Suspected Killer Caught in Shooting Death of New Kensington Police Officer

November 21, 2017 Updated: November 21, 2017

After a three-day manhunt by multiple law enforcement agencies, the man accused of fatally shooting a police officer during a traffic stop near Pittsburgh is now in custody.

Rahmael Sal Holt, 29, was apprehended shortly before 5 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 21, on Ladora Way in the Hazelwood section of Pittsburgh, reported the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.

Later that morning Holt was taken to his arraignment in New Kensington. According to WTAE. The handcuffs used on Holt belonged to slain patrolman Brian Shaw.

Holt’s mother, Sherry Holt, 47, has been charged with hindering apprehension for failing to report contact with her son to police. The suspect’scousin, Mason, 29, and Mason’s girlfriend, Aysa Benson, 29, have been taken into custody and charged with hindering apprehension according to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.

Holt is accused of the shooting death of Officer Brian Shaw, 25, during a foot chase that followed a traffic stop around 8 p.m. Friday, Nov.17,  in New Kensington, about 18 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

According to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Shaw attempted a traffic stop of a vehicle with two individuals inside: Tavon Harper, the driver, and Holt, the passenger. At some point during the traffic stop attempt, Holt allegedly bolted from the vehicle, and Harper drove away.

Shaw set off on foot in pursuit of Holt, who at some point fired multiple shots, hitting the patrolman at least once in the chest, said the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. Shaw was transported to Allegheny Valley Hospital in Natrona Heights and was pronounced dead.

The manhunt for Holt was conducted by multiple law enforcement agencies, including an FBI task force, the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office, and the U.S. Marshals Service. An interagency reward was announced on Saturday, Nov. 18, to help authorities locate the suspect.

According to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, when police questioned Benson, she said that Holt had been at her house Saturday, Nov. 18. Benson also admitted that she had taken Holt to a bus stop in Pittsburgh and that he had changed into clothes given to him by Mason.

Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck told the Pittsburgh Post Gazette that he was notified at about 5 a.m. that Holt has been apprehended.

“This could have only been brought about as a result of the joint effort of so many law enforcement agencies who really worked relentlessly to determine who the killer was and then make every possible effort to apprehend him,” Peck told the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.

It is unknown whether the authorities will be seeking the death penalty against Holt, who has been charged with first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer and gun offenses.

Peck also told the Pittsburgh Post Gazette that it is unclear why the bulletproof vest Shaw was apparently wearing did not protect him.

Trevor Harper was arrested on Monday, Nov. 20, and has been charged with fleeing or attempting to elude and two drug offenses, reported the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.

Authorities had offered a reward of $55,000 for information leading to arrests in the case.

“Thanks to everyone who called in and to the citizens of the New Kensington area who supported law enforcement efforts during this difficult time,” state police said Tuesday morning, according to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.

A funeral Mass for officer Brian Shaw will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 22 at the Mount St. Peter Church in New Kensington.

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