A Pennsylvania police chief offered swift justice for the gunman responsible for slaying his rookie officer during a Friday night traffic stop.
“We will find you, we will arrest you and we will prosecute you, so you are held accountable,” New Kensington Police Chief Jim Klein said somberly during a rainy press conference Saturday.
Westmoreland County detectives — along with state and federal authorities — are leading the dogged search for the elusive shooter that killed Officer Brian Shaw a few blocks from the Allegheny River.
An arrest warrant on murder and firearm possession charges was issued for 29-year-old Rahmael Holt in Shaw’s death late Saturday, according to court records and Pennsylvania State Police.
Holt, of Natrona Heights, is accused of mortally wounding the 25-year-old officer with a gunshot wound to his chest, despite having worn a bulletproof vest, according to police.
Neighbors Nicole Drum and Brad Larocca heard the fatal gunfire — at least six quick shots — across the street from their homes and rushed outside to help the downed officer.
Nicole Drum tried talking to Shaw but he was unable to answer her.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee believed involved in the traffic stop was found abandoned two hours after the attack, and the Tribune-Review reports it was registered to a Penn Hills resident.
Pennsylvania state police said investigators are aware of what prompted the traffic stop around 8 p.m. but declined to elaborate further.
Friends of the 2010 Burrell High School graduate said Shaw saw law enforcement as his “calling.”
“Ever since he was 17 or 18, that was all he talked about,” Allie Wilhelm told the Tribune-Review.
Shaw graduated from the Allegheny County Police Training Academy in 2014 and the Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania the following year, according to his LinkedIn profile.
He joined the New Kensington police force in June, according to police.
Despite his brief career, Klein said Shaw was a “young, bright, energetic, caring officer that was loved by his family and members of this police department.”
“He gave his life protecting this community,” he added Saturday afternoon.
The Allegheny County Police Department shared a touching photo of a little boy letting Shaw have a look at his toy handcuffs about a month before he was killed.
And then Shaw let him see a real pair of cuffs, according to WTAE-TV.
Multiple law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Marshall Service and the FBI, are offering a $40,000 reward for information leading to the suspect’s arrest, Klein said.
Klein comforted Shaw’s mother, Lisa Shaw, next to a police cruiser Saturday as her son’s body was escorted to the Rusiewicz Funeral Home in Lower Burrell.
Update New Kensington Police Officer Shooting: Rahmael Sal HOLT (DOB 05/31/88) has been identified as the person who shot and killed Officer Shaw. A warrant has been issued for Holt's arrest. Consider Holt armed and dangerous! Call 911 with info on his location. Pictured below pic.twitter.com/6L6vqQ0WVs