Cop accused of shooting dead Iraq vet for ‘making advances’ on his companion

(RAW STORY)   Accused officer shot someone before

A Baltimore man is dead after he “made advances” on a woman whose male companion, an off-duty police officer, responded by shooting the man six times, news reports say.

According to a report from Baltimore police, the police officer may have fired 13 times at 32-year-old Tyrone Brown, a Marine and four-year veteran of the Iraq war, hitting Brown six times in the chest.

The Baltimore Sun’s Crime Beat blog reports that Baltimore City Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III has ordered senior commanders to oversee the investigation into the incident.

The Baltimore Sun identifies the shooter as “Gahiji A. Tshamba, a 15-year veteran of the city police force,” and describes the altercation like this:

Tyrone Brown, a 32-year-old former Marine from East Baltimore, was out with his sister and her friend enjoying the Mount Vernon club scene early Saturday when he may have taken one of his trademark jokes too far. Glancing at a woman in an alley off of East Eager Street, he put his hands on her behind.

Police said the woman’s companion, an off-duty Baltimore police officer, got into an argument and physical confrontation with Brown after they left the club Eden’s Lounge. His sister said there was no fight, and that her brother apologized and tried to walk away. What happened next is not in dispute — the officer pulled out his department issued Glock handgun and fired at the unarmed Brown 13 times from just a few feet away.

A police spokesman said Tshamba refused to make a statement to police and “declined to submit to a breath test to determine whether he had been drinking alcohol or how much he had consumed.”

The Sun notes that the incident “has left [Tshamba’s] commanders publicly questioning whether the Eastern District patrol officer legitimately thought his life was in danger before firing.”

Baltimore officers are allowed to carry their department-issued handguns while off duty, and it is up to their own judgment to determine whether they should be armed inside a bar, or even while drinking, notes the Crime Beat blog.

“Given the circumstances, you know, it’s a nightclub. There’s a possibility of alcohol being involved,” said Baltimore City Police spokesman Anthony Gugliemi, as quoted by CBS affiliate WJZ. “The police commissioner has asked the deputy commissioner and the head of homicide to be personally involved in this investigation.”

The Sun also reports that Tshamba had shot someone before: In 1998, he shot a suspect in the back during a foot chase. Tshamba had mistakenly thought the suspect had a gun and had fired on him. The outcome of that police investigation more than a decade ago “could not be learned on Saturday,” the Sun reported.

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