Suspect in New Kensington officer’s death arrested in Pittsburgh, held without bail
Rahmael Holt, the man accused of shooting and killing New Kensington police Officer Brian Shaw, was arrested Tuesday morning in Pittsburgh.
Holt, 29, of the Natrona neighborhood of Harrison, was charged with murder of a law enforcement officer, murder of the first degree, illegal firearm possession and carrying a firearm without a license. He was transported to New Kensington for arraignment, where District Judge Frank J. Pallone Jr. ordered him held without bail.
Update New Kensington Officer Shaw Shooting:Holt is in custody. A presser is tentatively scheduled for 10. Thanks to everyone who called in and to the citizens of the New Kensington area who supported law enforcement efforts during this difficult time.
— Troop A Public Information Officers (@PSPTroopAPIO) November 21, 2017
Westmoreland County Detective Ray Dupilka said a SWAT team arrested Holt at a home on Ladora Way in the Hazelwood section of Pittsburgh, along with several associates and family members — including his mother, Sherry Holt — who were being charged with hindering his apprehension during the several days he spent as a fugitive.
Police said Holt fled a traffic stop Friday night on Leishman Avenue in New Kensington and fatally shot Shaw, 25, after a foot pursuit. The alleged driver, Tavon Harper, 27, was arrested Sunday .
Visitation for Shaw began Monday , with his funeral services scheduled for 10 a.m. today at Mount St. Peter Church in New Kensington.
“We all knew we had to get him before Wednesday,” said Terry Kuhns, Frazer police chief and one of Shaw’s former supervisors.
Criminal complaints filed against Holt’s mother, Sherry Holt, and his cousin, Marcel Mason, begin to paint a picture of Holt’s movements during his days on the run.
Investigators first spoke with Sherry Holt on Sunday, according to the complaint, and she told police she’d had no contact with her son. Officers told her that she should call police if she had any contact with Holt.
Later Sunday, detectives from Westmoreland County questioned Sherry Holt again, and she told investigators that she had, in fact, seen her son — Friday night, after he shot and killed Shaw, according to the complaint.
Detectives told Sherry Holt that, to avoid obstruction charges, she needed to contact police with any further information.
When sheriff’s deputies and FBI agents questioned Sherry Holt a third time Monday, she allegedly changed her story again. She again said she hadn’t seen her son since the shooting, police wrote. Confronted with her story the day before, police said Sherry Holt admitted she’d seen her son Friday night.
Sherry Holt, arrested Monday night, is charged with hindering apprehension.
On Monday, investigators got a tip that Holt had been in touch with his cousin, Mason, and Mason’s girlfriend, Aysa Benson.
Sheriff’s deputies and FBI agents, knowing Mason was wanted for a probation violation, went to his home on Hinnerman Street in Duquesne, according to the criminal complaint.
Mason was arrested, and he and Benson were questioned by investigators. Both denied having seen Holt in weeks, according to the complaint.
Benson later confessed that Holt had been at her house Saturday afternoon, and she’d driven him to a bus stop in downtown Pittsburgh, police wrote in the complaint. Before he left her home, Benson said, he changed into new clothes given to him by Mason.
Benson is charged with two counts of hindering apprehension, and Mason faces one count of the same charge.
On Tuesday, police charged Taylor Mitchell, 18, and Lakita Caine, 40, both of Victoria Avenue, New Kensington, with hindering apprehension. Police say the women withheld information that they had seen Holt the night of Shaw’s murder and that Caine was aware that Holt had hidden the gun he used to kill Shaw at Caine’s home.
The gun was removed by another woman before police could search the house.
Chuck Biedka and Renatta Signorini contributed. Megan Guza and Matthew Santoni are Tribune-Review staff writers.