State Watch

Man shot security guard at high school basketball game during argument over wearing mask

A police officer working as a security guard for a high school basketball game in New Orleans was shot and killed after trying to stop a man who tried to enter a gymnasium without a mask. 

Tulane University police officer Martinus Mitchum, 38, was working security during a George Washington Carver High School basketball game on Saturday when police say John Shallerhorn attempted to enter the gym midway through the first half, according to a report by ABC News

Because Shallerhorn was not wearing a mask, a staffer attempted to stop him. After Shallerhorn allegedly punched the staffer, Mitchum responded to the scene to attempt to break up the altercation. 

Police said Shallerhorn pulled a gun and shot Mitchum, killing him, according to The Washington Post

Shallerhorn was arrested at the scene and has been charged with multiple felonies including first-degree murder, according to NOLA.com. Police believe Shallerhorn had robbed someone outside of the gymnasium before attempting to enter the indoor arena. 

Shallerhorn admitted to shooting Mitchum, police said. 

“I feel like Mitch saved lives last night because we don’t know what that gentleman really was coming in there to do,” a friend of Mitchum told local television station WJTV. “There was kids in there, families in there. What could you be going into a high basketball with a gun?”

There have been a number of violent incidents arising from fights over mask mandates used to stop the spread of the coronavirus. 

A man in Michigan was reportedly stabbed after he was confronted by a masked attacker for not wearing a face covering in July. In May, a man in Illinois reportedly shoved a gas station clerk who asked him not to enter the store without a face covering. 

Most states have kept mandates dictating mass mask usage in place as the coronavirus pandemic enters its second year. 

Public health officials with the Biden administration on Monday raised concerns about the lifting of restrictions, noting that while cases have fallen, they are plateauing at a high level. New variants of the COVID-19 disease have added to the worries.

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