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 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.
Brown, struck at 1:30 a.m. by six bullets in the chest and groin, fell to the pavement and died 45 minutes later at Maryland Shock Trauma Center. The shooting by Gahiji A. Tshamba, a 15-year veteran of the city police force, has left his commanders publicly questioning whether the Eastern District patrol officer legitimately thought his life was in danger before firing.
Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi, using unusually harsh language, said witnesses confirmed that Brown "groped the woman," but he also stressed that homicide detectives have "not been able to find a concrete motive" as to why Tshamba fired his weapon.
Police commanders said privately that they were troubled by Saturday's shooting, which took place near a rear door of Club Hippo. It raised numerous questions, they said, including whether the officer had been drinking and was impaired when he fired his gun, and why he did not call for help from the many on-duty officers stationed nearby.
Brown's father — one of many relatives and friends who gathered Saturday at an East Baltimore rowhouse the victim shared with his mother — said the shooting was unjustifiable. "He was in a situation where an apology should have been accepted," Reginald Dargan said. "It's a young kid — gone for nothing. It don't make no sense."
A department spokesman said Tshamba has been involved in at least one prior police-involved shooting. In 1998, he shot a man in the back during a foot chase, according to The Baltimore Sun's archives