guard at a high school basketball game, has been identified as 35-year-old John Shallerhorn. 

On the evening of February 26th, 38-year-old Officer Martinus Mitchum was working security during a high school basketball game at George Washington Carver High School. 

Police say that on said evening at approximately 6:30 p.m., Shallerhorn was attempting to enter the school’s gymnasium and had gotten into some sort of a verbal argument with a school staffer. 

Reports indicate that the argument stemmed from Shallerhorn being denied entry into the game due to him allegedly refusing to wear a face covering

Apparently, this verbal spat escalated into some sort of physical altercation between the suspect and the school employee – which is when Officer Mitchum had inserted himself into the matter, in order to break up the fight. 

While Officer Mitchum was escorting Shallerhorn off school grounds, police allege that Shallerhorn produced a firearm and shot Officer Mitchum in the chest – and then proceeded to place the firearm on the ground. 

John Shallerhorn - Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office
John Shallerhorn – Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office

Deputies from the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office just happened to be on site at the school as well, and reportedly took Shallerhorn into custody after the shooting. 

Unfortunately, Officer Mitchum was pronounced deceased after being rushed to a nearby hospital. 

Shallerhorn was booked into jail under one count of first-degree murder of a police officer and one count of armed robbery. However, it’s unclear what the details are regarding the armed robbery portion of the charges. 

The suspect in this case has had some brushes with the law in the past.

Back in 2013, Shallerhorn had plead guilty to disturbing the peace, and was given 30 days of probation for the offense. 

Records also reflect that Shallerhorn was arrested back in August of 2019 for indecent behavior with a juvenile – but prosecutors reportedly refused to pursue the case and dropped the charges three months after Shallerhorn’s arrest. 

Then, in December of 2019, Shallerhorn was charged with obscenity and had reportedly failed to show up for his arraignment date that was scheduled for June 23rd of 2020. 

This is a developing investigation. 

Please follow Law Enforcement Today as we continue to gather further updates on this case. 

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In other news related to recent fallen officers, a police officer in Florida recently passed away after being involved in a single-vehicle crash earlier in February. 

Here’s that recent report. 

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MIAMI, FL – A police officer in Florida has reportedly passed away after he was involved in a single-vehicle crash during the early morning hours of February 21st. 

Officials say that the crash was caused due to a rear tire blowout on the cruiser

According to officials, 43-year-old Miccosukee Police Officer Horacio Sebastián Dominguez was headed westbound on Interstate 75 at around 1:20 a.m., when a rear tire on his patrol vehicle blew out near Mile Marker 51.

Investigators say that the patrol vehicle flipped numerous times after Officer Dominguez had lost control of the cruiser.

During the crash, Officer Dominguez was reportedly ejected from the vehicle, with investigators saying that he wasn’t wearing his seatbelt at the time of the crash. 

Sadly, Officer Dominguez was pronounced dead at the scene. 

The Miccosukee Police Department gave the following statement after having confirmed the passing of Officer Dominguez: 

“Officer Horacio Sebastián Dominguez was a dedicated military veteran, marine and soldier, who served his country honorably and recently retired as a staff sergeant with the Army National Guard. He leaves behind a wife and young daughter.”

The Florida Highway Patrol is still investigating the circumstances surrounding the crash. 

The Sunshine State has been bearing a proverbial dark cloud as of late with regard to fallen officers killed in vehicular incidents. 

Merely four days prior to the death of Officer Dominguez, a Pinellas County Sheriff’s deputy was said to have been killed by a suspected drunk driver. 

Here’s that previous report. 

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PINELLAS COUNTY, FL – A 30-year-old Pinellas County Sheriff’s deputy was reportedly killed by a suspected drunk driver during the afternoon of February 17th, according to reports

Officials say that the suspected drunk driver, who is a convicted felon, was said to have been driving on a suspended license at the time of the incident. 

According to details provided by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Michael Magli was identified as the deputy killed during the February 17th incident. 

Officials say the series of events started when rescue crews had responded to reports of a man, later identified as 33-year-old Robert Holzaepfel, who’d fallen asleep behind the wheel of a Ford F-150 at a red light. 

When members of said crew had busted open Holzaepfel’s driver’s side window, he’d reportedly woke up and fled the area. 

Deputies who were on the scene attempted to stop Holzaepfel as he was reportedly driving down Keystone Road in a reckless manner. Deputy Magli had reportedly deployed some stop sticks to disable the suspect’s vehicle near Eastlake Road and Forelock Road. 

After said stop sticks were deployed, Holzaepfel was said to have lost control of the vehicle and wound up driving directly into Deputy Magli.

Unfortunately, the deputy was pronounced deceased at the scene. 

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri described the incident during a press briefing: 

“As Deputy Magli got out of his cruiser, he removed the stop sticks from the rear of the car and then moved to the road so he could deploy the stop sticks.”

“As he was moving to the west on the median, the suspect’s vehicle spun out, flipped over, and very very violently slammed into Deputy Magli and his cruiser.”

“The cruiser did about a 180-degree spinout, Deputy Magli was pinned under the car…and he is deceased.”

According to Sheriff Gualtieri, Holzaepfel was intoxicated during the incident. Reports also showcase that the suspect has 16 prior felony convictions and was driving with a suspended license during the incident. 

Holzaepfel was said to have been taken into custody, with charges against the suspect pending as of this writing. 

Deputy Magli leaves behind a wife and two young children with his passing. He was said to have been with the sheriff’s department for eight years, and is the first line of duty death for the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. 

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis shared his condolences on Twitter on the day Deputy Magli passed away: 

“Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family of Deputy Michael Magli, killed today in the line of duty. [Casey DeSantis] and I are keeping them in our thoughts and prayers, as well as the entire [Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office] family. His service and sacrifice will not be forgotten.”

Sheriff Gualtieri described the fallen deputy’s final acts before his death as a means to “protect people”: 

“It was a situation where the person needed to be stopped. Otherwise, he was going to hurt someone else.”

“Deputy Magli was trying to protect people. He was trying to keep others from being hurt by this guy who is driving like a maniac, drunk, reckless, going to hurt somebody so he stepped up like cops do.”

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Author: Gregory Hoyt


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