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

Written by The Associated Press | Nov 21, 2017 12:44 PM
police_officer_brian_shaw.jpg

The electronic sign for Mount Saint Peter Church displays an image of New Kensington Police Officer Brian Shaw on Monday, Nov. 20, 2017, in New Kensington, Pa. The funeral for Shaw, who was shot and killed after a traffic stop on Friday, will be held at the church on Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)


(New Kensington) -- 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.

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.

An earlier story appears below. 

(New Kensington) -- Tips from informants have led authorities to a home in western Pennsylvania where they arrested a man accused of fatally shooting a rookie police officer during a traffic stop.

Twenty-nine-year old Rahmael Sal Holt has been arraigned on charges including the murder of a law enforcement officer.

He is accused of killing New Kensington Officer Brian Shaw on Friday night.

Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck says Shaw was hit multiple times after the suspect fired at least six shots.

Holt was arrested early this morning and is being held without bail at the Westmoreland County Prison.

Court documents show several friends and relatives -- including Holt's mother -- have been arrested for hindering his apprehension.

Police Chief Jim Klein says he feels a small sense of relief that the shooter is in custody and is grateful no one else was injured.

No attorney information is listed.

Rahmael Sal Holt.jpg

This undated photo provided by the Pennsylvania State Police shows Rahmael Sal Holt. Authorities are seeking Holt as a suspect in the fatal shooting of a rookie police officer on Friday, Nov. 17, 2017. (Pennsylvania State Police via AP)

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