Police in Baltimore are investigating the shooting death of an unarmed Marine by an off-duty cop. The officer shot at the Marine 13 times at close range, connecting with six bullets.
It happened early Saturday morning outside a nightclub. Police say officer Gahji Tshamba shot Tyrone Brown because Brown made advances towards a woman Tshamba was with.
"After the advances, the officer and the individual exchanged words," police spokesman Anthony Gugliemi said. "There was an argument, and the altercation turned physical. At that point, the officer pulled out his service weapon and fired multiple shots at our victim."
Brown's sister, La-Belle Scott, who was with her brother at the time of the shooting, said such aggressive behavior on the part of the officer was not necessary.
"There was absolutely no physical contact," Scott said. "The supposed officer was not in any harm whatsoever. He (Brown) had his hands up to show he didn't have no weapons or anything."
Scott said her brother tried to diffuse the situation.
"My brother tried to approach him, saying, 'Calm down, calm down. All this is uncalled for.' And, the next thing you know, several shots rang out. It was maybe eight or nine shots that rang out, and then, all I know is my brother is telling me, 'I'm shot,'" Scott said.
Tshamba has a history of off-duty shootings involving alcohol. Gugliemi said Tshamba shot a man in the foot after a confrontation while off-duty in 2005. The shooting was found to be justified, but Tshamba was disciplined because he was under the influence of alcohol.
Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III has ordered his senior commanders to oversee the investigation. They are looking into whether alcohol was a factor this time. Tshamba refused to take a breathalyzer test.
The state's attorney's office will review the evidence and decide whether to file charges, which is standard in these cases.
Brown was a 32-year-old Marine who had served two tours in Iraq.