Court: Homicide victim tried to break up parking garage fight prior to shooting

tstevens@ledger-enquirer.comDecember 24, 2013 

Arthur J. Holt Jr.'s final moments were spent seeking peace, according to court testimony.

Detectives described a scene of bedlam during their recounting of the altercation which led to the 26-year-old's fatal shooting during a Tuesday morning Recorder's Court hearing for 21-year-old suspected gunman Marquis Tirese Shaw.

Shaw faces one charge for murder and one for aggravated assault.

Tensions began rising Dec. 22 when two groups of people left Mario's Restaurant and began walking toward the Hardaway Parking Garage at 919 Broadway, detectives told the court. A member from the first group — a gathering of three people which included Holt — exchanged harsh words with a member of the second group.

The second group was made up of about six to eight people, and included Shaw.

Sometime during the argument, members of the first and second group began fighting. Holt and another victim tried to break up the fight. The second victim — who was later shot at, but survived — told police that Shaw came up behind him while he tried to break up the fight and bashed him in the back of the head with a gun.

That's when the scene became truly chaotic, detectives told the court.

Someone in the group yelled out that Shaw had a weapon. After a few shots were fired, the crowd panicked and scattered.

It is unclear when Shaw allegedly shot Holt, but detectives said the surviving victim was able to partially reconstruct the scene.

Shaw chased the victim into the parking garage, where he fired at least one shot toward him. But the victim also had a gun — a .45 caliber semi-automatic that he used to shoot back at the suspect. He continued to defend himself as he ran down the parking garage ramp and toward Front Avenue.

Holt was later found between two cars in the parking garage with at least four gunshot wounds. The two fatal 9mm bullets entered through his upper left back and traveled down to his pelvic region.

According to the surviving victim, Shaw was near where Holt was found when he fired at the victim.

Several witnesses, including members of Shaw's group, reported seeing Shaw with a weapon, detectives said. Between five and ten shell casings — belonging to a 9mm, .40 cal., .45 cal. — were also found on the scene. Police have been able to place Shaw with the 9mm and the surviving victim with the .45 cal., but are unsure who fired the .40 cal.

A few witnesses told police that Holt had the .40 cal., but the gun has not been recovered.

Judge Michael Cielinski set Shaw's bond at $50,000. No bond was set on the murder charge.

After the initial testimony, the victim's parents left the court room in tears. They did not wish to make any statements.

Pastor Darrell Evans of Community Baptist Church in Geneva knew Holt not only as a minister, but as an uncle. The message he intends to preach during Holt's eulogy — that "there's a season for everything" — is one he's having to balance with the abrupt tragedy of losing a family member during the holidays.

"We still have some of the Christmas spirit, but it doesn't feel like Christmas Eve," Evans said. "We just want to see the righteous thing done. It doesn't just hurt family, it hurts the community. It hurts the city."

Evans described his nephew as a quiet and humble young man. He expressed thankfulness that Shaw was held without bond, and that Holt did not appear to have participated in the fighting that led to the shooting.

"He was in the wrong place at the wrong time," Evans said. "It brings me peace that in his last moment he was not fighting. I'm very glad that he was trying to stop the wrong thing, and do what's right."

Ledger-Enquirer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service