Suspect in shooting death of New Kensington police officer heading to trial

Suspect in shooting death of New Kensington police officer heading to trial

NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. — Rahmael Holt, the man accused of killing New Kensington police Officer Brian Shaw during an attempted traffic stop, will go to trial after all charges against him were held for court Wednesday.

Holt's defense attorney claims police have the wrong man and he says the only evidence they have is testimony from a convicted felon who lied to police twice.

STORY: What we know about Rahmael Sal Holt

Content Continues Below

His longtime friend, Tavon Harper, testified against Holt Wednesday, saying he had just sold marijuana to Holt when a police car tried to pull them over on Leishman Avenue in New Kensington on Nov. 17.

Investigators said Harper was the driver of the Jeep and never stopped. Harper testified Holt wanted to hide a gun in his car, but he told him no, because he had just been released from prison for robbery.


Harper then testified Holt opened the door as the car was moving and took off. According to Harper's testimony, he saw the officer running after Holt, but didn't hear the gunshots.

Holt fired multiple shots, hitting and killing Shaw, police said.

Westmoreland County Detective Ray Dupilka testified Wednesday that the shooting was also captured by a residential surveillance camera, but he said he hadn't watched the video close enough to determine if it's a clear image of Holt.

Holt's attorney questioned whether they could identify the shooter on video and he says the only testimony they have is from Harper, who initially lied to police and told them his wife was driving and had given a ride to a man named Reese.

The night of the shooting, Shaw contacted the 911 center before attempting to initiate the traffic stop and then notified them that Holt was running, the complaint said. Within moments, Shaw reported that shots were fired and he was hit.

Shaw was taken to Allegheny Valley Hospital, where he died.

"A my client didn't do this and B they don't have any information at all except from a convicted felon who admitted on the stand that he's a liar, that it was my client," Holt's attorney Justin Ketchel said.

Harper is charged with drug violations and fleeing and eluding police.

After testifying against Holt, he waived his case to court.

The murder weapon still has not been found.

Holt's mother, Sherry Holt, and cousin, Marcel Mason, are facing charges of hindering the apprehension.