La. Police Officer Was Allegedly Killed by Man Who Refused to Wear Mask at School Basketball Game

A Tulane University police officer was fatally shot Friday night while providing security during a high school basketball game in New Orleans — and investigators allege his killer had been denied entry to the event moments before.

PEOPLE confirms with police John Shallerhorn, 35, was prohibited from entering the George Washington Carver High School gym Friday evening because he refused to wear a face covering.

Shallerhorn is accused of killing Martinus Mitchum, 38.

Several gunshots rang out toward the end of the game between George Washington Carver High School and Warren Easton Charter High School, and Mitchum, a Tulane University officer who was also a reserve deputy constable, was struck in the chest.

Mitchum died at the scene.

According to police, Mitchum interrupted an argument between Shallerhorn and a school staffer who would not let him into the gym to watch the game.

Shallerhorn was allegedly not wearing a mask, and Mitchum tried to deescalate the situation.

As they interacted outside the school, Shallerhorn allegedly pulled out a gun and fatally shot Mitchum.

In a statement, the Tulane University Police Department said Mitchum "was a dedicated police professional who had a heart of service for the Tulane community."

Longtime friend Jason Bertrand told WJHL the slain officer had always wanted to protect and serve.

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"He's a hero to me. Kind of like a guardian, until the end," Bertrand said. "Anyone who could put their life to do something like that is a hero to me."

Shallerhorn has been charged with first-degree murder of a police officer.

He is being held without bail and has yet to enter a plea to the charge.

It was unclear if he was represented by an attorney who could comment on the allegations.

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