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Murder Or Self-Defense? Officer’s Trial To Resume Next Week

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WJZ general assignment reporter Mike Hellgren came to Maryland's News...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Was it self-defense or a senseless murder? That’s what a judge must decide as he hears more dramatic testimony in the trial of Officer Gahiji Tshamba.

Mike Hellgren has the latest on this high-profile case.

The officer’s lawyer says at this point it’s unclear whether Tshamba will take the stand in his own defense.

The first image has been publicly released of the gun used to shoot unarmed Marine Tyrone Brown outside a nightclub.  It’s a shooting Officer Tshamba claims was self-defense, not murder.

On Thursday, witness Trillane Hill testified he has an unobstructed view of the shooting. He told the judge that Brown and Tshamba scuffled.  Then he said Tshamba looked scared as he pulled out his gun, but Brown immediately moved back with his hands in the air, while Tshamba–who was off duty at the time–pulled the trigger over and over.

“It was senseless,” said the victim’s sister Cheantay Kangalee. “It was wrong. And he did nothing wrong. Nothing. How can you call yourself a man of law and take a person’s life the way he did?”

Hill testified that Tshamba shot Brown twice, then he slumped to the side. Then there was a pause before continuous gunfire, and Brown fell to the ground. His sister rushed to his side.

“It was a tragic situation of which there was no necessity and it was uncalled for,” said Dwight Pettit, Brown family lawyer.

The assistant examiner testified that Brown’s body was riddled with bullets, that two of the shots were fired from a distance of just two inches away. Brown was hit in the liver, stomach, spleen, neck and thigh, and the gun was just inches away of pressing against his skin as it fired.

Brown’s alcohol level was almost triple the limit for legal drunkenness at .22 percent. Tshamba refused a breathalyzer test.

And according to the medical examiner, medical tests could not determine whether Brown was going toward or away from the weapon when he was shot.

The trial is expected to resume next week.

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