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Timeline of shooting death of Officer Brian Shaw, arrest and trial of suspect Rahmael Holt

PITTSBURGH — Rahmael Sal Holt, who is suspected in the shooting and killing New Kensington police Officer Brian Shaw, is in custody after a days-long manhunt, officials said.

After Holt was taken into custody, Channel 11 learned more about the timeline leading up to Holt's arrest.

NOV. 17, 2017
  • At 8 p.m., Shaw conducts a traffic stop in the 1200 block of Leishman Avenue.  Investigators said before he could stop the SUV, a man jumped out of the car before it stopped and began running. The person who ran from the car was captured on surveillance video shooting Shaw.
  • At 8:50 p.m., Shaw is transported to Allegheny Valley Hospital, where he dies.


NOV. 18, 2017
  • Police announce a reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspect in Shaw's death.
  • At 10:20 p.m., police interview Tavon Harper, who is suspected of being the driver of the SUV.  Investigators said Harper admitted to driving the SUV and Holt was in the passenger seat. According to court documents, Harper said he admitted to "clipping" Holt with his vehicle as he fled the scene.
NOV. 19, 2017
  • Harper is arrested and charged with two counts of manufacture, delivery, possession with intent to deliver, and fleeing or attempting to elude police.
  • At 1 a.m., investigators identify Rahmael Holt as the man suspected of shooting and killing Shaw.
NOV. 20, 2017
  • Police identify and talk with Holt's family members.
  • Sources tell Channel 11 that Holt left a family member's home in Duquesne and went to a home on Ladora Way in Hazelwood.
NOV. 21, 2017
  • Early Monday morning, local, state and federal law enforcement officers surround the home on Ladora Way in Hazelwood.
  • At 5 a.m., investigators take Holt and seven others into custody, including Rahmael Holt's mother, Sherry Holt. She is charged with hindering apprehension.
  • At 8:30 a.m., Rahmael Holt, wearing Shaw's handcuffs, appears in front of an Allegheny County judge.
  • At 9 a.m., the judge denies bail, and Holt is transported to New Kensington to face a magistrate.
  • At 9:30 a.m., Holt is transported from New Kensington to the Westmoreland County Jail.
DEC. 13, 2017
  • Holt is ordered to stand trial after all charges were held against him during a preliminary hearing.
  • During the hearing, Holt's defense attorney claimed police have the wrong man.
JAN. 22, 2018
  • Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck announces his intent to seek the death penalty in the case against Holt.
  • Prosecutors say they believe aggravated circumstances exist in this case because Shaw was a police officer who was shot and killed in the line of duty and died as a result of his official position.
JULY 25, 2018
  • Holt announced that he wants to marry a key witness against him, his girlfriend Vanessa Portis.
  • Prosecutors work to put a stop to the wedding, saying it could interfere with the case.
  • Police say Portis drove Holt around while he was on the run. She was also the owner of the cellphone Holt dropped as he reportedly ran from the murder scene, police said.
  • Testimony from a spouse could be barred from trial.
AUG. 19, 2018
  • Nearly 1,000 motorcyclists gather to remember and honor Shaw.
  • All proceeds of the event go toward establishing a scholarship at the Allegheny County Police Academy in Shaw's name.
OCT. 19, 2018
  • A judge sentences Lakita Cain to three to seven years in state prison for hindering the apprehension of Holt.
  • Cain had pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about his whereabouts and where the murder weapon was possibly stashed the night Shaw was killed.
March 28, 2019
  • Gregory Baucum, Holt's father, is charged with witness intimidation.
  • Detectives say one of the witnesses received a Facebook message from Baucum that said, "So u snitched on my son too, didn't know that was u till i did my research."
May 30, 2019
  • The trial for Rahmael Holt is delayed a second time.
  • The trial was initially scheduled to begin in April but was pushed back to August.  The trial is delayed again until November.
OCT. 23, 2019
  • Last pretrial hearing is held before jury selection gets underway.
  • Channel 11 learned that despite the fact that investigators never found a murder weapon, they plan on introducing evidence that Holt was known to carry a gun.  They plan on relying on pictures from Facebook and witness testimony.
  • While the judge rules she will allow that evidence, she says the commonwealth cannot bring up accusations during trial that Holt was dealing drugs regularly, including the night of the shooting.
OCT. 28, 2019
  • Jury selection gets underway.
  • Twelve jurors and four alternates are seated during the selection process.
NOV. 4, 2019
  • Opening arguments get underway Holt's capital murder trial.
  • Prosecutors call seven witnesses, mainly officers and detectives who responded after Shaw was shot.
  • A surveillance video of the shooting is shown to jurors.
  • One of the jurors is dismissed for not following the judge's instructions.  That juror is replaced with an alternate juror.