Reporting Meghan McCorkell
BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Fifteen years. That’s how long a Baltimore police officer will spend behind bars for shooting a Marine outside a nightclub. A judge handed down the sentence after emotional words from both families.
Meghan McCorkell was inside the courtroom and has reaction from the families.
Gahiji Tshamba served as a police officer for 17 years. But on Tuesday a judge told him when he pulled out his gun and shot an unarmed Marine, he wasn’t protecting anyone.
Tshamba, 37, was convicted of manslaughter and a handgun violation. On Tuesday, for the first time, he apologized to the family of Tyrone Brown, 32.
Twelve bullets. That’s how many shots Tshamba fired into Brown– a Marine.
“If you’re backing away with your hands in the air and you get shot 12 times,” said Sgt. Ken Johnson, Brown’s co-worker, “who’s going to protect us from people like that?”
On Tuesday, friends and family of Brown pleaded for justice.
“I just wish that throughout this entire trial that they would just tell the truth. Tell the truth,” said Chantay Kangalee, victim’s sister.
Kangalee was there when her brother got into an altercation with Tshamba—an off-duty Baltimore police officer—outside a Mount Vernon nightclub.
Tshamba used his service weapon to kill Brown– a father of two.
“No sentence is harsh enough. My kids don’t have a father,” said Loren Dean-Brown, victim’s wife.
Tshamba is sentenced to seven years for manslaughter and another 10 for a handgun violation. Two of those years are suspended.
“The defendant’s repeated lies even today about what happened and his attempts to minimize and justify his conduct exhibit a total lack of remorse,” said Gregg Bernstein, Baltimore City State’s Attorney.
Tshamba himself addressed the Brown family in court Tuesday telling them he’s sorry for the tragic event.
“There’s not a day that has gone by that I haven’t gone back to that night and wished things turned out differently,” he said.
Brown’s family says they don’t believe Tshamba’s apology was sincere, but say it’s time to get past this.
“In order for me to move on and I know my brother would want me to move on, I have to forgive him,” Kangalee said.
Defense attorney’s estimate that with good behavior Tshamba could be released in about nine years. They plan to appeal Tuesday’s sentence.
Tshamba won’t be eligible for parole for five years.