Police: CEO shot in uptown Charlotte dies; company calls death ‘senseless and tragic’

At a press conference Tuesday, Capt. Julie Barry said the shooting was the latest example of teens seeking to settle petty disagreement with guns.

CMPD Capt. Julie Barry talks with reporters at police headquarters, Oct. 1, 2019 (Photo: Qcitymetro.com)

Update: John Waldron Holaday, the Sanford CEO who was shot in uptown Charlotte as he walked to a business meeting, died Saturday at Carolinas Medical Center, CMPD announced.

The suspect, Raheem Shacklette, 16, was charged with murder.

Holaday, 74, was cofounder of DisposeRx, which makes packages used to safely dispose of prescription medications.

On its website, the company called Holaday an “innocent victim.” Police say he was struck by a bullet fired by a Georgia teen who, minutes earlier, had been in a fight with other young males. Holaday was not the intended target.

“Words cannot describe the immense sadness and grief we feel in losing our leader, mentor, colleague and friend,” DisposeRx President William Simpson said in the statement. “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.” 

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A 16-year-old Georgia teen is charged with attempted murder following a shooting in uptown Charlotte that gravely injured a North Carolina business executive.

John Waldron Holaday, 74, CEO of DisposeRx, a medicine-disposal company based in Sanford, was walking along North College Street to a business meeting when a group of teens began fighting. According to Charlotte-Mecklenburg police, one of those teens, identified as Raheem Shacklette, pulled a gun and fired, striking Holaday in the upper back. Police on Tuesday described his condition as critical.

At a press conference Tuesday at CMPD headquarters, Capt. Julie Barry said the shooting was the latest example of teens seeking to settle petty disagreements with guns.

Barry said Shacklette was one of several people detained in relation to the fight. In addition to attempted murder, Shacklette also was charged with possession of a stolen firearm, and possession of a firearm by a minor. Police later announced an additional charge — simp affray — a fight with at least one person in a public place that disturbs the peace). Two other youths, ages 17 and 17, also were charged with fighting in public.

Raheem Shacklette

Barry said Shacklette would be tired as an adult under state law.

The shooting happened as police and firefighters blocked North College Street in response to a kitchen fire at Rooster’s Wood-Fired Kitchen. The Charlotte Fire Department said the fire caused $1.5 million in damage, according to The Charlotte Observer.

With police and other first responders nearby, authorities were able to render “life-saving first aide” to Holaday within minutes, Barry said, adding that police also had Shacklette in custody within 10 minutes, “before he was able to harm anyone further.”

A question of safety

As word of the shooting spread, Barry said the incident had raised questions about the safety of uptown Charlotte.

“I can tell you that uptown is, in fact, safe,” she said. “This is not about the location, per say. It’s about a sixteen-year-old…who is making a bad decision, a critical decision, and it ends up hurting an innocent bystander.

“We’re not going to accept that here in uptown,” Barry said later.

CMPD later released figures showing that violent crime in the department’s Central Division, which includes uptown, is up 8% so far this year.

Source: CMPD

In addition to uptown, the Central Division includes SouthEnd and the affluent Eastover neighborhood. So far this year, police have been called to investigate seven Central Division homicides, up from one this time last year.

‘Random, unrelated altercation’

According to the company’s website, DisposeRx sells containers used for the safe disposal of prescription medications, including opioids. Holaday is listed as the company’s cofounder.

DisposeRx posted a statement on its website saying Holaday had been “the innocent victim of a random shooting” in Charlotte.

“The DisposeRx family is in shock that a random unrelated altercation could result in profound injuries to our chief executive officer,” the statement read. “But we know John. He is strong and healthy, and he is a fighter.”

The shooting happened near the Epicentre entertainment complex. Barry said she was unsure why Shacklette was in Charlotte, a city which has seen its homicide rate spike in 2019.

The Central Division’s most recent killing was reported early Saturday, when 30-year-old Jervon Sloan was shot in SouthEnd. Police said a second man was treated for a gunshot wound related to that incident. Detectives questioned the shooter and declined to press charges. That decision will be reviewed by the Mecklenburg district attorney.

In a separate incident on Saturday, police also declined to press charges in the shooting death of 26-year-old Julius Frazier, who was shot in the 5200 block of Henderson Circle, north of uptown near Old Statesville Road.

Asked about those shooting on Tuesday, Barry said she lacked sufficient information to explain why CMPD declined to press charges in either case.

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