Officer Faces First-Degree Murder After Shooting Man Outside Club

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A Baltimore police officer has been charged with first-degree murder in the shooting of an unarmed man outside of a nightclub.

Officer Gahiji A. Tshamba, 36, was off-duty when Tyrone Brown, a former Marine from East Baltimore, approached Tshamba’s female companion and began touching her inappropriately, according to witnesses. Tshamba’s attorney, Adam Sean Cohen, said that Brown, 32, was touching the woman on her genitals and buttocks. Other witness, including Brown’s sister, called the contact playful, and say that Brown apologized.

Tshamba grew angry, drew his weapon, and dared Brown to “do it again.” He identified himself as a police officer and then began shooting, firing a total of 13 rounds from his service weapon. Brown was shot 12 times.

Several witnesses, including some who were accompanying Brown as well as two independent witnesses, have said that Brown had his hands in the air as Tshamba fired the weapon.

Prosecutors issued a warrant for Tshamba’s arrest the next afternoon, hoping to arrange a surrender that night, but Tshamba remained at large for more than 24 hours. Police mobilized dozens of officers to track him down,and printed and distributed fliers in some of Baltimore’s busiest neighborhoods.

Tshamba turned himself in over the weekend. During a court appearance, District Court Judge Ronald A. Karasic ordered the decorated veteran held without bond and told him to turn over his passport and any firearms in his possession.

Cohen defended his client, saying that he feared for his life and was simply “doing what he had to do.”

“If one shot doesn’t work, if two shots don’t work … you fire until the threat is gone,” said Cohen, speaking to reporters outside Central Booking.

Tshamba had previously received commendations for his work as a police officer, including once having saved a child who was being held at knifepoint. Yet in another instance, he shot and wounded a man after getting into an argument while drunk.

The shooting was later ruled justified, but Tshamba was suspended from the force for a week because of the intoxication. He was also involved in a car accident the following year, despite not having insurance or a valid registration.

 

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