Teen faces murder charge after doctor hit, killed by stray bullet in uptown

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said a teenager has been charged with shooting and killing a prominent doctor in uptown last Monday.

Raheem Shacklette, 16, was charged with murder Saturday morning. He's scheduled to appear in court Monday afternoon.

The shooting happened just before 4 p.m. on Sept. 30 near Trade and College streets.

Police said a fight in an alleyway of the EpiCentre led to gunfire, and a man nearby was hit by a stray bullet. That victim was identified as Dr. John Holaday.

MEDIC said Holaday, 75, was taken to the hospital with serious injuries, where he died days later.

Statement from Denis Connaghan, DisposeRX Chief Financial Officer:

"Words cannot describe the immense sadness and grief we feel in losing our leader, mentor, colleague and friend," a statement said from DisposeRx President William Simpson. "While we will continue to struggle with the senseless and tragic way in which John died, we will honor him every day in the way that we operate and represent DisposeRx. We are more committed than ever to fulfilling his dreams.

"We would like to express our sincere appreciation to the emergency responders and staff of Atrium Health Carolinas Medical Center for the amazing care and compassion that they showed to John and his family during the most difficult of days."

Sharon Seward has known Shacklette since he was a little boy.

She said she went to visit him in jail.

She said they cried and prayed together.

“That is my hope and my prayer for Raheem,” Sewards said. “That something good can come out of this, and also something good somehow for Dr. Holaday and his family.”

Rob Corbett, who is a defense attorney and former prosecutor, said it doesn't matter that Shacklette wasn't trying to kill Holaday.

“So, if the DA's theory or the evidence shows that he intended to shoot person A, even though by mistake, he shot and killed person B,” Corbett said. “He still could be charged with first-degree murder for killing person B.”

A witness said he saw a group of what he believed to be teens run from the area where the shooting happened.

Officials said Shacklette had just come to Charlotte from Georgia and the gun he used had been stolen there.

“I see a guy laying on the ground,” CMPD Deputy Chief Gerald Smith said. “The way he was laying was telling me something wasn't right."

Three others have also been charged in this case. CMPD said 20-year-old Ulondis Edwards, 19-year-old Hazeem Shacklette and a 17-year-old have been charged with simple affray, which means a fight with at least one person in a public place that disturbs the peace.

Raheem Shacklette

(Raheem Shacklette)

The shooting happened about an hour after a three-alarm fire broke out at an uptown restaurant not far away.

The streets were packed with people who had been evacuated from the high-rise building during the already busy time of day.

Tuesday afternoon, CMPD Captain Julie Barry said the shooting was not about uptown or the EpiCentre, but about a 16-year-old who made a terrible decision to settle an argument with a bullet in the heart of a busy city.

"Uptown is in fact safe," Barry said. "It's not about the location. Center city is a safe place to work and live, to bring your family."

Police called this incident uncommon, while those who live and work near the EpiCentre called it unnerving.

Officials told Channel 9, over the last 5 months, there have been 99 assaults that have happened around the Epicenter within 1000-feet, 22 aggravated assaults and five aggravated assaults involving a gun.

The shooting is the latest example of the violence that has flared up around Charlotte this year, much of it involving teenagers. Police said they are frustrated by the repeated situations.

"Again, we're seeing people who are having verbal altercations, and they end up trying to 'settle the score' by firing a gun and that's just not acceptable," Barry said.

Channel 9 learned Holaday is a well-known scientist, entrepreneur and inventor who has spent several years taking on the opioid crisis.

He was identified by his business as the Chairman, Founder and CEO of DisposeRx.

DisposeRx is a company "dedicated to eradicating the misuse of leftover medication in order to decrease the risk of drug diversion, accidental poisonings, overdoses, and death," according to its website.

A company spokesperson said Holaday was walking to a business meeting in uptown when he was shot.

“The DisposeRx family is in shock that a random unrelated altercation could result in profound injuries to our chief executive officer,” said William Simpson, DisposeRx President. “But we know John. He is strong and healthy, and he is a fighter. We will stand by John, his wife and sons as he recovers, and we remain committed to fulfilling his vision and mission at DisposeRx. We’d like to thank the Charlotte emergency responders for their prompt onsite care provided to John.”

Check back with wsoctv.com for more information.

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