Man arrested in cop killing; mom accused of helping him flee

The Associated Press

NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. — Tips from informants helped lead law enforcement to the man accused of fatally shooting a rookie police officer, and the suspect’s mother is accused of helping him evade arrest during a four-day manhunt, officials said Tuesday.

Westmoreland County Detective Ray Duplika, left, and New Kensington Police Chief Jim Klein, right, escort suspect Rahmael Sal Holt, as they arrive for a hearing, Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017, in New Kensington, Pa. Holt is accused of killing New Kensington police officer Brian Shaw during a traffic stop Friday night. (Darrell Sapp/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP)

A SWAT team arrested Rahmael Sal Holt, 29, at a Pittsburgh home early Tuesday after a four-day manhunt, officials said. He is accused of killing New Kensington Officer Brian Shaw during a traffic stop Friday night.

“We are very, very thankful that he was taken into custody and that no one else was injured,” New Kensington Police Chief Jim Klein said, adding the department feels “a small sense of relief.”

Several friends and family members — including Holt’s mother, Sherry Holt — have been charged with hindering his apprehension during the days he spent as a fugitive.

Holt was arraigned Tuesday on charges including murder of a law enforcement officer and was being held without bail at the Westmoreland County Prison. During his arraignment, Holt said he wanted to hire a private attorney. No attorney information is listed in online court documents.

Holt refused to answer reporters’ questions as he left the courthouse.

At about 8 p.m. Friday, Shaw tried to pull over a Jeep Cherokee driven by Tavon Jamere Harper for a minor traffic violation, Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck said.

Holt fled the vehicle on foot, and Shaw took off after him toward a parking lot.

Peck said Shaw, who was wearing a bullet-proof vest, was shot multiple times in the parking lot after the suspect fired at least six shots. It doesn’t appear that Shaw fired back, he said.

Investigators first spoke with Holt’s mother on Sunday, according to a criminal complaint filed against her, and she told police she’d had no contact with her son.

Later Sunday, county detectives questioned her and she told them that she saw her son Friday night, after he shot and killed Shaw, according to the complaint. The complaint alleges she changed her story again on Monday,

The 47-year-old mother was arrested Monday night.

Holt’s cousin, Marcel Mason, and the cousin’s girlfriend, Aysa Benson, face similar charges. Benson told investigators Holt showed up at their Duquesne house Saturday afternoon and she took him to a bus stop after he changed into clothes given to him by Mason, according to the complaint.

Harper, the Jeep’s driver, was arrested Sunday on drug and fleeing charges.

Hundreds of friends, family members and officers waited in line for hours Monday night for Shaw’s viewing. Visitation resumed Tuesday, and a funeral Mass was planned for Wednesday.

Officers from different towns and municipalities had pitched in on the manhunt so the town’s police department could grieve Shaw’s death and attend services.

“This case would not be where it is at today without assistance from other departments,” Peck said.