Martinus Mitchum loved three things.
He loved the church, where you can find him every Sunday and Thursday.
He loved children, though he had none of his own.
And he loved law enforcement, the career path he was so ambitious, and the one that ultimately led to his tragic death on Friday night.
Mitchum, a police officer at Tulane University and a reserve from 2nd City Court, was working on security details at a basketball game at George Washington Carver High School when he was shot and killed. Mitchum died after interfering in a fight between John Schallerhorn and a school administrator, and police say Schallerhorn confessed to police after shooting Mitchum.
“It hurts because he was one of the best,”
Clark, 26, was one of the people Mitchum always checked on. But Mitchum, or “Mitch,” as everyone called him, checked everyone.
The man accused of fatally shooting a police officer outside a high school basketball game did so after he got involved in
They were all “my son” or “my daughter” to him.
“We would always tease him and say that Mitch has more children than anyone else to be so young,” said Cheryl Iglin, Mitchum’s former colleague.
Both Mitchum and Iglin joined O. Perry Walker in 2006. He eventually became a family to her.
“Sometimes he would annoy me like a little brother, but he was so real and there was nothing he couldn’t do for these children,” Iglin said.
The Detroit-born Mitchum was working at the school when he first started. But this did not last long.
“We moved him to some other positions because of how well he handled the kids and his other skills,” said Tarans Davis, the school’s former athletic director. Mitchum was in charge of student data and enrollment, and also became director of basketball and football operations.
In the 2013-2014 school year, O. Perry Walker merged with Landry High School to form Landry-Walker and the school won the state basketball championship the first season. It was the first of three state titles in four years for the school.
A New Orleans police officer guarding a high school basketball game was shot dead Friday night by a man who was denied custody.
“We probably wouldn’t have the championships we have in basketball if it weren’t for Mitch,” Davis said. “He just has a heart for children’s well-being. He played a vital role in the organization and administrative parts of putting this program into what happened.”
Brian Gibson was the coach of these teams and said that they could not do it without Mitchum, who performed all administrative duties. He book hotels during trips, organize meals and perform all other behind-the-scenes duties.
“He was really responsible, making sure our whole business was in place,” Gibson said. “We were very successful and a lot of it was because I didn’t have to worry about these things. You think how many kids we managed to send to college. He worked directly with them to make sure they had what they needed. and they respected him for that. It was nothing but love with him and the children. He was expecting some things and he wanted to be done a certain way and I think the kids appreciated him for him. “
Because of his love for the church, many family members in his hometown of Detroit thought he would grow up and become a preacher. But law enforcement was his dream, so he pursued it. He graduated from the main reserve police academy of the Slidell Police Department in 2014. He also spent time as an officer at Loyola University. “(Mitchum) was a dedicated police professional who had a heart of service for the Tulane community,” Tulane officials said in a statement Saturday.
Mitchum, who was in uniform at the time of the shooting, was taken to University Medical Center by paramedics and soon after was pronounced dead.
“The thing I was most proud of was seeing the escort he got to the hospital,” Iglin said of police clearing the way for the ambulance in the interstate area. “He deserves it. If you could choose how you could go, that would probably be what Mitch would choose with the guards. He liked to protect people, like the kids who were in this gym. We don’t know what could have happened. if that man had entered the gym with a gun. “
The gunsmith was denied entry into a basketball game, argued with staff, pulled a weapon
Mitchum often publicly comments on the state of law enforcement in the country. Just two days before his death, he wrote on Twitter that he supported demands for police officers to carry body cameras and for favored officers to be deserted if they did a poor job or were proven to be racist.
On Thursday, he retweeted a statement from Vice President Kamala Harris in support of the George Floyd Police Justice Act, which is named after the Minneapolis police officer killed in 2020 and aims to rework qualified immunity for law enforcement, among other things. .
In their own statement, Carver officials called Mitchum a “gadget” for school sports and noted how he sacrificed his life to fulfill his duty.
“With a heavy heart … (that) we honor his memory,” Carver said in a statement.
“It’s a tragic situation for … anyone who’s had to go through this,” said Easton Chairman of the Board David Garland.
Law reporters Ramon Antonio Vargas and Della Hassel contributed to the report.